HIV is a type of contagious disease that is caused by a deadly virus – the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus. Sexually Transmitted Diseases like HIV can cause prolonged health complications and can be fatal if not addressed in the early stages. Detecting HIV in its early phase is crucial. HIV RNA test has been developed to help aid the detecting and diagnosis process.
What are STDs?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are type of infections that is highly contagious which can spread from one person to another via sexual contact. Some may think oral sex is safer than otherwise – which is not the case here. STDs has the ability to penetrate uninfected partner from the infected one if they come in sexual contact by any means.
Cases of STDs in the United States are at the highest levels since the records began in the early 20s. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 1 million new cases of STDs are reported every single day around the world.
Types of STDs
STDs come in a variety of types depending on the nature of the pathogen that causes infection. Sexually Transmitted Diseases are caused by bacteria, fungus, viruses, and parasites. As per the Healthline study, a leading health report site, there are more than 20 different types of STDs that are prevailing today around the world. However, not all of them are commonly seen or reported. The following 6 are the major types of STDs that take a major toll on overall STD cases in the US –
What is HIV?
HIV is one of the most commonly reported STDs. The name is derived from its causing agent which is the HIV virus – which is a short form of Human Immuno Deficiency Virus. Unlike bacteria which can be terminated with the help of antibiotics, this virus is way more complex to derive a drug that helps in killing the virus. However, there are anti-retroviral drugs that are present which
HIV is one of the diseases where there is no cure to date and millions of people have lost their life against it. HIV is considered as an epidemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Symptoms of HIV
Similar to other STDs, the symptoms of HIV do not show up in the initial phase. This is one of the prime reasons where STDs are widespread and cannot be controlled. People who are sexually active tend to spread the disease unknowingly to others because they have been contracted the disease a few weeks earlier and yet no symptoms have appeared.
Following are the most commonly seen symptoms of HIV in men & women –
- Sore throat
- Muscle and joint pain
- Night sweat
- Genital or anal sores
- Coughing and breathing problems
- Rapid weight loss
- Memory problems
- Persistent headache
Certain STDs show up symptoms in a few days, but some may take weeks or even several months for the initial symptoms to occur. In the case of HIV, it can take anywhere around 14 or more days for the signs to appear after the initial exposure. Till then it doesn’t mean you don’t have the infection – it means the virus is present but maintaining a low profile and have started to manipulate. Slowly they’ll destroy the white blood cells which are crucial elements for your immune system. HIV progresses in three phases, namely – initial, secondary, final stage (AIDS). Read more about HIV and its stages here.
Transmission of HIV
Similar to other STDs, HIV spreads from one person to another via sexual contact – anal, vaginal, or oral sex. However, there are misconceptions that you can catch HIV from a toilet seat – this is not so true. STD-causing bacteria or viruses typically do not withstand the outside environment and tend to die away outside the body. Thus, you cannot get HIV by using a public toilet or coming in contact with the toilet seat.
Some STDs even HIV has the tendency to get transmitted via other blood means such as accepting blood donation from HIV infected people and sharing used razors.
What is HIV RNA?
The RNA in the HIV RNA test refers to Ribonucleic Acid – which is a genetic material present in each and every cell in the bloodstream. This Ribonucleic Acid inside the cells carries instructions and the genome of the RNA is an essential factor for various biological formulations like decoding, and the expression of certain genes.
HIV RNA tests and detects the presence of HIV virus genetic material. HIV RNA’s mechanism of testing is way better and quicker than the traditional antibody testing which in the case of HIV disease presents accurate results only after 20 days.
Differences Between HIV RNA and Normal Testing
A regular HIV test similar to other detection tests detects the antibodies your body produces to fight against the HIV virus. The HIV RNA test detects whether the virus is present by looking for the genetic material of the virus itself.
This puts the HIV RNA at a high hand because it helps in detecting and diagnosing the disease in the very early stage and putting a stop to the rapid spread of the virus infecting the white blood cells. When it comes to STDs, the sooner you are able to detect and diagnose them, the better it is for you to recover quickly or incurable STDs to slow down the spread of the infection. RNA is capable of producing accurate results in just 9 – 11 days since the exposure whereas Regular Antigen/Antibody Tests can take anywhere from 18 – 90 days to turn positive
Can HIV Be Cured?
Unlike other sexually transmitted diseases, HIV is an STD caused by a virus that destroys the immune system that makes it harder for your body to fight back. There’s no complete cure for HIV to date. Once you are acquired of HIV, it eventually leads to AIDS which is the final stage of the disease and your immune system will be completely suppressed and you’ll be exposed to other contagious diseases like TB, cancer, and many more.