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8 caregivers with HIV/AIDS experience found near Pekin
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is widely known as a sexually transmitted disease but can also be spread through blood transfusions or breast milk. HIV is a lifelong disease, and when left untreated can develop into AIDS, or acute immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS attacks the body’s immune system, leaving it extremely vulnerable to infections and infection-related cancers. Medications called antivirals and close monitoring can control HIV and increase one’s lifespan. Early HIV symptoms resemble the flu, including fevers, fatigue, and coughing. When the disease progresses to AIDS, symptoms appear as weight loss, night sweats, frequent infections, sores, memory loss, or depression. Caregivers can assist HIV/AIDS individuals by managing pain medications, employing relaxation techniques, encouraging healthy eating, and keeping the home clean to avoid infections.