Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) damages the white blood cells of the immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight off bacterial infection, viruses, and other diseases such as pneumonia and some cancers.  Late stage HIV is often referred to as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The most common causes of HIV infection are through sexual contact, infected blood transfusion, or sharing needles or syringes.  HIV symptoms vary with the phase of infection.  Early symptoms may resemble a flu virus, but infected individuals may show no symptoms for eight or nine years.  Later symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, and diarrhea.  Advanced HIV and AIDS symptoms are more severe and include night sweats, chills, fever, lesions or white spots in the mouth, headache and chronic diarrhea.  Treatment for HIV involves an array of anti-retroviral medications, coordinated to each individual’s response.  New treatments are continually being developed and tested in clinical trials.

Resources at Northwestern for HIV:

The HIV Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers comprehensive assessment and treatment for HIV.  The Center offers services such as patient/family education, medication instruction, clinical trials, medical and legal referrals and an infusion center.  Within the HIV Center there are specialty clinics for patients needing care in medical areas of hepatology, neurology, ophthalmology and hematology, and also in obstetrics and gynecology.  Inpatient hospital care is also provided with an interdisciplinary approach to disease treatment.

For more information contact: (312) 926-8358

Northwestern Physicians/ Researchers specializing in HIV treatment:

The Division of Infectious Disease at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine offers inpatient and outpatient services for the diagnosis and treatment of HIV and other infectious diseases.  The Division’s 9 full-time faculty members all receive external grants for basic science and clinical research projects.  Dr. Sarah Sutton’s research interests include perinatal transmission of HIV, and HIV and women, while Dr. Steven Wolinsky, the Division Chief, studies the evolutionary mechanisms at work in the emergence, spread and containment of diseases such as HIV.

Click to see physician profiles and clinic information:

https://www.nmff.org/findPhysician/physearch.asp

https://www.nmff.org/ClinicalMedical/department.asp?id=21

IWHR Highlighted Researcher

Dr. Kimberly Scarsi, PharmD, MSc is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease at Northwestern University.  Her research focuses on the pharmacokinetics of HIV treatment in women, particularly during pregnancy.  Dr. Scarsi's research recognizes the need for studies in women since previous research has been conducted primarily in men.  Dr. Scarsi is studying the fluctuation in antiviral concentrations during pregnancy, toward the goal of treating these women more efficiently.  She is also comparing results of her studies in the US with sister studies in Africa, where nearly 60% of those infected with HIV are women.  Recently Dr. Scarsi was chosen as a recipient of an Institute for Women's Health Research Pioneer Grant for the establishment of a long-term database of women in which she will be doing single-timed blood samples over the course of their pregnancy.  She hopes to pinpoint the changes that occur in the second and third trimesters so that physicians may adjust dosages accordingly.  Eventually the project may become a multicenter study in the US and internationally.

Useful Links and Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/

http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/default.htm

http://www.nmac.org/index

http://www.hiv.com/

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Comments

This is a great post. I was not aware that the World Aids Day is just the start of a month long awareness campaign to help fight the spread of AIDS, and of course to alleviate those who have already been infected.

HIV for me is very scary. I don't do drugs, I don't cheat on my wife and I don't work in the medical field where I can be exposed. But I am still frightened of the disease. I am not the type of person to cheat on my wife, but I do believe that the fear of contacting HIV has helped to cement those values. I have often wondered about the origins of the HIV virus. We have heard those rumors that the government created it. I like to think that No human would create something so evil. But, then you think about how the population of the world is growing at such a rapid rate. Is it possible the Governments have gotten together to create something as evil as the HIV virus to curtail the worlds population growth? Like I say, I hope this is not the case. But if it were, that means that if a human created the virus, then the answer to cure it would be at hand as well. "Just a thought". It's strange how this virus didn't come into existence until about the late 1980's. Now, most of us have had a friend or family member taken the the disease. It saddens me to think of the suffering of man kind due to the slowness of the disease. It just breaks people down, a little at a time until your body is so weak that a cold turns into pneumonia and takes your last breathe. I like to read about the progress that science is making to fight this disease. But the cure still isn't on the table. So, all of us, have to watch our behaviors. Unprotected sex, drug use with dirty needles and so on until the time comes where it might be as easy as a shot for a cure.

I am so glad I found this blog and that more attention is brought to the HIV crisis. It seems over the last decade, due to increases in life expectancy of HIV-infected patients, that people have ignored the dangers and stopped practicing safer sex. It is exactly when we let our guard down that these diseases spread. What we could do to ameliorate the problem is to promote harm reduction among prostitutes and sex workers and not stigmatize them and force them underground. This will require a cultural openness that we currently lack.

Great post, didn’t knew that December was HIV awareness month. I hope medical researchers can find a permanent cure or vaccine to HIV

It is nice to see such interest in HIV Awareness month! I would just like to offer a few points of clarification for completeness based on a previous posting. First, HIV has actually been "around" for many decades before it was identified as the virus that caused AIDS and became a public health focus in the US. The first human blood sample that is known to be HIV infected dates back to 1959 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Published in: Zhu et al. Nature. 391(6667):594-7 1998 Feb 5.) The government conspiracy theory is just that - a theory. I would point out that there is strong evolutionary and genetic evidence that HIV is a naturally occurring phenomenon. HIV is genetically similar to the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and is another example of the evolution of animal infections that can become human health concerns (similar to the avian flu or the H1N1 flu viruses). The good news is that through scientific advances in the past 25 years, HIV therapies are much more simple and effective than those used in the early years of the epidemic. Patients infected with HIV should expect nothing less than to live long, healthy, productive lives with the proper HIV management. The keys to success are access to HIV testing early after infection as well as long term access to good medical care.

HIV and AIDS have gone through a fairly large perception change since the first death at the virus' hands in 1959. Initially dismissed as a problem only in the gay community, it is now widely accepted as the horrendous killer it has always been and AIDS tests are rightly promoted as vital for all sexually active individuals.

I actually read a paper about a new gel that is being tested in Africa where there was a 39% reduction in HIV. It was quite incredible. If you want to have a look here is the link http://blog.aids.gov/2010/07/international-aids-conference-day-3-research-highlights-.html

The good news is that through scientific advances in the past 25 years, HIV therapies are much more simple and effective than those used in the early years of the epidemic. Patients infected with HIV should expect nothing less than to live long, healthy, productive lives with the proper HIV management.

Science has made huge strides in the past 30 or so years and so treating HIV patients has become much more effective. Having said that, however, taking steps to prevent the onset of HIV is always preferable. The main and most important thing is to educate our youth to abstain from frivolous sexual encounters. Then to also educate them to use protection with each and every intimate contact they engage in.

HIV is a terrible infection that needs to be addressed better. At the moment there are no cures and that makes prevention the number one priority. Abstinence is the best form of prevention but it is unrealistic for most people. Getting yourself and your partner tested is a good defense to avoiding HIV infection. Using protection at all times is a must no matter what the situation is. Finally we must educate everyone on how to prevent spreading HIV. Education is the best form of prevention and should be promoted through out the world.

HIV disease is rampant these days and even growing more each year. Medical treatments have been researched to help those infected by this virus. Thanks for this reliable article. People should have to read this for a total awareness.

The main and most important thing is to educate our youth to abstain from frivolous sexual encounters. Then to also educate them to use protection with each and every intimate contact they engage in

very nice article. thank you for posting it. HIV awareness is very important. my neighbors daughter is stricken with AIDs and may not see 2012

I love it when anyone promotes the education of HIV/AIDS. Because even though this can be a touchy subject, we all must be properly educated to a worldwide plague such as this. People are dying everyday from something that's horrible and it's time we put a stop to it. Thanks for the help and useful information - will definitely pass it along

Advanced HIV and AIDS symptoms are more severe and include night sweats, chills, fever, lesions or white spots in the mouth, headache and chronic diarrhea.

Hats off to those people who choose to work in medical research in an attempt to cure this terrible disease. May your efforts be rewarded!

HIV is something you have to be aware of and take the necessary precautions against catching and spreading in the dental profession.

this is really a horrible disease and deadly. i think we should also start to educate children about this so they become aware of this and would take care of themselves. thanks for a great post!

quite surprised that even to this day, there is no permanent cure of AIDS disease.

The good news is that through scientific advances in the past 25 years, HIV therapies are much more simple and effective than those used in the early years of the epidemic.

HIV is something everyone should be aware of. Taking extra precautions might be helpful remember prevention is better than cure.

HIV is a very dangerous virus that we still not have the cure yet, it's a relive thing for me to know that in USA there are many focused study about it, i hope soon they will discover the cure. As a non scientist background, i hope this review will motivate all people in the world to find the cure together.

Tinnitus as you are well aware of is ringing in the ear. This isn't the full picture, though. It doesn't have to be just a ringing noise, tinnitus covers any noise that is inside your ear. It could be a rushing sound, clicking or popping, or any other irritation.

I hope medical researchers can find a permanent cure or vaccine to HIV.

There are a number of different scientist working on the problem of finding a cure for AIDS but I think the most important thing to remember is prevention. We need to teach our young people how to protect themselves.

First, HIV has actually been “around” for many decades before it was identified as the virus that caused AIDS and became a public health focus in the US. The first human blood sample that is known to be HIV infected dates back to 1959 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Published in: Zhu et al. Nature. 391(6667):594-7 1998 Feb 5.)

The problem is that HIV is not a very popular cause nowadays... Cancer has won the "fight". Even South Park says it ! That's quite strange because HIV is here... and for a long time I guess. But people don't fear HIV anymore. They're dramatically wrong.

HIV is no laughing matter - as a very close friend of a long term sufferer, I am hoping that medical advances in this field progress in leaps and bounds. God bless to all of you other sufferers out there. Peace.

Sexual health experts and leading HIV charities say not enough is being done to raise awareness of the dangers of the virus for young people. infection rates are still high and many people don't understand what it's like living with the illness.

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