AIDS is one of the most recognized diseases of the modern age. This syndrome is basically an acquired immunodeficiency disease which attacks the immunological system of the host, causing consequences shown as development of all kinds of different contagious and malignant diseases. HIV on the other hand is a human immunodeficiency virus which is causing these issues.
Since HIV is an infection, with AIDS being an infective disease, you can prevent it with proper behavior.
HIV, put simply, is a virus which causes AIDS. This is a virus of human immunodeficiency, standing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This means that the virus is exclusive for human species, causing defects and complete deficiency of the immunological system, making it slow and incapable of defending the body from all kinds of diseases.
HIV belongs to a group of retroviruses, which are known to attack a specific white blood cell group. These are known as T-lymphocytes. HIV will multiply in them, destroy them and eventually lead to a completely incapable immunological system.
How does HIV enter one’s body?
HIV can enter one’s body over damaged skin, over mucosa or direct injection. Soon after it will enter the T-lymphocytes and start to spread. The infected cells are then transformed into production facilities of the HIV, creating millions of clones and therefore accelerating its effects. When there are enough viruses created inside the T-lymphocytes, the cell will burst and release a new batch of HIV viruses into the bloodstream. These viruses then enter new T-lymphocytes and the process is repeated.
With such a devastating effect, HIV destroys T-lymphocytes at an exponential rate, which leads to quick immunological system weakening, resulting in appearance of opportunistic infections and some other specific malignant diseases. Even though HIV attacks these specific cells, it can also directly damage some other cells inside the body such as neurological cells, digestion system cells etc.
About two to four weeks after HIV has infiltrated the organism, an acute HIV infection occurs which can be recognized with symptoms similar to flu or mononucleosis which will spontaneously go by. An acute HIV infection then transforms into the asymptomatic HIV infection (basically, an HIV infection showing no symptoms whatsoever). Ten and more years may go by, with HIV infected persons having no clue that they are infected – looking and feeling completely healthy. However, during this time, the immunological system is unavoidably weakening and the condition may advance into AIDS, which is an advanced stage of HIV infection. Progression into this AIDS stage is not equal for all people suffering with an HIV infection. Some people experience this whole transition in a very short while, while some other people take dozens of years to develop.
It is important to remember that the HIV virus can be transmitted with equal efficiency during any phase of the infection.
Most common way of one to acquire HIV is unprotected sexual intercourse. This is probably the worst consequence of such practices, even though there are dozens of sexually transmitted diseases which are quite bothersome but don’t always have fatal results, at least not in the rate of HIV/AIDS. Drug addicts are another high risk group, as they tend to share needles in groups of more people, which pose a direct threat to one’s health as the virus can easily be transmitted this way.
In order to prevent yourself from acquiring HIV, you need to completely avoid having unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners and overall be vary when there are open blood wounds. Hospitals are at high risk of acquiring a HIV infection and doctors are aware of this. One of the reasons they use gloves during examination of severely wounded patients is to keep themselves, as well as the patient safe from all kinds of different viruses and diseases.
Generally speaking, a person having the HIV infection doesn’t necessarily need to be considered an immediate threat – you can still hug, kiss and spend time together. The problem happens when there are open wounds to tend or in case of unprotected sex. If you manage to avoid these two means of transmission, you’ll be safe.
HIV and therefore AIDS are still considered to be untreatable, but there is a whole list of medications which can be combined together to slow down the progress of the disease. With these methods, HIV can be kept under control and the person infected with HIV can live a normal life.
There are three medications from two different groups which have been proven to be highly effective against HIV going into an immune phase. These are known as anti-retrovirus medications:
NNRTIs – Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
This medication has an effect on the protein which is vital for the HIV to multiply and spread.
NRTIs – Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
These inhibitors are stripped down versions of building blocks which are necessary for HIV to multiply.
PI – Protease inhibitors
PI has an effect on protease, which is yet another type of protein required by HIV to multiply.
Inhibitors of entry of the virus into cell
These medications prevent HIV from entering into the lymphocytes, breaking the main principle of HIV effect.
These inhibitors have an effect on integrase, yet another protein necessary for the HIV to insert its genetic material into the core of lymphocytes, initiating the multiplication process.
HIV treatment needs to start as soon as possible, as it is important to keep it under control at an early stage. There are some significant side effects of the modern HIV treatment such as vomiting or diarrhea, abnormal heart beat, rash, weakened bone structure etc. Your response to the HIV therapy is measured based on how far has the virus went and the number of damaged lymphocytes. The virus spread needs to be tested right on the beginning of the treatment and then every three to four months during the treatment. The number of affected lymphocytes needs to be re-assessed every six months.
Anti-retrovirus therapy is supposed to reduce the virus effect on the limit of measurement. This doesn’t mean that the HIV has disappeared out of one’s organism, yet that our currently available tests aren’t precise enough to detect its presence in your body. There is always a danger of one to transmit the virus onto another person, even when your HIV infection is in this stage.