Are you familiar with the term HIV or AIDS? Do you know what they mean and do you know anything about them? How would you know if you have this disease? After reading this article, then maybe you’ll be able to answer these questions.
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV for short, is a lentivirus that attacks humans. This lentivirus is characterized by its long incubation period within its host. If you are infected with HIV, you would slowly develop an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or more often called AIDS. AIDS is a condition where your immune system fails to perform its function and role, causing the body to be prone to attack by other diseases and infections that are more lethal than HIV itself.
HIV is a sexually transmitted virus, thus it is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluid during intercourse. But it could also be transmitted through blood transfusion and breast milk ingestion from an infected mother. The HIV could exist in your body fluids that is why it could be transmitted through these manners. Other way of transmitting this virus is by using a needle or piercing that was contaminated by the virus. A mother could also transmit the virus to her newly born baby during birth.
If you are infected with HIV, you would develop AIDS that could lead to severe complications and diseases and ultimately, it can lead to death. The rate of progression from HIV to AIDS differs from person to person, depending on the host’s resistance, the strength of the viral strand, and other environmental factors. HIV infection has been considered a pandemic by the WHO especially in Africa.
According to various sources, there are two kinds of HIV in the world right now: They are HIV-1 and HIV-2. They differ in their activities and properties. HIV-1 was discovered first and it is characterized by being more infectious and more virulent. This means that there is a very high chance of getting infected with HIV-1 when you are exposed to it. HIV-2 on the other hand is less infectious and less virulent. Less people get infected when exposed to HIV-2. Nevertheless, infection with either of the 2 would lead to AIDS. Due the properties of HIV-2, it has been confined to infect people in the West Africa only.
The decrease in the amount of a specific cell that plays a vital role in the immune response of the body is attributed to HIV infection. Decreasing the amount of this cell would decrease the ability of your immune system to perform its function. Decreasing the amount of this cell makes the body very defenseless against opportunistic infections and diseases. And more often than not, these opportunistic infections are more severe and they could be deadly.
The extent of infection could be monitored by either monitoring the amount of this specific cell, or monitoring the amount of HIV in the blood. The infection has 4 stages: incubation, acute infection, latency, and AIDS. The early stages of HIV are often asymptomatic, that is why victims just get surprised that they have reached the last stage.
There is currently no cure for HIV, which is why it is important to avoid the infection of this virus. Early detection is also a must so going to nearby STD clinics is very important as well.
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