HIV and AIDS Synopsis
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Acquired Immune Deficiency (Aids) is a chronic and life threatening disease of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that damages the immune system by killing off vital CD4+T cells. Genetic Research states that the disease originated in West Central Africa during the late 19th or early 20th century but was not recognized by the U.S. Center for Disease Control Prevention until 1981. HIV is spread through sexual contact, contaminated shared needles, pregnant women spread it to their unborn child and contact with infected blood. Knowledge of the disease can potentially save lives.
HIV is a lent virus which is a member of the retrovirus family that causes AIDS. When first infected with the virus, mild symptoms occur. These symptoms may or may not be recognizable but includes fever, headaches, sore throat, rash and swollen lymph glands. Swollen lymph glands/nodes are often the first sign of HIV infection but the best way to know if the virus has infected the bloodstream is to get tested. These symptoms usually last about two to four weeks at the initial stage of the virus into the bloodstream and typically go away until years later as the virus multiplies and begin to destroy the immune cells further if treatment is not sought after. That’s the significant reason of being tested regularly because early detection can help a person live a healthier life with the medication that’s on the market oppose to a person who has no knowledge that their living with the disease. If no treatment for the HIV infection is received, the disease will develop into AIDS in about ten years. This is solely due to the HIV process of eating away or destroying the CD4+T cells which are specific types of white blood cells that plays an important role in helping the body fight diseases. The more CD4+T cells that are killed, the weaker the immune system becomes. The normal CD4 cell count for a healthy immune is between 500 and 1000. Once the CD4+T cells drop below a life-threatening 200 per microliter, the diagnosis of HIV becomes a diagnosis of AIDS which then is the final stage of the virus and soon becomes the fatal state of the virus.
In the AIDS status of the virus, the immune system is severely damaged making the body vulnerable to what are called opportunistic diseases and certain types of cancers. Opportunistic diseases are diseases that wouldn’t normally affect a person with a healthy immune system only that of a compromised immune system presents an opportunity for the pathogen to infect. These diseases include but are not limited to Tuberculosis, fungal infections, CMV, Salmonellosis, Toxoplasmosis, Pneumonia and Candidiasis just to name a few, seeing that each case is different. As the AIDS virus begins, the symptoms are considerably noticeable ranging from chronic night sweats, severe diarrhea, persistent unexplained fatigue, skin rashes and rapid weight loss. Pneumonia is said to be the fatal stage of the AIDS virus and is when life expectancy is right around the corner.
Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, there are a variety of drugs that can be used in combination to help keep the virus at bay. Each of the classes of the anti-HIV drugs blocks the virus in different ways reducing the viral load to the point that it is undetectable. Preventative measures are essential to avoid being a victim of this terrible disease.
By Debra Sawyer