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What is aids and its causes?

AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a syndrome that is caused by the virus HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus is known to alter the immune system in a way that makes people more susceptible to infections and diseases. The vulnerability gets progressively worse as the syndrome progresses.

HIV can be found in all tissues found in the human body but can only be transmitted through body fluids of someone who is infected. These body fluids include semen, blood, breast milk, etc. Many people confuse the terms AIDS and HIV and use them interchangeably. But in reality, HIV is the virus that causes the medical condition of AIDS. HIV attacks the immune cells called CD-4 cells and AIDS is the syndrome that can appear when the HIV infection gets to a severe enough level. Not all HIV infections will result in the development of AIDS and it is very much possible to contract HIV without getting AIDS. But if left untreated, HIV can progress to an advanced level and in the majority of the cases develop AIDS in the infected individual.

Causes

For a more defined definition, HIV is a retrovirus that infects vital organs and cells of the human immune system. It progresses in advancement in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) which is a type of drug therapy that is used to slow or even prevent the virus’s development. The rate of this growth varies wildly between different people as it depends on many factors. These factors include the age of the individual, the body’s ability to defend against the virus, access to adequate health care, the presence of other infections, and even a person’s genes.

How is HIV transmitted?

There are three main ways that a person can get HIV. They are

  • Sexual Transmission: HIV can spread to a healthy person through sexual contact with an infected individual. More specifically, through the exchange of sexual fluids from an infected person to a healthy person. This can happen when having sexual intercourse without using protection in the form of condoms.
  • Perinatal Transmission: A mother can transfer the virus to her child during the process of childbirth or during pregnancy. Even breast milk is a medium for the virus to spread so breastfeeding is also a potential way to transfer HIV.

HIV transmitted

  • Blood Transmission: Nowadays, it is extremely rare to see HIV being spread through blood transfusions because of the advanced technology and rigorous screening procedures. However, there is a good chance of transmission when people reuse syringes like with the case of taking drugs.

 

What Are the Symptoms & Signs of HIV

AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a syndrome that is caused by the virus HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus can cause alterations to the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections and diseases. As the syndrome develops it becomes progressively harder to curb the effects of the virus.

Early Stage Symptoms

Some people have little to no symptoms of HIV for months or years after the contracting the virus. However, almost 80% of the time, infected individuals will develop flu-like symptoms within the first 2-6 weeks. This is what is called acute retroviral syndrome.  Other early symptoms of HIV include fevers, chills, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, etc. These symptoms are common for a lot of viruses and you should not form a conclusion just based on it. Get yourself tested if you think there is a chance that you might have contracted a virus.

Middle Stage Symptoms

virus

Asymptomatic HIV: In a lot of instances, after the initial symptoms disappear, there are no further symptoms for a period of time as long as many years. But during this time, the virus grows and develops while damaging the immune system and organs. Without proper medication at this stage, the immune system slowly gets chipped away until it is so weak that any disease that the body would normally be able to fight off with relative ease becomes life-threatening.  A person who is infected by HIV often experiences next to no symptoms and would feel normal and healthy at this stage. But for people who are taking antiretrovirals and are following the dosage correctly and punctually the development of the virus can be suppressed. It can be suppressed completely actually since these medications are designed to stop the on-going damage that is being done to the body by the virus.

Late Stage Symptoms

persistent or chronic diarrhoea, permanent tiredness, fevers, random weight loss, etc. The risk of contracting a life-threatening illness is much greater during late-stage of HIV infection.  Some of the serious conditions that may arise can be controlled to an extent using medication along with separate treatment for the HIV infection.

Myths

Many people believe that actions like shaking hands, hugging, casual kissing, sneezing, sharing things like cutlery, towels and toilets etc. can cause the HIV virus to spread. But this is just a myth and a misconception.

 

How to eradicate HIV

Scientist abolished many diseases. We have vaccinations to prevent the infections from becoming viral again. Hopefully, we will soon have immunity to prevent the spread of HIV as well.

Viral extermination is only possible if HIV genetic material (pro-viral DNA)  combines into an infective cell, and it keeps on working throughout the remainder of the cell’s lifetime. The current treatment for HIV in the form of anti-retroviral drugs cannot eliminate these cells or the viral genetic material in the cells. When anti-retroviral suppressive medicines discontinue, HIV continues to replicate actively in the cells of the body.

There was much hope in the mid-1990s when learned men proposed that many years of treating a person with anti-retroviral drugs should be enough to eradicate HIV. They supposed that the dormant infected cells would all die off in that time. Unfortunately, it was proven to be the wrongful suggestion that a latent HIV infection could continue for years on end in the particular type of cells, like resting CD4 cells and macrophages. Many doubted whether eradication of HIV was even remotely possible.

If HIV positive people do not use Anti-retroviral therapy, those infected with the disease of HIV will develop AIDS and other complications. Some people claim to have been exposed to the HIV but have not acquired it. Now people are funding research on how genetic engineering can affect a cure for HIV.

Hivvacina

It was proposed to transplant stem cells with a genetic mutation into the bone marrow of an infective HIV patient, hoping it will reconstruct their immune system with cells to their benefit. The method was demonstrated and was proven to be effective. Bone marrow transplantations are a costly and severe type of treatment limited to address pressing issues where no other treatment options exist. Attempts to reproduce the same results in other individuals have failed. Speculated to be a result of the procedure previously performed on people with both HIV and blood cancers. They have high mortality rates even if a bone marrow transplant takes place.

Some clinicians gave proposals of gene-editing technology. They supposed that the procedure would cut viral genes out of the DNA of dormant infected cells. This technique only existing in theory, would target the HIV provirus. Advances in biotechnology make it possible for scientists to remove the genes of dormant cells by using programmed DNA slicing enzymes. These scientists need to do much more study before fully comprehending the vast consequences this technique will hold to the recipients of this gene-editing enzymes. More investigation is required to be done to assess this method in living organisms.

HIV Viral eradication is possible through much research and an attitude of increasing determination

10 Common HIV Symptoms in Women that you shouldn’t ignore

People are all different. Some have sexual intercourse as often, with as many partners as they want without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Sleeping and having sex with an infected partner, even if you do it only once, also puts you at risk of getting the disease. There are early symptoms of the infection which may be mild, but if you are already infected, you can still pass the virus to your partner. There are some symptoms specific to women.

Mild flu-like symptoms

Mild flu-like symptoms will include fever, headache and lethargy. These symptoms can last up to six weeks, and it can take up to ten years for more severe signs to show.

Skin problems

skin

Your skin can become very sensitive to sunlight and irritants, Rashes appearing like flat red patches, small bumps and flaky skin could be an indication of the disease. Sores and lesions can appear on the surface of the mouth, genitals and anus and is very difficult to treat.

Enlarged glands

Our lymph nodes fight off infections, and when they get swollen, it indicates that they are working very hard to fight off diseases. It is one of the first signs of HIV.

Infections

The immune system fights harder to ward off germs giving infections easier access to the body. Hepatitis C, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diseases of the eyes, skin, kidneys, digestive tract and brain is possible. Even flu will be more challenging to treat.

Night sweats and fever

You will experience extended periods of low-grade fever.

Menstrual changes

Menstrual changes in a woman’s cycle can occur. More severe premenstrual symptoms are also common.

Yeast infections

Yeast infections as well as bacterial infections are more prevalent in women and are difficult to treat if they are HIV positive.

Sexually transmitted diseases

HIV will increase the risk of obtaining sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, human papillomavirus, leading to cervical cancer and genital warts. If you have HIV infection, and you have genital herpes, you may have outbreaks more often than normal, and the body might not respond well to the treatment.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease happens when your ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus becomes infected. This condition will be so much harder to heal, and the symptoms can reoccur more often.

Advanced symptoms of HIV

The advances symptoms of HIV in women is trouble swallowing, chronic coughing, shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, severe headaches, weight loss, nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. Later stages include mental confusion, short-term memory loss and coma.

The most advanced stage of HIV is called AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome). When people reach this stage, infections are hard to ward off as the immune system is too compromised. Cervical cancer can occur as AIDS-defining cancers become a risk to the body. All these symptoms can be reduced, and there are ways to lessen the severity of this disease. Early detection and treatment can extend lives so to attract HIV is not necessarily an initial death sentence.