Explaining HIV and AIDS:
HIV and AIDS were first identified in the early 1980s. HIV and AIDS have become the most widely talked about the condition in history. AIDS death resulting in a growing number of people living with HIV and AIDS. Many new diagnoses occurred among 50-59 and 60 plus years. Older individuals presented with more advanced HIV suggesting continued delays in diagnosis.
There are about 42 million people in the world who have HIV and AIDS. More than 3 million people die each year from AIDS-related illnesses.
About 5-10% of the infected appear to escape clinical AIDS for 15 years or more. They have been;
‘Long term survivors’ or ‘Long term progression’
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, our body’s natural defence toward disease. Many individuals believe HIV doesn’t exist. Condoms do not work, that only certain people are at risk of HIV infection, that HIV can not be treated, that there is a cure or that you can become infected through food, water, towels, showers, and pools, etc.
AIDS describes a set of signs and diseases that occur at the ultimate stage of HIV infection if left untreated.
HIV and AIDS can be treated and there is a lot that can be done to improve your health if diagnosed early. Medication can reduce the virus while vitamins, good nutrition, and exercise, can play a critical role in keeping your body strong and healthy.
What is HIV?
HIV attacks eventually destroy the body’s immune system. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that enters the blood in HIV positive people. This virus can be found in the blood, sex fluids such as sperms, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is too small with the eye.
Which in our body’s organic defence against disease. The virus destroys a kind of white blood cell in the immune program known as a T-helper cell.
If HIV is still left untreated, it might consider 10 or 15 a long time for the immune method to be so seriously ruined that it can no longer protect itself at all.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is an establishment of signs, symptoms, and illnesses that create as an outcome of advanced HIV and infection in which has wrecked the immune method.
AIDS is an established sign or syndrome as opposed to a virus brought on by HIV. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infections, as HIV infection advances to AIDS, the amount of HIV in the body increases and the number of CD4 cells decreases.
So the body cannot fight off infections. Any person may get an infection or tumors that the body can no longer fight off.
HIV is a viral infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact, from pregnant women to child and during childbirth. HIV is mainly a sexually transmitted infection that damages the body’s immune system.
HIV does not pass from one person to another, easily. Nor it is spread through the air like cold and flu viruses. It mainly lives in body fluids. The fluids that contain HIV include semen, breast milk, vaginal fluids, blood, and lining of the anus.
One of the most important things to know is that HIV does not spread through ordinary contact if you hug, kiss, or dance with a person who has HIV or AIDS.
1. Sexual contact:
Factors that increase the chances of HIV development in a person, including vaginal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen, and vaginal secretions enter your body. HIV can be spread if someone performs oral sex with a woman having HIV, mainly if she is in her menstrual phase; however, this cause of HIV can be considered less risky.
2. Role of blood transfusion:
People who are using intravenous drugs and generally share syringes and needles and are exposed to contaminating factors of other people’s blood.
3. During pregnancy:
A pregnant woman can infect her baby with HIV, but these are some drugs that can be taken during pregnancy that lower the risk of transference.
4. Unprotected sex:
The United States was the first country in which HIV surfaced and was believed that it mainly affected hormonal sexual relationships. However, recent studies indicate HIV can be transmitted through heterosexual sex as well as and can affect any age, race, or sexual orientation.
It is also considered that anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex. Sexually transmitted infections generate open sores on the genitals and act as a gateway for HIV to enter the body.
How HIV spreads in the body?
In a person infected with HIV, dendritic cells pick up the virus. Dendritic cells carry HIV to lymph nodes where the immune system normally works to destroy foreign substances.
The dendritic cell presents HIV to a T- cell, which takes the virus. HIV has evolved to take over the T-cell, which then makes more and more copies of the virus that infect more T-cells, eventually shutting down the immune system and leading to full-blown AIDS.
The dendritic cell brings HIV to a T-cell. Due to low cholesterol levels, the dendritic cells have had a difficult time transferring the virus into the T- cell. HIV infection of T-cells is much less efficient and therefore, the number of T-cells does not decline as fast, so the disease takes longer to progress.
Some people seem to have a hereditary trait that results in low cholesterol levels in their dendritic cells. Pitt public health researchers believe this low cholesterol disrupts the ability of the dendritic cells to pass HIV to T-cells.
Phases of HIV infection:
This article will briefly review and provide an overview of phases of HIV infection;
There are no visible signs except for one experience of fever. It involves the entry of replication, maturation, and release of the virus. The time between exposure and the sign becomes visible is called the incubation period. It replicates in the lymph nodes.
In this stage, early symptoms appear in 2-4 weeks after first exposure. Normally within 45 days during this time, patients have mild;
- Excessive Fatigue
- Swollen glands
- Truncal rash
- Muscles pain
- Sore throat
- In some cases, a lack of symptoms.
This stage symptoms begin to appear but vague. The immunity begins to weaken. Symptoms can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe, depending on how advanced the infection is;
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
In this stage immunity begins to completely breakdown, HIV remains active within the infected host, replicating and injuring their immune system.
CD4 cells count to fall to very low levels. The following symptoms can be observed;
- Persist diarrhea
- Mental disorders, confusion, forgetfulness
- Change the skin texture
- Hand boils
- Patient cough
- Loss of vision
- Night sweats
- Oral, anal and genital pain
Last stage HIV infection:
The immunity collapses, patients who have been overcome with HIV, and are said to have developed AIDS. Often referred to as an advanced or late stage of HIV without treatment. Patients with AIDS may die within two years.
Death usually occurs as a result of an opportunistic infection or disease. The time between exposure and death with poor management in 46 years; however, with poor management, people live for long.
Also called the final stage of infection. CD4 levels decrease below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. The following symptoms may include;
- Rashes that can be brown, red, or purple.
- Severe chills and night sweats.
- Persistent high fever of over 37.8°C.
- White spots in the mouth, genital, or anal sores.
- Regular coughing, breathing problems.
This produces disease only in immunodeficient or immunosuppressed patients. In people with AIDS, these infections are often can be severed;
This disease is usually limited to lungs but at times spreads throughout the body. Symptoms are pneumonia-like illness, shortness of breath, skin lesions may occur, fever and cough, etc.
Acute disease from most asymptomatic or mild symptomatic diseases often like flu and may resemble pneumonia and skin lesions.
It is spread through the fecal, oral-route, often through contaminated water, with intact immune systems.
4. Invasive cervical cancer:
The second most common cancer in the world, sexually transmitted infection affected by women.
5. Cytomegalovirus disease:
Cytomegalovirus can lead to serious disease or death in immunocompromised patients as well as in newborn infants. The Use of current antiviral therapies is limited due to bone marrow or renal toxicity.
6. Herpes-simplex virus:
Genital herpes lesions are lip caused by HSV, sexually transmitted disease.
7. HIV-related encephalopathy:
It is an acute or chronic HIV infection that can trigger brain inflammation. It is the first manifestation of AIDS in up to 3% of HIV patients associated with CD4+T-cells count<200/mm3.
Histoplasmosis is also known as crave disease, caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Symptoms of the infection vary greatly, but the disease affects the lungs primarily.
9. Chronic-intestinal isosporiasis:
Isosporiasis is a human intestinal disease caused by parasite Isopora Belli. It is found worldwide. Infection common occurs in immunocompromised individuals, notably AIDS patients.
10. Kaposi’s sarcoma:
This condition carries a variable clinical course ragging from minimal mucocutaneous disease to extensive organ involvement.
Lymphoma is a group of blood cancer that develops from lymphocytes when you have lymphoma, lymphocytes change and grow out of control.
Exposure of my mycobacterium tuberculosis to the air through coughing and sneezing. Caused by mycobacterium, a healthy person inhales air containing tuberculosis.
Prevention of AIDS:
Healthcare providers who treat patients with HIV have an important role in supporting HIV precaution. Because patient needs may change over time.
Health care providers should engage patients in brief conservations at every visit to discuss. It also helps to prevent transmission to others, the prevention steps areas;
- Use of condoms to reduce the risk of AIDS.
- Avoid usage of needles and drugs.
- Intake of nutritious food helps boost immunity.
- Avoid breastfeeding from infected mothers.
- Avoid intercourse with multiple partners sex workers and addicted drug uses.
- During pregnancy, an infected mother can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby, keeping herself healthy.
- Antifungal, antiparasitic, or antibiotic drugs can help to treat the infection.
Myths and facts about HIV:
People are often confused or misinformed about AIDS. There are some of the more common myths and facts surrounding this disease including as;
- Sharing cutlery
- Touching unbroken skin
- The tear, faces, saliva, and urine of a person with HIV.
- Shaking hands
- Sharing towels
- Using the same toilet
All patients should be informed about the consequences of testing for HIV infection, the following test help to established the immunodeficiency in HIV infection;
- Total lymphocytes and leukocytes count.
- T-cell subset essay.
- Platelets count.
- IgA and IgG levels.
- It diminished cell-mediated immunity.
- Lymph node biopsy
HIV blood test and result:
A positive test means antibodies to HIV are present in the blood, the patient has been infected with the virus and the body has produced antibodies.
A negative test means antibodies to HIV are not present in the blood at the time which can mean the patient has not been infected with HIV or if infected the body has not yet produced antibodies usually three weeks and six months.
Good medical care and hygiene can do a lot to keep people well for a long time and lengthen the time before you get sick and develop AIDS.
Improving your lifestyle by keeping healthy, including;
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy balanced diet (vegetable, beans, eggs, fruits)
- Stop smoking and avoid alcohol (these things make your week so, it is easier to get AIDS earlier.
- Medication can help slow down HIV, the disease and to prevent illness).
- Take multivitamins
- Drinks lots of water
Emergency HIV pills :
Your doctor will measure your CD4 count and viral load to determine the stage of the disease which you are at and to help decide on the best time to start treatment. Once your immune system is weak or if you are having serious symptoms. It is necessary to start taking HIV medicine.
This medicine which is used to treat HIV are called Antiretrovirals, the medicine does not get rid of HIV, but they lower the amount of HIV in your blood.
There is no cure for HIV. One person has HIV; they will remain infected for the rest of their life. Therefore, prevention speed is the most important way of controlling HIV.
If any of your medications are making you feel unwell, you should discuss this with your doctor. If the side effect is not severe, in some cases it may be necessary for your doctor to change you to a different antiretroviral because of side effects you should discuss openly with your doctor as it may be better to wait a little longer before starting treatment.
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.