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A Disease Called HIV and AIDS

Updated on November 28, 2011
The virus replicates within infected cells and new, infectious virus buds from cell surface
The virus replicates within infected cells and new, infectious virus buds from cell surface

It is a dastardly disease usually transmitted between infected individuals during one of life's greatest moment- having sex. It can be transmitted via blood or drug injections. HIV is a retrovirus than can convert their RNA genome into DNA allowing it to be accomodated by the host target. It infects cells receptors and replicates within infected cells and from it, a new bud cell with the virus is born.

There are two strains: HIV-1, which is worldwide and HIV-2, found only in West Africa. HIV-1 jumped from chimpanzees to humans many times in Central and West Africa between 1910-1940. HIV-2 originated from sooty mangabees. HIV-2 continues to evolve and appears to be spreading from monkeys to humans via food. In North America, 1-2 million are infected, in the Caribbean, 300,000, in South America, 1.8 million, Europe-720,000. By far the safest place seems to be Australia and New Zealand, only 74000. As of 2007, 33 million have it with the majority being women, minorities. poor and young people -25 yrs and less. Women with HIV and pregnant will usually give birth to babies with HIV unless Nivarpine is given to the mother before delivery and at birth to newborn.

HIV at the very start mimics flu-like symptoms. Blood tests will show a reduction of CD4 cells, the person is susceptible to non-related infections, loss of appetite and losing weight even though a person may be eating (malabsoption). As time goes on, neurologic, pulmonary, cardiac, anemia disorders worsen.

Diagnostic tests for HIV include serum and plasma testing for HIV antibodies, ELISA,testing for early infection, antibody, antigen and viral RNA, using confirmation tests, such as, Western blot, IFA, LIA. There are three categories of test results: A(1), B(2), C(3). In category A, more than 500 cells are immune = no symptoms, you seem healthy. Category B, 200-400 cells, blood disorders are making themselves noticed to the individual and the infection is complicating things, for example, oral\vaginal candidiasis, persistent fever or diarrhea. Category C is less than 200 cells are immune. This is AIDS full blown. Weight loss is greater than 10% of body weight, anemia for more than a month, severe bacterial infections. Basically, your immune system is seriously compromised. Harmless viruses can now become dangerous to you.

Treatment of HIV involves three or more drugs (HAART). There are 28 HIV drugs on the market and all are expensive, half of them cause diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. Prior to 1996, few HIV infections were treated by the HAART method and survival rates raged from 34-66% depending on age. Since 1997, HIV is using the HAART method, the survival rates range from 67-85%.

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