by AK Team
AIDS that is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is basically a deadly, very chronic and a life – threatening disease. This deadly disease is caused by a virus that is HIV – human immunodeficiency virus.
HIV is a very deadly virus that alters and damages the immune system of an individual and its cells. This HIV virus directly or indirectly weakens an individuals ability to fight back or to resist himself or herself from an infectious disease.
Currently, there is no specific cure for AIDS/HIV. There are no such treatments available that can cure this disease completely. However, there are certain medications available that can reduce the rate of progression of this disease. These drugs and medications are mainly targeted to reduce the date rates that are caused by this disease.
WHAT IS HIV (HUMMAN IMMUNODEFICEINCY VIRUS)?
- HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.
- HIV is a deadly virus that by entering in our body alters the immune system
- Immune system is basically the defense system of our body.
- The HIV virus targets and attacks this immune system.
- The specific cells that the HIV virus targets are a type of white blood cells that are known as CD4 cells and sometimes these cells are also called as T cells
- As the HIV virus affects the human defense system that is the immune system directly, this weakens the immune system of the body and the body gets more prone to any kind of disease.
- After attacking the CD4 or the T cells of the immune system specifically of the immune system, the HIV virus alters their structure and makes these cells the factories that make several copies or in simpler terms do replication of this HIV virus
- By doing this the HIV virus causes AIDS
- There are several strains of HIV virus and all of them are grouped into two major types. These types are :
HIV 1 : This is the most common type of HIV virus and it is mostly spread worldwide
HIV 2: This type is not as common as type 1 HIV and it is mostly found in Asia, Europe and West Africa
- HIV is a sexually transmitted disease or virus that is either transmitted through unprotected sex, blood or any other fluid. It basically requires a fluid medium to be transmitted.
WHAT IS AIDS?
- AIDS – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
- AIDS is basically the last or the late stage of HIV
- When HIV enters in an individuals body, it enters the immune system of the person and attacks the CD4 or the T cells and then these cells start making copies of the HIV
- Over a period of time when the HIV houses almost all of the CD4 or T cells and very few numbers of these cells are left that is when around only 200/microliter CD4 lymphocytes or the T cells are left, then the person reaches the last stage or the late stage of HIV virus that is AIDS.
- As the immunity is decreased and really reduced in this disease, the chances of getting opportunistic infections that might eventually lead to cancer increases.
- Opportunistic infections are the infections that are caused by opportunistic microbes that is the microbes that attack in immunocompromised organisms and do not attack on healthy individuals
STAGES OF HIV INFECTION
There are basically four stages of HIV infection
- Stage 1 is the infection stage
- In this stage the person acquires the HIV infection
- The person develops some flu – like symptoms
- In this stage the HIV virus starts deteriorating the immune system of the individuals body
- This is the asymptomatic stage
- In this stage the HIV does not show any specific signs or symptoms
- In this stage the body’s immune system tries to protect the body from infection by forming some antibodies against the virus
- This is known as sero – conversion
- Few unnoticeable symptoms like headache, sore throat, etc. can be observed
- Stage 3 is the symptomatic stage
- As in stage 2 the body tries to make antibodies against the HIV virus but does not succeed, therefore in this stage 3 the virus destroys the immune system badly and the symptoms are very well noticeable
- During the initial phase of this stage only mild symptoms like fatigue, mouth ulcers, etc. can be seen, but as the time progresses over a period of time some severe symptoms can be observed
- As this stage really weakens the immune system of an individual, the person now is more prone to opportunistic diseases
- This is the last or the final stage of HIV and is known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
- In this stage the doctor checks the CD4 lymphocytes or the T cells count
- If the count is less than a certain figure (200/microliter) the person is confirmed to have AIDS
- The symptoms and the viral load due to opportunistic infections increases in this stage
SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
There are various symptoms of AIDS. In some cases it might occur that the person is having no specific symptom, still he is HIV positive. In such cases, the person is said to be a carrier of HIV/AIDS.
In people who are symptomatic or who are actually infected with AIDS, the following symptoms might occur :
- Rapid unintended weight loss
- Profuse night sweats
- Fever that is usually recurring
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue
- Swelling of lymph nodes, armpits, groin and neck that is usually of prolonged type
- Diarrhea lasting for over more than a week
- Sore of mouth
- Sore of anus or genitals
- Red, brown, pinkish – purple blotches that usually appear on or under the skin, inside the mouth, eyelids or in the nose
- Memory loss
- Neurologic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
- Aching of muscles
- Night sweats
- Thrush (oral yeast infection)
CAUSES OF AIDS/HIV
HIV is basically spread by a virus and the late or the last stage of HIV is AIDS. There are various factors how HIV or AIDS can be transmitted or spread and these eventually are the causes that lead to AIDS.
Some of the causes are listed below :
- By having unprotected sex
- By sharing needles
- By blood transfusions
- Suring pregnancy or delivery
- During breast feeding
- Use of IV drugs
- Having STI (this can open the sores for an individuals genitals)