The Human Immunodeficiency Virus also known as HIV, is the virus that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV prevents the body from naturally fighting diseases and infections resulting in AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
HIV, a singularly unique virus. It’s deadly as it replicates very quickly, affecting the CD4 cells also known as the T cells. When the body’s immune system is compromised, it becomes susceptible to opportunistic infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
A person carrying HIV can pass the virus to others regardless of whether they’re experiencing any HIV associated symptoms. As a result of the stigma attached to being HIV positive, patients are discouraged from disclosing their health status to loved ones.
This often leads to the patient’s refusal to get on a treatment plan or adhering to one.
How Is HIV Transmitted?
HIV is spread from an infected person through body fluids such as blood, breast milk, vaginal and semen secretions. It’s not transmitted through sweat or saliva.
However, HIV can be spread if open mouth kissing occurs between persons who have sores in their mouths or bleeding gums. Having unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV infected person can lead to its spread as well as using unsterilized sharp instruments like needles, hair clippers and dental equipment.
A pregnant HIV positive woman who isn’t on anti-retroviral drugs can also infect her fetus with the virus during pregnancy or after birth through breastfeeding. Transfusion of unscreened HIV infected blood will result in the onset of HIV in the recipient’s body.
A blood test is the most reliable method to determine your HIV status. People who are sexually active are advised to have this test at least twice yearly.
This is because the incubation period for HIV is usually 3 to 6 months.
Prevention of HIV
The avoidance of risky lifestyles and behavior is an essential factor in preventing this infection.
You can avoid any risk of HIV if you practice abstinence (not having sex).
HIV can also be prevented by practicing safe sex in a monogamous relationship. Also, avoid sharing unsterilized objects with people.
For several years, there was a lot of focus on helping HIV uninfected people remain HIV negative. Additionally, at the same time assisting HIV Positive people to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
Following this strategy will consequently lead to a decline in the spread of HIV.
Medical professionals can help people living with HIV by providing and monitoring the adherence to anti-retroviral drugs. They can also help people living with HIV understand the dangers of certain types of behavior and transmission risk associated with them.
Treatment of HIV
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat the HIV infection. People living with HIV take a combination of these drugs daily.
Although the use of these drugs will not cure the virus, it can help patients live a significantly healthier life.
Recent reports indicate the spread of HIV infection in the United States has been stable. This can be linked to the use antiretroviral therapy.
By maintaining strict adherence to your regimen, the ART improves the overall patient’s health. Also, ART reduces the risk of transmitting the HIV to other people.
It’s possible to live a healthy and full life even after getting infected with HIV provided you don’t skip your ART and periodically visit your health care provider to check how well the drugs are working.
In conclusion, the presence of HIV in the human body can severely damage the human immune system and in the long run, lead to AIDS. HIV infection can be avoided by total abstinence and practicing safe sex.
People living with HIV who also begin ART with the directives from their doctor and maintain strict adherence to their regimen will live a healthy life.
I believe the only safe sex is abstinence. Latex condoms (nonporous) used consistently and correctly are 98% to 99% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Are you willing to risk your life on the 1 to 2% when it isn’t effective?