HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HIV attacks the body,’s immune system, especially T cells, these cells helps the body to fight off the different infections; HIV destroys these cells and the immune system can’t fight of disease and infections. Without treatment HIV can led to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. HIV infection usually lasts throughout life and cannot be eliminated.

The internal structure of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). (Credit: MedicalRF)

Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. They believe that the chimpanzee version of the immunodeficiency virus (called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV) most likely was transmitted to humans and mutated into HIV when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat and came into contact with their infected blood.

Stages of HIV

There is a treatment of HIV called antiretroviral therapy (ART), and it prescribed to prevent HIV from developping from one stage to the next stage. the Hiv have three stages:

1/Acute HIV infection

after infection with HIV, people may experience a flu like illeness which last for 2 or 4 weeks, people are often unaware that they’re infected, an antibody/antigen test or a nucleid acid test is needed to know if someone has an acute infection.

2/Clinical latency (HIV inactivity or dormancy)

It’s the period of asymptomatic HIV infection or chronic HIV infection, During this phase, HIV is still active but reproduces at very low levels. People may not have any symptoms or get sick during this time. For people who aren’t taking medicine to treat HIV, this period can last a decade or longer, but some may progress through this phase faster. People who are taking medicine to treat HIV (ART) as prescribed may be in this stage for several decades. It’s important to remember that people can still transmit HIV to others during this phase. However, people who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load  (or stay virally suppressed) have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative sexual partners. At the end of this phase, a person’s viral load starts to go up and the CD4 cell count begins to go down. As this happens, the person may begin to have symptoms as the virus levels increase in the body, and the person moves into Stage 3.

3/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Common symptoms of AIDS include chills, fever, sweats, swollen lymph glands, weakness, and weight loss. People are diagnosed with AIDS when their CD4 cell count drops below 200 cells/mm or if they develop certain opportunistic illnesses. People with AIDS can have a high viral load and be very infectious. People with AIDS get an increasing number of severe illnesses, called opportunistic illnesses.

Testing of HIV

There are three ways to test HIV:

 Nucleic acid tests (NAT): tell us how mauch HIV is present in the blood.

Antigen/Antibody Test: looks for both antigens and antibodies, . If you have HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced even before antibodies develop

Antibody Tests: only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid

If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. If you test negative, there are more HIV prevention methods.

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