Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Episode 2-HIV ans AIDS


By Christie LaValley for Under the Covers on
***This is in no way is an ad for sex.  These are suggestions for your personal life, not for office visits.
According to Wikipedia the definition of AIDS/HIVis: “Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).[1][2][3] This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.[4][5] This transmission can involve anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids".

As of 2009, it is estimated that there are 33.3 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS . There are 2.6 million new  infections per year and 1.8 million annual deaths due to AIDSAccording to UNAIDS 2009 report, some 60 million people have been infected worldwide.

Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. AIDS was first recognized by the U.S.  in 1981 and its cause, HIV, identified in the early 1980s.
After being exposed to Hiv and actually becoming infected one will often show signs within the first few weeks.  However, one may have no signs or symptoms at all, although still able to transmit the virus to others. Many people may develop a short flu-like illness two to four weeks after becoming infected.  Some of the signs and symptoms may include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash
When one should see a doctor
 Many illnesses start with this simple array of symptoms, so infection is often overlooked and one never believes that they could have become infected.
If you think you may have been infected with HIV or are at risk of contracting the virus, seek medical counseling as soon as possible.
HIV Progression to AIDS
 When receiving no treatment for HIV infection, the disease typically progresses to AIDS in about 10 years. By the time AIDS develops, the immune system has been severely damaged, making one susceptible to opportunistic infection — diseases that wouldn't trouble a person with a healthy immune system. One may remain symptom-free for years.
The term AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. The definition of AIDS includes all HIV-infected people who have fewer than 200 CD4+ T cells per cubic millimeter of blood. (Healthy adults usually have CD4+ T-cell counts of 1,000 or more.) As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, one could develop mild infections or chronic symptoms such as:
  • Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Fever , shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F (38 C) for several weeks
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Lack of energy, Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent fevers and sweats, soaking night sweats
  • Persistent or frequent yeast infections (oral or vaginal)
  • Persistent skin rashes, bumps or flaky skin
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (in women) that does not respond to treatment
  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Blurred and distorted vision. Vision loss
  • Seizures and lack of coordination
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Mental symptoms, such as confusion and forgetfulness
  • Nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting
  • Coma.  
Children with AIDS may also suffer  from severe common childhood bacterial infections, such as conjunctivitis , ear infections, and tonsillitis.
HIV is found in body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids and in blood. HIV cannot live for long outside the body, so to be infected with HIV you need to directly allow some body fluid from an infected person to get inside your body, meaning the virus msy enter the body bu means of  contact with the bloodstream or by passing through delicate mucous membranes, such as inside the urethra, vagina or rectum

The most common ways that people become infected with HIV are:
  • Sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
  • Injecting drugs using a dirty needle or syringe. Dirty meaning that object  has been used by someone who is infected.
  • Babies of an infected mother, often acquire HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding.
Vaginal sex
·         HIV is found in the sexual fluids of an infected person. For a man, this means the pre-come and semen fluids that come out of the penis before and during sex. For a woman, it means HIV is in the vaginal fluids which are produced by the vagina to keep it clean and to help make intercourse easier. HIV can pass into the woman's body through the lining of the vagina, cervix and womb. The risk of HIV transmission is increased if the woman has a cut or sore inside or around her vagina; HIV can get into the man's body through a sore patch on the penis or by getting into the urethra or the inside of uncircumcised foreskin.
Anal sex
·         Being on the bottom of Anal Sex carries a higher risk of HIV transmission than being on the bottom of vaginal intercourse. The lining of the anus is much more delicate than the tougher lining of the vagina. If a man takes the insertive (“top”) position in anal sex with a man or woman who has HIV, then he too risks becoming infected.
Oral sex
·         Oral sex carries a small risk of HIV infection. A person giving oral sex (licking or sucking the penis or the vagina ) to a person with HIV, then infected fluid could get into their mouth, bleeding gums or tiny sores or ulcers somewhere in their mouth, means a higher risk of HIV entering their bloodstream.
·         There is also a small risk that a person with HIV  who gives oral sex when having  bleeding gums or a bleeding wound in their mouth. Saliva does not pose a risk. HIV infection through oral sex alone seems to be very rare
Contact with any blood during sex
·         increases the chance of infection. Intercourse during a woman's period should be avoided . STDs such as herpes and gonorrhoea – can also raise the risk of HIV transmission.

Drug Injecting
·         Drug users that inject are a high-risk group for exposure to HIV. Sharing needles or other  equipment is certain to transmit blood-borne viruses such as HIV and/or Hepatitis C. Sharing anything including product used for injecting is three times more likely to transmit HIV than sexual intercourse. Disinfecting equipment between each use can reduce the chance of transmission, but does not eliminate it entirely. If a person is on drugs (including alcohol) then their judgment may be clouded, making them more likely to become involved in risky sexual behavior, which increases the chance of exposure to HIV.

Mother to child transmission
·         Pregnant woman that are infected can pass HIV on to her unborn baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery. HIV can also be transmitted through breastfeeding.
·         Infected women can take drugs to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected.

Blood transfusions and blood products
·         Some have been infected through a transfusion of infected blood. However, in developed countries all the blood used for transfusions are now tested for HIV, making HIV infection through blood transfusions is now extremely rare. In some developing countries, testing systems are not so efficient and transmission through blood transfusions continues to occur. Blood products, such as those used by people with haemophilia, are now heat-treated to make them safe.
Infection in health-care settings
·         Hospitals and clinics now take precautions to prevent the spread of blood-borne infections, including the use of sterile surgical instruments, wearing gloves, and safely disposing of medical waste. In developed countries, HIV transmission in health-care settings is extremely rare. Health-care workers have on rare occasions become infected with HIV by being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood.). There have been only a very few documented instances of patients acquiring HIV from an infected health-care worker..
Tattoos / piercing
·         Anything that allows another person's blood to get into another bloodstream carries a risk. Equipment not been sterilized before having a tattoo or piercing, there could pose a significant risk of exposure if the person before was HIV positive. In most developed countries there are hygiene regulations governing tattoo and piercing. Always ask staff at the shop what procedures they take to avoid infection.
You cannot get HIV from. . .
 Saliva does contain HIV, but the virus is only present in very small quantities and as such cannot cause HIV infection. Both partners would have to  have large open sores in their mouths, or severely bleeding gums, for transmission risk from mouth-to-mouth kissing.
Sneezing, coughing, sharing glasses/cups, etc
·         HIV cannot reproduce outside its living host, except under controlled laboratory conditions and does not survive in the open air, making  the possibility of this type of environmental transmission remote. In practice no environmental transmission has been recorded.HIV cannot be transmitted through spitting, sneezing, sharing glasses, cutlery, or musical instruments. You also can't be infected in swimming pools, showers or by sharing washing facilities or toilet seats.
·         Studies have shown no evidence of HIV transmission through insect bites, even in areas where there are many cases of HIV and AIDS.HIV only lives for a short time and cannot reproduce inside an insect. So, even if the virus enters a mosquito or another sucking or biting insect, the insect does not become infected and cannot transmit HIV to the next human it feeds on or bites.
Injecting drugs with sterile needles
·         Injecting with a sterile needle and works will not transmit HIV. If a person is on drugs (including alcohol) then their judgement may be clouded, making them more likely to become involved in risky sexual behaviour, which increases the chance of exposure to HIV.
Protected sex
·         Condoms, iIf used correctly and consistently, are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission. Some  believe condoms are not adequate ,scientific tests have disproved this theory.Condoms are effective at preventing HIV during both vaginal and anal sex and can help to reduce the risks during oral sex too.


One can receive testing at their personal doctors or by visiting their local health Department.  Many have the rapid testing which is only a 20 minute test. 

IV antibody test

HIV antibody tests are the most appropriate test for routine diagnosis of HIV among adults.  Antibody tests are inexpensive and very accurate. The ELISA antibody test (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent) also known as EIA (enzyme immunoassay) was the first HIV test to be widely used.  When a person becomes infected with HIV, the body responds by producing proteins that fight infection, called antibodies. An HIV antibody test looks for these antibodies in blood, saliva or urine. If antibodies to HIV are present, it means a person has been infected with HIV.
Most people will  develop detectable HIV antibodies within 6 to 12 weeks. In very rare cases, it can take up to 6 , it is exceedingly unlikely that someone would take longer than 6 months to develop antibodies. A negative test at three months almost always means a person is not infected with HIV. It is very important to note that if a person is infected with HIV, they can still transmit the virus to others during the window period.
ELISA tests are very sensitive and will detect very small amounts of HIV antibody. There is a small chance that a result could come back as ‘false positive’. A false positive result means that a person may not be infected with HIV,  however,  the  antibody test has come back positive. All positive test results are followed up with a confirmatory test, such as:

Rapid HIV tests

These tests are based on the same technology as ELISA tests, but instead of sending the sample out to a laboratory to be analyzed, the rapid test can give results in a short 20 minutes. Rapid tests can use either a blood sample or oral fluids. They are easy to use and do not require highly trained staff or laboratory facilities.
All positive results from a rapid test must be followed up with a confirmatory test, the results of which can take from a few days to a few weeks.

Antigen test (P24 test)

Antigens are substances found on a foreign body or germ that cause the production of antibodies in the body. The antigen on HIV that commonly provokes an antibody response is the protein P24. Early on in the HIV infection, P24 is produced in excess and can be detected in the blood serum. P24 antigen tests are not usually used for general HIV diagnostic purposes, as they have a very low sensitivity and they only work before antibodies are produced in the period immediately after HIV infection. They are now most often used as a component of 'fourth generation' tests.

PCR test

A PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction test) detecst the genetic material of HIV instead of the antibodies to the virus, and so it can identify HIV in the blood within two or three weeks of infection. The test is also known as a viral load test and HIV NAAT (nucleic acid amplification testing).
Babies that are born to HIV positive mothers are usually tested using a PCR test.  Babies retain their mother's antibodies for several months, making an antibody test inaccurate. Blood supplies in most developed countries are screened for HIV using PCR tests. However, as they are very expensive and more complicated to administer and interpret than a standard antibody test, they are not often used to test for HIV in individuals,
Relationships need not be affected in a negative way, although it is realistic to expect that some people will discriminate against you or socially reject you,  It is very possible that you will find love and support if you keep positive. The healthiest relationships for you might be fostered when your HIV status is kept private, but you might be compelled to fully disclose your condition. In the case of intimate relationships, it is imperative that you disclose your condition to protect your partner.
Intimate Partner
o    If your partner is not HIV positive, it is important to be honest about your HIV and to take proper precaution to keep them protected. HIV.
o     High risk behavior includes vaginal or anal sex without a condom.
o    Sex with a condom, oral sex, french kissing or sharing cleaned sex toys are all considered low risk sexual behavior.
o    There is no risk with hugging, masturbation, fantasizing, dry kissing, phone sex, cyber sex or sex toys that are not shared.
o    In order to keep from spreading HIV to others, you must use a condom every time you engage in either vaginal and anal sex.
o     It is important to have a non-infected partner tested every six months to check her status.
o    It is your choice as to whether or not to tell your friends if you are HIV positive. You might choose to be open about your status and tell. Shock, pity, disbelief, helplessness or endless questions are common reactions. Physically, there are no risks posed to a friend of someone with HIV.  Proper precautions should be taken though if there is blood shed.
Work Relationships
o    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with HIV/AIDS are protected from discrimination. If you fear that HIV will affect your work performance and therefore threaten your employment, get a letter from your doctor explaining what you need.,. As long as the essential functions of your job can be completed, your employer has no legal right to terminate you on the condition of your HIV status.
o    You will have to decide if telling your family will bring you love and support or stress and grief. A healthy relationship should be one that is supportive, dependable and loving.  The question you should ask yourself before disclosing your HIV status to your family is whether your family will be able to offer you the support you need. Be prepared to answer personal questions, including how you contracted the virus.  Whether to disclose your HIV status to your children is your decision as a parent. There is no right or wrong answer. However, it is also wise to have a counselor or another trusted adult to whom your child can speak with about their feelings.
HIV and AIDS drug treatment
The aim of antiretroviral treatment is to keep the amount of HIV in the body at a low level  This is the main type of treatment for HIV or AIDS, yet is not a cure. It can stop people from becoming ill for many years. The treatment consists of drugs that have to be taken every day for the rest of a person’s life.This stops any weakening of the immune system and allows it to recover from any damage that HIV might have caused already.
The drugs are often referred to as:
  • antiretrovirals
  • ARVs
  • anti-HIV or anti-AIDS drugs
What is combination therapy?
Taking two or more antiretroviral drugs at a time is called combination therapy. Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is a combination of three or more anti-HIV. The main reason for combinations is that when  only one drug is taken, HIV could quickly become resistant to it and the drug could stop working. Taking two or more antiretrovirals at the same time vastly reduces the rate at which resistance would develop. There are more than 20 approved antiretroviral drugs but not all are licensed or available in every country.
Choosing when to start antiretroviral treatment is a very important decision. Once treatment has begun it must be adhered to, despite the side effects and other challenges one might face. Many factors must be weighed up when deciding whether to begin treatment, including the results of various clinical tests.
Information was taken from these great sites.  To read more:

***This is in no way is an ad for sex.  These are suggestions for your personal life, not for office visits. 

No comments:

Post a Comment