HIVe lived in a cloud ofignorance about the HIV and AIDS crisis.
I have never know anyone close to methat has been infected with either of the two viruses. So when the option toresearch something to do with sexuality arouse I felt this would definitelyfurther my education about a lethal killer that is roaming this earth. Since Iknew next to nothing about this topic I will start from the begging of thedisease and discuss where it’s at now. The HIV and AIDS disease has been around for awhile although no one hasbeen able to pin point it’s origin.
There are many theories floating around themedical world but the most predominant theory “is that the virus first attackedhumans in Central Africa up to 100 years ago. “(Kelly 524). It is said that thevirus stayed mainly in this closed society until many years later. Many say thedisease spread when international travel began to increase. The HIV and AIDSviruses were believed to arrive in the United States sometime during thenineteen seventies. It was a common disease between gay males and intravenousdrug abusers.
Now it is well known that the viruses have been transmittedthrough sexually, occasionally through blood and organ transplants. The acronym HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, where as theacronym AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. When someone hascontracted the HIV virus in almost all cases it produces the AIDS virus. Apparently there has been a controversy that HIV really isn’t the cause of theAIDS virus, but careful research has proved without a doubt that it is the cause. Socially the production of the viruses has caused a lot of hate, prejudice,racism and above all homophobia. Many people only talk about the late stages of AIDS but HIV does notalways produce the AIDS virus.
If the HIV virus is caught in the early stagesit is possible to get treatment and delay the effects of the AIDS virus. Whenan individual contracts HIV they can expect a fever, swollen glands, andsometimes a rash. As the bodies system tends toward these symptoms the HIVvirus may still be undetectable. This first stage is called primary HIV diseasethen moves onto chronic asymptomatic disease. With this stage comes a declinein the immune cells and often swollen lymph nodes.
As time moves on thedepletion of immune cells increases leaving the body open to opportunisticinfection. This is where normal sickness, disease, and other things in theenvironment are now able to attack the bodies system. This stage is called thechronic symptomatic disease. A very noticeable symptom is a thrush, which “is ayeast infection of the mouth”(Kelly 532). Also at this stage there can beinfections of the skin and also feelings of fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, etc.
The actual period of the HIV virus really varies from person to person. Normally with in a year or two the serve stages of HIV set in. At this point inthe victims life it is said they have progressed into the AcquiredImmunodeficiency Syndrome(AIDS). This status is established when one or more ofdiseases have accumulated in the effected victims system. Many victims oftenhave lesions appear on their skin or they begin to acquire a pneumocysticpneumonia.
The final stage of the virus attacks the nervous system, “damagingthe brain and the spinal cord. “(Kelly 532). This can lead to a number ofproblems in the body: blindness, depression, loss of body control, loss ofmemory. This can often last for months before the victim finally passes away.
Once the HIV virus enters the body it infects the “T” cell theprotectors of the immune system. Once they have attached to the T cell the HIVmolecule sheds it’s outer coating and then releases the Viral RNA material intothe T cell. RNA and DNA are basically genetic blueprints for the body. Whenthe Viral RNA enters the T cell it begins transforming into the more complexViral DNA.
This occurs because the virus brings along an enzyme with it thatcauses the change. Modern medicine uses the drug AZT to put the transformationon hold. After the Viral RNA changes to Viral DNA it then penetrates thenucleus of the T cell. It connects with the cell DNA and awaits the opportunityto produce more Viral RNA. When the victim comes under stress or infection thecells break and become Viral proteins and begin making more Viral RNA. They arethen re-coated so they can regain entry into other T cells, mass producing thevirus throughout the immune system.
The HIV virus is of the retrovirus type, this is a class of viruses thatreproduces with the aids of an enzyme that it carries with it. This allows thevirus to transform the genetic RNA into DNA in the host cell. Basically whenthe virus attacks a cell it tells it’s self, to transform from the RNA to theDNA form and then mass produce the Viral RNA. Unfortunately for modern chemistsand biologists the HIV strand is so complex with so many genetic codes it isalmost impossible to break down. The thing that makes the HIV virus so lethalis that it attacks directly into the primary defense cells of the immune systemleaving it open for attack. No one knows exactly how HIV destroys CD4 cells, they are white bloodcells that play an integral part in the bodies immune system.
One possibilityis that they directly kill the cell either by causing them to clump together orby disintegrating them. A more recent theory is that HIV instills a geneticprogram inside the CD4 cell that causes the premature death of thousands ofthese cells. All cells in the body have a program to die, this helps keeprenewing the body with fresh cells. That process is called apoptosis, and it’sbelieved that HIV increases the rate of this process without the renewal. HIVis very good at cloaking it’s self in the body. This way the virus can movethrough the body almost undetected killing cells along the way.
It also makesit’s way to the neuroglial cells in the brain and spine. This is the mainproblem defending against HIV, it’s is so quick and sneaky that the body can’tfind it. The HIV and AIDS viruses are technically more complex than what Iexplained. Now that I talked about what it does to the body I it’s veryimportant to understand how it is transmitted from person to person. It hasbeen documented that the HIV virus is transmitted by the direct transfer ofbodily fluids.
Those fluids could be either blood or sexually transmitted fluid. Since the virus can stay undetected in a carriers body it is often transmittedto others without knowledge. Those infected with the HIV virus and haveacquired AIDS are more likely to transmit the disease compared to those withoutAIDS. This does not mean that the virus will not be transmitted at all. The virus normally enters the body through “internal linings oforgans(such as the vagina, rectum, urethra within the penis, or mouth)or throughopenings in the skin, such as tiny cuts or open sores.
“(Kelly 534). It has alsobeen proven that the virus can be transmitted from a mother to a baby via breastmilk. It has also been shown that HIV can be found in urine, tears, saliva, andfeces but no evidence of transmission through these fluids. There is hardevidence stating that HIV has been transmitted by the following; sexualintercourse, either anal or vaginal.
Contact with vaginal fluid and semen,transplanted organs or blood from an infected person. The contact with infectedblood, the sharing syringes by drug users, tattoo needles that are notsterilized, etc. There is still no really strong evidence that HIV has been transmittedthrough oral sex. Although there has been documented cases in which it has beentransmitted from a male’s semen through oral sex. There is far less evidence ofmale’s or female’s contracting the virus through oral sex performed on a female. It has been said that the virus can not be transmitted trough kissing butexperts can not rule out this possibility.
Some have said that prolonged”French” kissing, open mouth with the switching of saliva, could possiblytransmit the virus. There has been no evidence that casual contact has or everwill transmit the disease. This is were many social problems come into effect. Many be tend to isolate people that they know have contracted the virus becausethey are ignorant to how the disease is transmitted. “About 5 percent of individuals infected with HIV have remainedasymptomatic even without any antiviral treatment. “(Kelly535).
It’s not knownwhat causes this very rare occurrence but many doctors are still researching whyit happens. Can the body reject the HIV and AIDS virus, unfortunately until nowthe answer remains no for most. The virus defeats the immune system leaving thevulnerable to other diseases. Those victims that already have a more defeatedimmune system and then contract HIV will be more likely to acquire AIDS at amuch faster rate than normal.
Although someone is infected with HIV this doesnot necessarily mean they are sentenced to die. Few people that have beendiagnosed seemed to have rid themselves of the deadly virus. Most people tendto make a drastic change in their lifestyle. A change in eating habits,vitamins, exercises, and work habits.
Some of these victims often live for manyyears after they are diagnosed. Testing for the HIV and AIDS virus is a process that has become aregular occurrence in most people’s lives. When the virus enters the body itreacts by producing antibodies. Unfortunately these antibody’s can goundetected for sometime leaving people with the false hope that they are HIVnegative.
In most people it has been estimated that these antibody’s appearwith in six months or longer. This is why the medical profession suggestsregular HIV testing on a six month interval. There are two tests mainly used to detect the HIV and AIDS virus. TheELISA and the Western blot.
ELISA stands for, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay,it is an inexpensive test but often gives false positive diagnoses. When apositive result returns it’s often followed by the Western blot. This is a muchmore expensive and lengthy test that has to be interpreted by trainedprofessionals. The major problem with HIV testing is that it often developsvery slowly in the human body, staying virtually undetected for a long time.
This is why so many people can be not carrying the disease without even knowingit. There are three possible outcome with the testing technology that isavailable now. First, positive conformation that HIV antibodies are presentthrough out the body. Second, positive conformation that the HIV antibodies arenot present through out the body.
Third, the uncertain result that HIVantibodies are present in the body. Category: Science