HIV and AIDS
BY: Rev. Christie LaValleyAccording 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). 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. 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". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS
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 AIDS. According 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:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
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.
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 actual 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. The virus continue 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
- 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
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.
· 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.
· 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 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 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.
· 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 testHIV 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 testsThese 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 testA 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.
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.