Hiv And Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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Human immunodeficiency virus, also referred to as HIV, came to the forefront of disease research in the 1980s as the disease began to spread throughout the world, eventually reaching pandemic status. HIV is a viral disease that targets the body’s immune system, and can potentially lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS. Currently there is no cure for HIV; however, there are treatments available that prolong the lives of the infected individuals and are successful in controlling the disease. Research for HIV is ongoing, and discoveries are still being made about how the disease works and functions once inside the body. In addition to research, advancements in treatment have been made, setting a precedent for more effective…show more content…
HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, is a lentivirus that targets the body’s immune system. Specifically, HIV targets white blood cells which are used by the body to defend against infection. The HIV virus destroys T helper cells and uses them to replicate itself inside of them. Without the proper treatment, HIV will eventually reduce the number of T cells in the body, making it more susceptible to infections and some forms of cancer. If enough T cells are destroyed, the body will be unable to properly defend against infection and disease. HIV is unique in that the disease itself does not kill the infected individual if left untreated, but instead opportunistic infections and diseases take advantage of the weakened immune system. The HIV virus is carried in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and mucous membranes. It is generally spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, and can be passed on from mother to child during birth. The virus itself does not survive well outside of the body and therefore casual contact with infected fluids does not pose too much of a concern. HIV does not elicit many symptoms early on, but is much more dangerous later. Some early symptoms are nausea, enlarged lymph nodes, diarrhea, weight loss, joint pain and a few other minor symptoms. However, although early symptoms can be quite minor, the major risk of HIV is the weakened immune system which can lead to serious infections, diseases, and cancers. To diagnose HIV
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