Human Immunodeficiency Virus ( Hiv )

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a dangerous virus that attacks the human immune system. Someone infected with the virus can live with HIV, or be HIV positive, for many years without any illness or showing symptoms. During this time, HIV remains in the body damaging the immune system and the person remains infectious. HIV causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if it remains untreated. AIDS is a stage of HIV where one can have life threatening illnesses. However, infection with HIV does not mean that one has AIDS. AIDS is the last stage of HIV and people can lose their lives at this stage. HIV is a virus that can be transmitted but AIDS cannot be transmitted. (, 2008)

HIV is most prevalent in African countries
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Origin of HIV

Fig. 1 (Chimpanzees in Africa spread HIV to humans.)

Scientists discovered a type of Chimpanzee in Western Africa and identified it as a source of HIV. There is conflicting information about who the was first person to get the HIV infection. Some sources state that it was Gaëtan Dugas, a Canadian flight attendant, (Williams, C. 2011, and interview) however, Internet research shows that the first documented victim of HIV was Robert Rayford. There is agreement between scientists that HIV was transmitted to humans through the blood and meat of chimpanzees which are a common source of meat in parts of Africa. This is how they came into contact with the infected blood. Once the virus had crossed into humans it slowly spread in Africa. Fig.1 shows the process of transmission of HIV through chimps to human. (THE AIDS INSTITUTE, 2014)

Symptoms of HIV

HIV symptoms do not appear in a patient for years but some patients experience flu called ‘Acute Retroviral Syndrome’ (ARS) or primary HIV infection. Infected people may have symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, sore throats, rashes, fatigue, joint and muscles aches, headaches, shortness of breathe, cough, weight loss and diarrhoea. Among these symptoms, swollen lymph nodes are often one of the first sign of HIV infection.

Individuals not treated at the early stage of HIV have a higher chance of developing AIDS. Typically it takes up to 10 years for this last
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