Immunodeficiency Virus

From the time it was discovered in the 1980s up to the present, HIV AIDS have killed millions of people worldwide and continue to threaten the health of selected segments of population anywhere in the world. The prevalence of HIV is due mainly to ignorance, neglect or complacency in adopting a pro-active role for the prevention and treatment of HIV AIDS patients.

HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the causative agent for AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The virus belongs to the retrovirus family and they have the capability of transcribing the RNA into DNA in the host cell thus ensuring their survival. That is also the reason why they are difficult to treat because by the time they are discovered, they have already successfully incorporated their genome into the host cell’s gene.

HIV produces a host of diseases caused by the progressive break down of the host’s immune system. The collection of condition it causes is called a syndrome because it produces a

Immunodeficiency Virus   img

Immunodeficiency Virus C4 Cells

group of signs and symptoms which when considered altogether points to a certain disease. It is a severe, life threatening syndrome that causes progressive damage to the immune system and other vital organs, especially the Central Nervous System.

Within weeks or months after being infected with HIV, most patients will develop an acute, characteristically viral, self-limited illness similar to mononucleosis infection that will last for a week or two. After this episode, the patient will then experience a period where there are no clinical signs or symptoms for weeks or even years. By the time it re-appears, full blown infection from HIV will manifest itself as a well established physiological and or neurological symptom of the illness.

The severity of HIV infection is directly correlated with the degree of immune system impairment. The onset of clinical illness is characteristically insidious, non-specific and usually insufficient to aid in the diagnosis of AIDS, the condition may be well established before diagnosis can be confirmed and by that time, the disease has progressed irreversibly.

Most patients die not directly from HIV infection but from opportunistic infections and its coterie of cancers and lesions that are included as specific indicators in the case definition of AIDS. These opportunistic infections include among others pneumonia, cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, candidiasis, cytomegalovirus infection, Kaposi’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and many others that when diagnosed using the standard histological or culture techniques were considered as part of the surveillance definition of AIDS as established by the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization.

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