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Hiv/Aids

Essay by   •  November 21, 2010  •  1,492 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,430 Views

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I. Description

During the Dark Ages, a plague struck the world. The plague not only infected humans but was originally infected the life stock. During the Dark Ages, medical technology was not a advanced as it is today. Despite our several modern miracles of science, we are as still plagued with a killer disease, HIV. The arrival of a new and lethal virus caught us off guard. Research suggests that the agent responsible for AIDS probably dates from the 1950s, with a chance infection of humans by a modified Simian virus found in African green monkeys.

AIDS is thought to be caused primarily by a virus that invades white blood cells (lymphocytes) - especially T4-lymphocytes or T-helper cells - and certain other body cells, including the brain. In 1983 and 1984, French and U.S. researchers independently identified the virus believed to cause AIDS as an unusual type of slow-acting retrovirus now called "human immunodeficiency virus" or HIV. Like other viruses, HIV is basically a tiny package of genes. Being a retrovirus, it has the rare ability to copy and insert its genes right into a human DNA. Once inside a human host cell the retrovirus uses its own enzyme, genetic code into the DNA. Though the body has been infected with HIV, it may be inactive. It can take years for something to trigger the virus and begin the replication process. During the dormant stage, HIV carriers who are infected with the virus unknowingly still can infect others. (Allen & Kanabus, n.d.)

On average, the dormant virus seems to be triggered into action three to six years after first invading human cells. When turned on, the viral replication may speed along, producing new viruses that destroy white blood cells. White cells are very important to the immune system. As virus continues to replication it is destroying the body disease defense mechanism. (Vandamme, 2003) Contrary to what many believe HIV does not kill people. HIV allows the immune system to become so weak that the one dies because of small infections like the common cold. Many HIV patients often dies because of a cancer that only has an onset with HIV patient, Kaposi sarcoma.

Recent research suggest that some people may have a serum protein that helps them resist HIV while others may have one that makes them genetically more prone to it by facilitating viral penetration of T-helper cells. (Vandamme, 2003) Perhaps, says one expert, everybody exposed to HIV can become infected, but whether or not the infection progresses to illness depends on multiple immunogenic factors. Some may be lucky enough to have genes that protect them form AIDS.

While HIV hides within human cells, the body may produce antibodies, but, for reasons not fully understood, they don't neutralize all the HIV/AIDS virus. Carriers may be able to infect others.. Most experts agree that within six months all but 10 per cent of HIV-infected people "seroconvert" and have detectable antibodies.

II. Transmission

AIDS is a predominantly a sexually transmitted disease. The other main route of HIV infection is through

contaminated blood and shared IV needles. Since the concentration of virus is highest in semen and blood, the most common transmission route is from man to man via anal intercourse, or man to woman via vaginal intercourse. Female HIV carriers can infect male sex partners. (Klein, 2000)

The virus can not be spread though other bodily fluids like urine, tears, saliva, and amniotic fluid. Blood, vaginal secretions and possibly breast milk are means of transmission. Pregnant mothers can pass the infection to their babies. While breastfeeding is a rare and unproven transmission route, health officials suggest that infected mother's bottle feed their offspring.

AIDS is not confined to male homosexuals and the high risk groups: There are now reports of heterosexual transmission form IV drug users, hemophiliacs or those infected by blood transfusion to sexual partners. There are a few reported cases of AIDS heterosexually acquired from a single sexual

encounter with a new, unknown mate. AIDS is not very easy to catch. One microbiologist speculates that those with high antibody counts are probably not very infectious. The most infectious appear to be seemingly healthy persons carrying HIV without any sign of disease as yet. (Klein, 2000)

Despite many what many may think AIDS cannot be pocked picked u p casually like on doorknobs, public washrooms, shared school books, communion coups, and cutlery or even by food handlers with open cuts. A relatively weak when not inside a host, HIV is easily killed by a dilute 1 in 10 solution of bleach, rubbing alcohol and other disinfectants. Even where parents or caregivers have cleaned up HIV-infected blood, vomit or feces, HIV has not been transmitted. It is perfectly safe to share a kitchen, bathroom, schoolroom or workbench with HIV-infected individuals. But it is inadvisable to share toothbrushes, razors, acupuncture needles, enema equipment or sharp gadgets, which could carry infected blood through the skin.

III. Diagnosis and Treatment

HIV is one "smart" disease. One might, have diarrhea, erysipelas and an intermittent fever two or three weeks after initially being infected with the virus. These symptoms are very similar to the flu. Because the HIV go into a dormant stage, these symptoms are often mistaken. During the pre-stage of HIV several disorder may begin to develop. These disorders in clued: problems in the digestive tract,and problems with in the lungs and the kidneys. Swelling may also occur with the lymph glands. After these symptoms begin to develop the virus, is about to become the full blown, AIDS rather than just HIV. (Nemecheck, 2000)

There are three important aspects for the treatment in of HIV. One, treatment is available for patients that are asymptomatic and those that are not showing symptoms. Two, there are numerous clinical trails and treatments.

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