The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the pathogen that destroys the bodys immune system allowing the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids). Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids) is a disorder of the human immune system in a person infected with HIV, characterized by severe breakdown of the immune system that leaves a person very susceptible to opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that would probably not have the opportunity to invade the body if a persons immune system were healthy. A virus is one of the smallest pathogens that can cause disease.
Like other viruses, HIV cannot replicate by itself. However, when HIV enters a persons body, it attaches to a part of the helper T cell, takes control of the helper T cell, and reproduces its genetic material in the helper T cell. The virus multiplies inside the helper T cell, causing an interruption in the signals for help in the form of antibodies. The result of this is an unchecked spread of HIV and the eroding of the ability of the immune system to defend itself against other pathogens. Most people have no symptoms when they are first infected. You must have a test to be sure you have HIV.
It could take as little as a few weeks to many years for any symptoms to appear. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, weight loss, tiredness, and enlarged lymph nodes. There are five ways of transmission of HIV. Sexual Transmission: People who have open lesions and engage in sexual behavior are especially vulnerable to infection with HIV. The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk. The only way to completely avoid sexual transmission is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to engage in sexual intercourse only with an uninfected partner who is committed to a monogamous relationship.
Latex condoms have been shown to help reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Needle Transmission: Sharing needles to inject intravenous drugs if the most dangerous form of needle sharing. Even the needles used for tattooing and piercing ears. Mother-to-baby Transmission: If a female is infected before or during pregnancy, her child has about a one in three chance of being born with the HIV infection. She can also pass it while giving birth or while breast-feeding. Blood Transfusion: Because of blood screening there is little chance for infection through a blood transfusion.
Also you cannot become infected from giving blood at a blood bank. Organ Transplant: Although it has happened, it is very unlikely in this day and age because of new and improved testing procedures. Through everyday contact with infected people at school, work, home, or anywhere else. Touching clothes, phones, or toilet seats. It cannot be passed on by things like forks, cups, or other objects that someone has used. From eating food prepared by a person with HIV HIV is not transmitted by a mosquito bite. It also cannot be transmitted though lice, flies, or any other insect.
You cannot transmit it from sweat or tears. It also cannot be transmitted though a kiss, although scientists are not sure about deep, prolonged, or open mouth kissing. The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV-antibody blood test. The tests available to detect HIV infections are among the most accurate medical tests known. Two separate tests for HIV (called ELISA and Western blot), when used together, are correct more that 99. 9% of the time. The test looks for the antibodies made by the HIV. These antibodies usually show up in the blood within 3 months after infection.
Everybody who is infected will show signs of these antibodies by 6 months. If you have one test taken and it comes back negative only after 3 months, you may want to have another test taken in 3 more months just to be sure that you have not contracted HIV. Progression of HIV Infection and Aids Lymphadenopathy: The presence of swollen lymph glands throughout the body. A sore throat, skin rash, or fever may also be present. These signs and symptoms will disappear and the infected individual then becomes asymptomatic. The asymptomatic period may last for 10 or more years.