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Human Immunodeficiency Virus - Research Paper Example

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HIV is the pathogen while AIDS is the condition brought about by the virus. It is possible to have HIV without acquiring AIDS and many individuals do not develop AIDS…
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus
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Download file to see previous pages the final stage of an HIV infection in which the body is at high risk of acquiring opportunistic infections that ultimately lead to the death of the individual. Opportunistic infections are infections that are caused when the body’s defense mechanism fails to fight common pathogens ordinarily encountered by the body which it could otherwise done had it not been infected with HIV. A person infected with HIV is said to have progressed to AIDS if he develops one or more specific opportunistic infections or certain cancers (, 2014). In addition, he should have a very low count of CD4 cells. Blood tests are performed to find out if the CD4 cell count is very low compared to the normal count that varies from 500 to 1500 cells per cubic milliliter of blood (, 2013).
HIV is transmitted from person to person through sexual contact and blood. It is possible for the virus to spread through vaginal, oral and anal sex. Needle sharing and blood transfusions can transmit the virus through infected blood. The virus is also transferred from an infected pregnant mother to fetus through shared blood circulation. It can also be transmitted from an infected nursing mother to her breastfeeding baby. The virus is not spread through casual contact (such as hugging or touching), through mosquitos or by touching objects that were touched by an HIV infected person. The virus can only be transmitted by blood, vaginal secretions, semen and breast milk (, 2013).
When a person is infected with HIV, he first experiences flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, diarrhea, muscle stiffness, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands, rashes, night sweats, mouth sores, and muscle aches (, 2013). Some individuals do not present with any symptoms during the initial stages of infection. When the virus infects an individual, it takes over the CD4 T helper cells of body’s immune system and uses the T cell machinery to create its own copies, destroying ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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