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Infectious disease - Essay Example

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Summary
The HIV virus falls under retroviruses of the subgroup lentivirus (slow replicating viruses). A retrovirus is an enveloped virus that…
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Infectious disease
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Infectious disease

Download file to see previous pages... The HIV virus damages the immune system by damaging CD4+ lymphocytes and marring cell-mediated immunity, which impedes the body’s ability to combat infections thereby rendering the body susceptible to diseases (McCutchan, 2013). As a result, when other viruses, bacteria or pathogens gain access to the body, they fail to get resistance from the host body immune system hence cause disease. Thereafter, a person with the HIV virus in his or her body is said to have AIDS when the immune system gets compromised. AIDS is a multiplex of signs and illnesses brought about by the effects of HIV on the immune system. From the name, an individual must come into contact with the virus to have an infection.
HIV virus thrives in biological fluids such as human blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. Breast milk also contains the virus. Other body fluids such as amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus as well fluids surrounding organs such as the brain or the spinal cord also contain the HIV virus.
HIV virus exits the host through various portals such as the mucus membranes, open wounds, bloodstream, and genital tract. The breasts also serve as a portal of exit for infected mothers who breastfeed their infants.
HIV virus moves from the reservoir to a new host through participating in unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sexual intercourse with an infected person. According to the World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS spreads mainly through sexual contact thereby making it classified as a sexually transmitted infection (2015). Sharing needles with a person who is infected with HIV also leads to transmission of the virus. Consequently, the abuse of injectable drugs such as heroine is associated with high rates of HIV transmission. Expectant mothers infected with the HIV virus can also transmit it to their babies in the course of the gestation period, during childbirth or while breastfeeding. However, recent advancements in the prevention of mother to child ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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