ADEYINKA BOLUWATIFE: SOME FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS
The Human immune virus is a type of virus, very deadly which attacks a person’s immune cells especially the CD4 cells rendering the person more vulnerable more sickness and diseases.
A recent statistical analysis shows a prevalence of about 1.4% of the population between the ages 15-49 years are living with this deadly virus with women twice more likely to more infect than men.
The Human immune virus affect human in stages:
Stage 1 (Initial stage): the first stage, the beginning of the whole dilemma, here the virus infiltrates the blood of the host through various means ranging from unprotected sex with an infected person, contact with contaminated objects, etc. The virus gets into the blood and invades the cells replicating inside them, the body in turn tries to fights this viruses off by producing antibodies. The host in response begins to have symptoms such as fever, rash, mouth ulcers, aches etc.
Stage 2 (Asymptomatic): After contracting the disease, Here the host feels and looks normal, while the virus continues the invasion and replication within.
Stage 3 (symptomatic): The host’s immune system is compromised from the effect of the virus invasion and activities and host becomes more susceptible to various opportunistic infections and also experiencing various symptoms.
Stage 4 (progressive stage): This is the final stage and the progressive stage. The HIV progresses to AIDs, Acquired Immune deficiencies syndrome, in which the sufferer begins to come down with various kinds of diseases. This happens if the infection is not properly managed. HIV does not exactly have symptoms unique to it, but with the presence of this virus the host is exposed and more susceptible to various infections therefore the sufferer suffers and experiences numerous symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are: aches, fever, rash, night sweating, sudden and unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, joint pains etc.
Risk factors for HIV
1. Unhealthy lifestyle: carefree lifestyle such as alcohol and drug abuse, unsafe sex practices etc. can increase one’s risk of contracting the virus. As prevention one should practice health promotion and maintenance.
2. Unscreened blood transfusions: The virus can be passed from one person to another through blood products. If an infected blood is transfused to uninfected person, it would automatically render the person infected. So it is of paramount interest in the health care that every blood be screen before they are handled.
3. Exposure and association: what an individual is exposed to, be it in the family, the type or nature of job, the equipment he handles can increase the risk of contracting and infecting others. So it is very important to know ones status as well as be careful when handling equipment and instruments especially sharps.
The most important and first step here is early detection. By this treatment and management will be more effective to avoid getting to the progressive stage. The infected person is placed on antiretroviral medication (ART) and they are monitored closely.
HIV affects the CD4 cells especially therefore the ART helps to defend the body against this virus by preventing it multiplication keeping the viral loads low and giving the body an opportunity to produce more CD4 cells. The normal CD4 cell level in the blood should be 500-1600 but any value before 200 shows an imminent danger.
Any vaccine for HIV/AIDs?
As of now there is not vaccine for the virus although more researchers are still being conducted in the bid to develop one.
HIV/AID has no cure. Therefore it would be everyone interest to know their status, and live accordingly, if positive the appropriate help, if negative, try to prevent it as the saying goes prevention of better than cure, probably till a curative or preventive vaccine is developed.