You may have heard of a virus that is sweeping the planet at the moment called HIV. This article is going to take a closer look at HIV. What it does, how it is contracted and how it is kept under control as well as the implications contracting this disease will have for you.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Many people actually think that HIV is a disease not a virus. The truth is that the virus, HIV, causes the disease known as AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome. This is because the virus attacks the human immune system to the extent that the immune system can no longer function. This then leaves the infected person open to all kinds of infections. The most common ones, the ones that most often take the lives of the person infected with HIV, are pneumonia and tuberculosis.
It is possible to contract HIV through the exchange of intimate bodily fluids. This would be things like blood and semen, not saliva or urine. This means that promiscuity places you at a very high risk for contracting the virus since condoms are not truly able to prevent the virus from leaving the host’s body and entering yours. The virus is much smaller than the inevitable gaps between the molecules of the latex the condoms are made from. It also means that if you are a nurse or doctor or paramedic you are also part of a high risk population as you are working with injured people on a daily basis and may accidentally get some of an infected person’s blood into your blood stream through a scratch in your skin. It is also possible for a mother to transmit the virus to her unborn child through the placenta.
There are drugs known as anti retro virals that can be used to keep the virus under control. The problem is that the virus cannot ever be completely removed from a person’s system, much like a cancer of the immune system. This means that while a person might not be actively suffering from AIDS, they are still infected with HIV and can still pass the virus on to other people, they are in effect in remission rather than cured. These anti retro viral medications have made it possible for a person to live for many years with the virus in their system without suffering from the depressed immune system.
As you can see, HIV is actually quite a complex and tough virus to live with as it cannot be eradicated and it can easily be passed from one person to another with just a moment’s carelessness. This is why it is able to spread so far across the world so quickly. It is doubtful whether a cure for HIV will be found in the near future. In the meantime, all that we can do is learn to live with it and do our best not to get infected with the virus and, if you are already infected, to try and avoid passing it on to anyone else.