The exact source of HIV is not yet known, but some scientists say that a kind of virus, called ‘SIVcpz, namely Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps’ was and is even now found in chimpanzees that are found in several parts of Africa.
Causes of HIV:
The spread of HIV in the body is such that the virus cleaves cryptograms of embedded cells which are used by the immune system, especially cells called ‘CD4 cells’ and further utilize the natural inherent material to make replicas of itself. The body is able to make more ‘CD4’ cells, but sooner or later the HIV virus will decrease the number of ‘CD4’ cells to a very low level which in turn ends up stopping the function of the immune system.
The spread of the HIV virus outside the system is caused by transmitting fluids from the body, such as blood or semen. Thus this virus can be transmitted by sexual contact, which will include even anal and oral sex. There is also a risk of HIV transmission if there is needle sharing while injecting illegal drugs. HIV can also be passed from mother to baby. But currently there are drugs available where the odds can be lowered. HIV is also transmitted by blood transfusions.
Symptoms of HIV:
The first stage of infection is called ‘primary HIV infection’. Of the people infected with this virus, about more than half of people develop symptoms, generally within about 15 to 45 days of infection. Symptoms will include joint pain, fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and swelling of the glands, fatigue faster than usual and the appearance of a spotty rash on the chest.
Generally the symptoms are quite mild and you will tend to attribute them to some other problem like fever or cold. These symptoms do not show improvement for a long period of time. This is called ‘Asymptomatic HIV Infection’.
This virus grows internally and even damages the immune system. If the virus is left untreated, it will in turn lower the number of CD4 cells in the body to very low levels and this will cause the immune system to stop functioning. This damage caused by the immune system generally occurs over a period of ten years. This in turn will inevitably result in growing into a severe infection.
Symptoms of a severe infection are, night sweats, dry cough, unexplained weight loss, high fever that will be very long, vision will start to blur, mouth or tongue will develop white spots, shortness of breath, constant diarrhea or even glands. tends to swell and the condition will continue for three months or more.
The first step is to be referred to an HIV clinic and receive counseling. Then blood tests will be carried out regularly, these tests will still check your viral load and CD4 cell count. There is no vaccine or drug available that can cure HIV completely. But there are drugs like HAART available to slow down the speed of the virus and also give you a longer life span.
There are also various therapies that are done alone and also in combination with medication to give sufferers a better life.