The HIV infection

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・MLA ・4 Sources

A viral illness called HIV infection can spread from one person to another through sexual contact, sharing of contaminated objects, pregnancy, and nursing. The infection progresses to AIDS, when the CD4 cells in the individual immune system are adversely impacted, weakening them and making them more susceptible to opportunistic illnesses. It has killed thousands and millions of people worldwide since its discovery in 1983. Antiretroviral therapy has been identified by researchers as the ideal medication to control and stop the spread of the disease, despite the fact that there is currently no prescription that can permanently cure it. The paper seeks to provide an in-depth discussion on the history, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and the prevention of the HIV.


In an effort to find out the virus that causes AIDs, DR. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Centre Institute was the first had to discovered the first human retroviruses; HTLV-I and HTLV-II. In the year 1984, the mentioned person together with other researchers such as Dr. Jay Levy at the University of the California in San Francisco and DR. Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute located in Paris led three research groups. All of the groups identified a retrovirus as the cause of the AIDS (Li 26). However, they both gave it a different name; HTLV-III, ARV, and LAV respectively.
The discussed disease has been prevalent in the global world. Important to note is that the majority of the people living with HIV are citizens in low and middle-income nations. In the year 2015, the research indicated that the 66% of the 25.6 million people living with the disease in the world are from the Saharan Africa. It further revealed that an estimated population of 35 million people has perished as a result of the AIDS-related ailment in 2015. The discussed disease has been prevalent in the global world. Important to note is that the majority of the people living with HIV are citizens in low and middle-income nations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention n.p). In the year 2015, the research pointed out that the 66% of the 25.6 million people living with the disease in the world are from the Saharan Africa. It further revealed that an estimated population of 35 million people has perished as a result of the AIDS-related ailment in 2015. The vulnerable population that is majorly affected by the diseases includes the commercial sexual workers, children that acquire it through mother-to-child during pregnancy or breastfeeding, those who invariably engage in drug injection and men who are involved in homosexuals (Mayer and Hank 376).

Causes and Impact of the HIV

The HIV is caused by the human immunodeficiency. There are some ways in which one can be infected by this pathogenic disease. Through the sexual contact such as the vagina, anal and oral sex with the infected partner would enable the semen or vaginal secretion with the virus to enter the body and transmit it. Secondly, the research has revealed that the virus can also be transmitted through a blood transfusion. Thirdly, sharing of the needles and syringes that are contaminated with the infected blood would cause HIV (Li 9). Fourthly, during mothers' pregnancy or delivery or at the time of breastfeeding, the infected mothers can transmit the HIV infection to their babies. It is important to note that the disease greatly affects the body once it is transmitted. Once inside the body, the virus attacks and destroys cells known as the CD4 helper lymphocyte cell (Li 9). The destruction of the mentioned cell would significantly reduce the ability of the body in fighting other infections. Notably, with this condition, even a minor infection such as cold can be adverse to the body because of the decrease in some the CD4. In this respect, the discussed disease is detrimental to the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Having large lymph nodes or the swollen glands is an early sign and symptoms of the HIV. Notably, when the virus is transferred to the body, the infection would reach the nodes through the lymph fluid. Once the nodes are infected, they would increase in size and appear as hard bumps. Loss of weight is another important sign of the discussed disease. Most of the victim that are infected by the disease would show a significant reduction of the weight. The disease would make one to diarrhea making him/her reduce weight (Li 72). Also, as a result of HIV victims may feel nausea and having mouth sores, this prevents them from eating, leading to decrease in weight. Persistent fatigue is another symptom of the disease. It is imperative to point out that when the infection reaches the body, the infected person would respond by offering a strong immune response against the disease. This continuous battling with HIV would need a lot of energy, and as a result, the victim would suffer from constant fatigue. The patients with this disease are likely to experience chronic diarrhea (Li 595). The research has linked the CMV viral infection as the primary cause of diarrhea; it has been noted to cause problems from the mouth all through to the anus.


A point to note is that the blood tests are the most common and appropriate way of diagnosing the HIV. In an attempt to fight the disease, the body produces antibodies to the virus; the mentioned tests would look for these antibodies. The people who are infected will take more than six weeks for their body to develop antibodies to the virus. Eliza test is one of the recommended methods used for testing the antibodies for the virus (Fearon 26). It has chemicals that are used in the detection of the immune response in the body of the individual. To test the virus; the trained personnel would take a blood sample from the tested individual. This sample would be put on the Eliza kit that contains the pre-coated polystyrene plates. If the blood sample has no antibodies for the virus, then the less linked enzyme would only bind to the solid surface of the plate, an indication of an HIV negative. However, if the blood has antibodies for the virus it would react with it, for instance, change the color of the solution. This is an indication that the individual has the virus (Fearon 29).


It is important to note that there is no permanent cure for the discussed disease. However, there is a drug that can be used to control and reduce its multiplication in the body. A medicine known as the antiretroviral therapy abbreviated as ART is highly used to control and prevent the HIV. ART involves taking a mixture of HIV regimen as prescribed by the physician (Li 9). Notably, the regimen prevents the virus from multiplying itself; this in return reduces the amount of the HIV in the body. Above all, the less amount of the virus in the body would strengthen the immune system and give it a chance of fighting other diseases. Additionally, with the reduced amount of HIV, the likelihood of its transmission would be minimal.


The use of the latex condom is one of the best ways of preventing an individual from being infected by the disease. It would play a significant role in blocking the transfer of the virus in semen and secretions during the vaginal, anal and oral sex. Screening for the HIV in pregnancy is another important way of preventing the disease. The pregnant mothers are expected to undergo a blood test to detect if they have the virus; this is part of the routine antenatal screening (Mayer and Hank 499). Once they have been diagnosed with HIV, they would be treated so that that they do not infect their baby during birth. Notably, one should completely avoid the sharing of the needles and other injecting equipment. There is likelihood for the mentioned equipment to be contaminated with the infected blood; exposure to them can cause the HIV transmission. Individuals should carry out regular HIV test; this assists in knowing their status. The knowledge of the status helps those who are HIV negative to avoid behavior that would make them acquire the disease. Also, those who are HIV positive would be advised to avoid engaging in the activities that would lead to the spread of the disease. Another way of the preventing the disease is to limit the number of the sexual partners (Mayer and Hank 281). Having more partners would increase the chances of getting the disease. Having one partner and constantly going for HIV test to each one status would prevent the disease infection.


From the discussion, I have learned that the scientists and researchers have so far not come up with the permanent cure for the HIV disease. This notwithstanding, I noted that the disease can be easily avoided once individuals follow the prevention strategies. Even after contracting the disease, this should not be the end of the life, because the ART medicine can still control it. The knowledge acquires in this research would significantly impact by career by thinking of other better ways of the HIV prevention. Above all, it has challenged and motivated me to think of the way in which the disease can be fully treated.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "HIV in the United States: at a glance. 2013." URL: <http://www. cdc. gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance. html> [accessed 2016-09-16][WebCite Cache] (2014).
Fearon, Margaret. "The laboratory diagnosis of HIV infections." Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology 16.1 (2005): 26-30.
Li, Hongjun, ed. Radiology of HIV/AIDS: a practical approach. Springer Science & Business Media, 2014.
Mayer, Kenneth H., and Hank F. Pizer, eds. HIV prevention: A comprehensive approach. Academic Press, 2009.

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