Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus

By | Feb. 2008
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There are many diseases that are sweeping through our world and one of the most widely known is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus also known as HIV. What actually is HIV? Many people know of it but what does it do? How does it affect your body and your lifestyle? Many people do not know the answers to these questions.

HIV is commonly mistaken for AIDS. AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is only one stage of HIV and many people don't progress to that point. Once HIV enters the body the virus attacks CD4 cells which are immune system cells. The virus attaches to the CD4 cells and then injects HIV proteins (DNA and RNA) into the cell. The new HIV virus then continues to inject itself into other CD4 cells and the cycle continuously repeats itself. As the virus spreads, the CD4 cells become too weak to fight off other kinds of infections. Even the everyday common cold could turn fatal to someone with HIV.

Unlike the common cold or chicken pocks, you can not get HIV from being close to or just touching someone that has HIV. The HIV virus is contained in the blood, semen, and vaginal fluids so there are only limited ways for the virus to be moved from one host to another. Almost all cases have been transmitted by four ways: Sexual contact; injection with contaminated intravenous needles (IV needles); passage of the virus from a mother to an unborn child; and finally, through blood transfusions or organ donation. It really does not matter how long or how serious you have the virus, you can pass the virus on even if your levels are undetectable. (Gifford, 2000)

It is very important for the person with HIV to be very cautious and careful when having sexual intercourse. Anal intercourse is the easiest way to transmit the virus due to a higher amount of cracking and bleeding. Because of this reason, it is easier for homosexual men to transmit the virus then it is for heterosexual men and women and even homosexual women. Not only can the virus be...