Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases
HIV or the Human Deficiency virus is like other viruses including the flu, but the one thing that makes this virus so different than any other is that the body is unable to clear this one out completely. Once someone is infected, there is no cure. Over time, HIV can also hide or mask itself in the body's cells. The cells within a person's body that fight off infection are called CD4 cells or T cells. HIV attacks these cells and copies or replicates itself inside these cells, then destroys them. HIV over time will destroy so many of these cells that the body is unable to fight off infection anymore. When this starts happening, AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome happens which is the final stage of HIV. HIV is transmitted through someone's blood or bodily fluids which can encompass semen, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous (AIDS.GOV, 2013) and usually it is passed from one person to another through sexual contact; however, HIV can also be transmitted through childbirth or IV drug use. Healthcare workers are also at risk from infected bodily fluids. Fluids from an infected person can deliver the virus to someone else's bloodstream. Within 2-4 weeks, and up to as late as 3 months, exposure to HIV can happen with a sudden onset of flu like symptoms including fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes or ulcers in the mouth (CDC, 2013). Sometimes no signs or symptoms of infection are present in someone with HIV. Certain individuals may feel sick as HIV turns into AIDS or have occasional bouts of sickness, but not really know or feel they are infected. When HIV progresses to HIV, the flu like sign and symptoms mentioned earlier can become far more severe. Many of the complications stemming from HIV are opportunistic infections, which happen in patients with a weakened immune system (CDC, 2013). “Some of these opportunistic infections include tuberculosis,...
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HIV/AIDS Complications. The Mayo Clinic (2013). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hiv-aids/DS00005/DSECTION=complications
HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/statistics.html
Kirton, C. (2007, April 2007). Nurses at the Forefront of a Pandemic: HIV/AIDS Nurses. National Student Nurse’s Associoation, 54-58. Retrieved from http://www.nsna.org/Portals/0/Skins/NSNA/pdf/Imprint_AprMay07_Feat_HIV.pdf
About Aid for Aids of Nevada. AFAN, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.afanlv.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=102
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