AIDS as a Clinical Condition – Virus Example

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"AIDS as a Clinical Condition"  is an engrossing example of a paper on the virus. The study of health and its consequent application has enabled various scientists to look into various diseases affecting both human beings and animals. Take for instance diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, malaria. Scientists have taken their time to study and gathered the necessary information so as to not only improve health in humans but also prevent and cure these diseases. Of particular interest is AIDS. First discovered in the 1980s, it became a global epidemic and has since claimed many lives. AIDS is a clinical condition that is dictated by the occurrence of a feeble immune system that is unable to fight off infections (Avert, 2015).

This is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is the most advanced stage of HIV infection where HIV is standing for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS. This virus attaches itself to the surface of particular white blood cells that are called T cells/ CD4 cells. These cells’ primary function is to coordinate the immune system to fight diseases.

It is a continuous process over time, and the previously healthy T cells now become infected with HIV hence affecting the immune system. As the T cells die, the amount of virus in the body increases becomes very vulnerable to infections that are not able to fight off known as opportunistic infections. People succumb to these infections rather than AIDS itself which is merely the condition (Sax, Cohen and Kuritzkes, 2012).   According to Mayoclinic (2015), The symptoms of HIV are varied. They depend solely on the person.

Many people may not exhibit any symptoms at all during the early stages of the infection. Without treatment, the infection progresses step by step, worsening with each successive stage. It is, therefore, convenient to consider these symptoms according to the period taken since acquiring the syndrome. 2-4 weeksThis stage is characterized by the mass reproduction of the virus. Most people have a flu-like illness. It is also called seroconversion syndrome/ acute retroviral syndrome (ARS)/primary HIV infection. It is merely a natural response from the body to this infection.

They can include headache, fatigue, swelling of the glands, sore throat, thrush, nausea, and vomiting, to mention but a few. These may disappear in a short while, e.g. a month, and one can mistake them for any other infection. One should also not assume to have HIV once they observe these symptoms since they can each be caused by any other illnesses. Clinically latentIt is also called asymptomatic HIV infection stage. During this period, the virus lives in the body of the affected person. It multiplies at very low levels and may give one the impression that the virus is inactive.

It is not the case. The virus is in fact very active, and one can transmit the infection to others. AIDSIt occurs because one has failed to take the prescribed medication. Therefore, this causes the immune system to be damaged beyond repair, and hence one becomes prone to various infections called opportunistic infections as aforementioned and cancer. Once the signals listed below set in, one knows that the clinical latency stage has ended, and a new era has begun: · Pneumonia· Diarrhea lasting for as long as three weeks and more· Rapid loss of weight These symptoms can imply any other illnesses, and the only sure way to pin them to HIV infections is by getting clinically tested to confirm the presence or absence of the virus. (Aids, 2015). During this final stage, the T cell levels have reduced drastically to below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.

Thus, the conclusion of the transition to this last stage together with the occurrence of the symptoms afore listed. Immune activation never causes ending viral replication. However, the infection and destruction of the CD4 cells by the virus are selective thus the effects on the T cell's lifespan are limited.

Since the process of the attack is continuous, this particular persistence destroys the operation of the immune system. Thus, more white blood cells, the T cells, in particular, normal functioning is reduced in terms of the efficiency, and thus the virus evolves. When it takes over the body’ s immune system, AIDS sets in. HIV transmission is only from certain body fluids of an infected person to another. These body fluids include: · Blood· Vaginal fluids· Breast milk· Semen When mucosal membrane combines with these fluids, somebody tissue that has been wounded or if injected directly into one's bloodstream, then the virus is transmitted.

It leads us to look at how the virus can be spread now that we know the means of its transmission Any form of sexual activity, vaginal or oral with an infected person exposes one to risks of infection. Having many sexual partners also exposes one to the dangers of contracting and transmitting the virus. Other methods of transmission include (all with infected persons)· Kissing one with bleeding gums or mouth sores· Blood transfusion· Oral sex· From mother to child during birth According to UNICEF (2011), HIV spread and infection can be prevented by· Use of condoms during sexual intercourse· Sterilizing needles· Screening blood products HIV/AIDS has no cure neither does it has a vaccine.

Researchers in the medical field are working hard to come up with vaccines and possible treatments, but none has been successful just yet. In Kalichman (2005), the only medication that is available is used to prevent HIV transmission as well as boost the immune system called the antiretroviral treatment, which lowers the viral load once treatment has been followed to the latter. Despite efforts to curb new infections, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is still on the rise globally in this day and age.

AIDS deaths, however, are on the decline since more people are becoming aware of the importance of the use of drugs to boost immunity so as to keep the opportunistic infections at bay. Studies have shown that HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in developed countries compared to their counterparts, 3rd world countries.

A number of factors contribute to this scenario. · EnvironmentalThese include urbanization and migration. Developed nations are characterized by large populations attributed to the fact that many people migrate to these urban areas in search of jobs to better their livelihood. The migration of people is characterized by the interaction of different backgrounds and cultures which can have both positive and negative outcomes. Some of the negatives include prostitution and drug use that cause a high risk of HIV exposure. · YouthAccording to Stine (2014), the developed nation has a relatively large number of youth compared to undeveloped nations.

This is a curious group of people who are ready to explore various activities at their age, and this includes sex. With the lack of or inadequate sexual education of the same, this exposes them to a higher risk of contraction and the spread of the virus. · Cultural differencesDeveloped nations include people of different cultures and even race. This can lead to various disagreements on different matters depending on their varied beliefs and practices. Some cultures, for instance, may dictate that people should not seek medical attention and instead rely on other modes of treatment when ill.

This is detrimental to the campaign for zero HIV infections because such may not know their status, and this poses a risk to all around them including their sexual partners. Liberalization can also pose a serious risk when it comes to HIV infections especially when people associate it with the recklessness that can translate to risky sexual behavior such as the encouragement of having multiple sexual partners. In conclusion, HIV/ AIDS like any other pathology should be given the clinical attention that it needs.

Additionally, more awareness campaigns should be done the same so as to educate people on their effects on the body. Possible prevention methods for the development of a healthy nation should also be looked at.

References

Aids.gov,. (2015). Signs & Symptoms. Retrieved 18 April 2015, from https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/signs-and-symptoms/

Avert.org,. (2015). What is AIDS? | AVERT. Retrieved 18 April 2015, from http://www.avert.org/aids.htm

Kalichman, S. C. (2005). Positive Prevention: Reducing HIV Transmission among People Living with HIV/AIDS. Boston, MA: Springer US.

Mayoclinic.org,. (2015). HIV/AIDS Symptoms - Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 18 April 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids/basics/symptoms/CON-20013732

Sax, P. E., Cohen, C. J., & Kuritzkes, D. R. (2012). HIV essentials: 2012. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Stine, G. J. (2014). AIDS update 2012: An annual overview of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. New York, N.Y: McGraw-Hill.

UNICEF. (2011). Opportunity in crisis: Preventing HIV from early adolescence to young adulthood. New York: United Nations.

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