The HIV is responsible for causing HIV infections and AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The transmission of the virus in the human body causes a general weakening of the disease fighting system (Bennington-Castro 1). For instance, in the event of AIDS, the body realizes the progressive failure of the immune system and, therefore, allows the disease-causing pathogens to inhibit the body. As such, the body suffers from opportunistic diseases, including malaria, cancers, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid among others. The average rate that HIV takes to develop into AIDS is between nine and eleven years (Bennington-Castro 1).
It is worth noting that people contract HIV through various ways, which include blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breastfeeding, and other fluids in the body that contain blood (Levy 1403). Nevertheless, the most prevalent way by which HIV is transmitted from an individual to another is through blood-to-blood contact and sexual intercourse. Accordingly, the safest mechanism of avoiding contraction of the virus is through avoiding the exchange of body fluids such as blood and avoiding the exchange of the body fluids through sexual activity (Levy 1408). The virus inhibits these body fluids in the form of free particles (Bennington-Castro 1).
After the virus is introduced into a human’s body, the virus attacks the human immune system by attacking the helper T cells (Bennington-Castro 1). The dendritic cells, the macrophages, and the CD4+ cells are the primary targets of the HIV. When the HIV accesses the immune stem, then they attack and destroy the defensive cells (Levy 1402). The attack causes the reduction of these cells; hence, causing general body weakness in the immune system and facilitating the attack by other opportunistic disease-causing microorganisms. The decline of the CD4+ cells causes a loss of the cell-mediated immunity in the body, thus increasing the susceptibility of the body to opportunistic infections such as AIDS (Bennington-Castro 1).
Treatment and Management
Over the years, the medical scientists have worked unsuccessfully on acquiring a treatment for the virus. Therefore, the treatment of the virus has become difficult, although various mechanisms for the management and prevention of the transmission of the virus have been devised (Levy 1401). The management practices aim at weakening and controlling the multiplication of the virus before it reaches the final stage often regarded as the AIDS. According to medical practitioners, the use of the PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) drug reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus. In the event of post-exposure, the post-exposure prophylaxis drug is highly recommended as it reduces the risk of contracting when taken before the elapse of three days (Bennington-Castro 1). Among other ways by which the transmission of the virus is ensured is through avoiding the exchange and use of contaminated sharp objects like needles, avoiding breastfeeding, as well as the safe and consistent use of latex condoms. Other effective means of protection includes avoiding multiple sexual partners and frequent HIV tests to ascertain one’s status (Levy 1409).
Approximated 78 million people worldwide have contracted the HIV globally since the epidemic began in the second half of the 20th century (Bennington-Castro 1). The third world countries currently bear the highest burden of the HIV infections. About 50, 000 new infections are recorded in the United States annually with the women having the highest prevalence rates (Bennington-Castro 1).
As it is evident from the above discussion, the HIV infection has become increasingly rampant in spite of increased awareness in the recent years. Sexual transmission takes the lead in the modes of transmission. The treatment aims at reducing the virus in the body by initiating anti-retroviral therapies, which slow down the destruction of the immune system. However, many people continue to succumb to AIDS despite the advancement of science, which has improved the management practices for the virus. In essence, the awareness created over the years has reduced the rates of infection, while the therapies have improved the life of the patients suffering from AIDS.