The Abbreviation ‘HIV’

The abbreviation “HIV” can refer to the virus or to HIV infection.

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell (WBC). They alert other immune cells to the presence of infections such as bacteria and other viruses in the body.

The loss of CD4 cells makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections and certain cancers. The immune system is gradually destroyed by HIV before advancing to AIDS if treatment is not initiated on time.

When a person has HIV, the virus attacks the CD4 cells,damaging them and causing a reduction in their numbers. A healthy person has 500 to 1,600 cells per cubic millimeter of blood(cells/mm3). A person is diagnosed to have HIV when the level of this type of white blood cells is lower than 200cells/mm3.

The viral load refers to the amount of the virus in 1 milliliter of blood. A measure of the CD4 count and viral load shows how well a person’s HIV therapy is working.

HIV and AIDS test tube and result showing negative
HIV test tube and result sheet

The goal of therapy is to have an undetectable viral load and a high CD4 count. The higher the viral load,the lower the CD4 counts and vice versa. The higher the viral load the higher the possibility of passing the virus to someone else.

Having an undetectable viral load does not mean that a person is cured, it rather means that the risk of passing the HIV to someone is effectively zero. A HIV positive woman can safely have sex when the viral load is undetectable without transmitting it to the partner.

Pregnant and nursing mothers can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their babies by using their medications as prescribed.

The virus is not transmitted through saliva,sweat,sharing of toilets or drinking glasses, shaking hands,tears or closed mouth kissing,or Mosquitoes .HIV is rather transmitted through oral,anal and vaginal sex,contaminated needles or syringe use,blood transfusion.

HIV can be prevented in humans by:
B: Being faithful to one’s sexual partners
C: Correct use of condoms

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