HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system of the body. The immune system protects the body against harmful foreign pathogens
that attack the body to harm its function. HIV usually attacks the T cells and more specifically CD4 cells and kills or harms them and with time the CD4 count in the body decreases until the count is less than 200 cells/mm3.
Prevalence of HIV
The estimated number of HIV infections was 36,400 and the rate was 13.3 (per 100,000 people). By age group, the annual number of HIV infections in 2018, compared with 2014, decreased among persons aged 13–24 but remained stable among all other age groups.
HIV is transmitted in many ways like semen, breast milk, blood, vaginal or rectal fluids. HIV is not transmitted by air so it’s not an airborne disease.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
HIV causes a syndrome called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a very serious disease because in AIDS the immune system is too weak to fight with the disease that is resolved by the body itself. HIV causes many changes to the body and most importantly it’s a lifelong condition and develops opportunistic infections like pneumonia, thrush, etc. normal CD4 count for a normal person is about 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimeter but in case of HIV infected person falls below 200 per cubic millimeter. Following are the Pathologies that AIDS patient develops like tuberculosis, pneumonia, oral thrush, cytomegalovirus (CMV), a fungal infection in the mouth or throat, meningitis, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and lymphoma.
Stages of HIV
There are three important stages of as follows
Stage no 1 is an acute stage which lasts for a few weeks after transmission.
Stage no 2 is a chronic stage or clinical latency
Stage no 3 is called as AIDS
Symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/AIDS
The most important symptoms that a patient presents with are fever, chills, upset stomach, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, depression, diarrhea, skin rashes, aches, pains, night sweats, shingles, weight loss, oral infections, pneumonia, swollen lymph nodes.
Investigations for Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Investigations always remain a mainstay when it comes to diagnosing HIV.
The most important of all is antibody/antigen tests in which the blood is checked for antibodies and antigens, positive results give the proper diagnosis but it takes 18 to 45 days to show positive results after exposure with HIV.
The other test is antibody tests, in this test we look for antibodies to HIV in blood or any fluid like saliva. This test takes about three to twelve weeks after exposure to HIV.
Another test for HIV is the Nucleic acid test (NAT) but because of its disadvantage of not being economical, it is not used for general screening. This test is to detect the virus instead of antibodies or antigen, it takes around 5 to 20 days for HIV to be detected in the blood.
HIV PCR test is the most accurate test done to diagnose the infection it is 99.9 percent accurate and is mostly done these days
CBC i.e complete blood examination should be done to check the number of cells as there are significant changes in the number of white blood cells in the HIV infection
No need to worry about all of these tests are available at our laboratory services at very cheap and affordable rate with the commitment of accurate results.
Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Until now there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but we can control HIV and prevent complications like pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc. For this, we use medications that we call as antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is a combination of three or more medications from different classes of drugs. The drug contains at least three medications to lower the amount of HIV in the blood in the form of single pills that the patient should take once daily. There are classes for anti-HIV drugs as follows
● Integrase inhibitors work by attaching a protein called integrase. Examples are dolutegravir, bictegravir sodium/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide fumar, and raltegravir.
● Protease inhibitors (PIs) inactivate HIV protease. Examples are atazanavir, darunavir, and lopinavir/ritonavir.
● Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Examples are efavirenz, rilpivirine, and etravirine.
● Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Examples are abacavir, tenofovir, emtricitabine, lamivudine, and zidovudine.
● Entry inhibitors block HIV’s entry into CD4 T cells. Examples are enfuvirtide and maraviroc.
These drugs are not only effective unless the patient takes the pills regularly these medications play a role to strengthen the immune system, reduce your chances of developing treatment-resistant HIV, reduce your chances of getting an infection, reduce your chances of transmitting HIV to other people. Patients suffering from HIV should take Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and Probiotics to make the immune system strong.
What are the preventive measures for this syndrome?
The most important preventive measure is to use a condom while sexual contact it could be anal, vaginal sex. Get a regular testing for HIV, avoid sharing needles for injection of medications, and refrain from sharing toothbrushes, clothes. Anything that spreads fluid of HIV infected patients to normal people should be avoided.