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AIDS is one of the leading causes of death in humans, especially in less developed regions of the world. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes the disease by attacking and weakening the immune system. HIV normally targets a form of white blood cell known as CD4 cells. If a sufficient number of these cells are attacked, the human body's ability to protect itself against common pathogens is compromised (Lohse et al. 2007). Early HIV/AIDS signs include headaches, skin rashes, muscle pains, and a sore throat. The signs appear about three weeks after the infection. However, these signs fade and can reappear after a number of years. Advanced symptoms of HIV/AIDS include extreme loss of weight, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue among others.
Normally when the immune systems detect the availability of HIV in the body, it generates a certain type of antibodies to help fight the virus. During diagnosis, physician attempt to confirm the presence of these antibodies in body fluids like urine and saliva. The presence of antibodies confirms that a person is infected with HIV. One of the tests conducted to confirm the presence of HIV is Elisa test. Physicians then conduct viral loads to determine the amount of virus, available in the system.
The antiretroviral therapy is the standard and internationally accepted method of treating HIV/AIDS. ARV drugs limit the multiplication of the virus in the body. Patients must start the antiretroviral therapy at the earliest opportunity (Kassutto & Rosenberg, 2004).
If the treatment plan for HIV is not strictly followed the virus may develop resistance to drugs. The drugs reduce the rates at which the HIV spreads. HIV may stay in the body for many years. Serious symptoms only begin to show at the advanced stages of infection.
There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS. However, ARV therapy has really improved the chances of survival compared to the past where patients passed away a few years after infection. HIV patients can now live normal and healthy lives for many years, so long as they adhere to the treatment regimen.
Kassutto, S., & Rosenberg, E. S. (2004). Primary HIV type 1 infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Retrieved Nov. 10, 2017, from https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/38/10/1447/347075
Lohse, N., Hansen, A. B. E., Gerstoft, J., & Obel, N. (2007). Improved survival in HIV-infected persons: consequences and perspectives. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 60(3), 461-463. Retrieved Nov. 10, 2017, from https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/60/3/461/734523/Improved-survival-in-HIV- infected-persons
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