The Contributing Factors for HIV Disease

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection has been on the rise for the past three decades. Nonetheless, in recent years, a variety of measures have been implemented around the world in an effort to combat the HIV epidemic. The HIV virus causes a continual decline in White Blood Cells (WBCs), which damages the immune system. The virus affects the WBCs, rendering the body unable of fighting disease. Due to the emergency of opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis and diarrhoea, the sickness weakens the body and eventually kills an individual. The current prevalence of HIV disease in the USA is at 2.5% of other diseases which has infected 1.2 million people. Also, 10% of the male population compared to the 7% of the females are affected by the disease (Reitz & Gallo, 2015). On the other hand, it’s estimated that 40million people worldwide are currently infected by HIV disease. The present study is aimed at examining a number aspects about Human Immunodeficiency Virus disease.

The Contributing Factors for HIV Disease

According to Reitz & Gallo (2015), there are a number of contributing factors that have been the reason for the spread of the disease in the US and globally. Firstly, cultural factors in most if the communities across the globe especially in Africa has been a problem. Cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and circumcision where the equipment used are shared and not sterilized has been a risk factor. Secondly, promiscuity has led to an increased network of couples acquiring the HIV disease. Couples are not faithful to each other hence the multiple sex partners is one of the contributing factors in the US and the world at large.

Thirdly, drug use and alcohol which has been increasing globally has made a number of people prone to the infection. When people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, they become unable to control themselves or use the HIV protection methods properly. As such, most of them get infected faster and the disease spreads to other members of the society. The youths are more affected and infected through this factor than any other population since they are the heavy users of drugs and alcohol in America. Also, HIV and AIDS stigma has made majority of people unable to come out open on their status due to fear of the perspective other members of the society on them. In this regard, many fail to turn up for medical help on how to combat the virus or even being sensitized on how to live positively with HIV (Bennett, Dolin, & Blaser, 2014).

Furthermore, poverty and ignorance has led to increased spread of HIV globally especially in third world countries. Most youths especially the female counterparts are lured by the rich due to the poor standard of living. In this view, the poor are also unable to access the medical or training services on the disease. In most cases, ignorance and illiteracy is a contributing factor to the spread of the virus in the third world countries. Finally, lack of access to maternal services is another risk factor since most infected pregnant women transmit the virus to the unborn babies hence the spread of HIV disease (Greene et al., 2015).

Prevention Strategies

Many prevention strategies are aimed at reducing or combating the spread of HIV disease globally. These strategies include; use of Pre-exposure prophylaxis which entails taking of defined HIV drugs in bid to reduce the risk of the infection. In addition to that, proper use of condoms is a key protection strategy that is widely used and suggested to individuals when having sex with multiple partners. Also, the sensitizing the public on the dangers of HIV disease and sharing of drug injection equipment with people who have HIV. Such knowledge will help the general public even those who are illiterate of how to avoid the spread or infection of the virus (Bennett, Dolin, & Blaser, 2014).

Signs and Symptoms

HIV symptoms differ depending on the stage of the disease even though some individuals may fail to detect early that they actually have the disease. However, some people may remain asymptomatic and some may present with rash, headache, sore throat and fever in early stages. Additionally, signs and symptoms like diarrhoea, cough, lymphadenopathy and weight loss may incur following progressive weakening of the immune system by the infection. Also, lack of proper treatment may lead to cryptococcal meningitis, tuberculosis as well as Kaposi sarcoma and lymphomas (Reitz & Gallo, 2015).

Anne-Lise et al. (2015) suggested that, there are various diagnostic tests done for HIV including antibody screening test (ELISA). This checks a specific type of protein made by the body in reaction to the HIV illness and the sample used is blood. Another test done is Antibody/Antigen combination blood test which checks for the HIV antigen known as p24 which forms a portion of the HIV virus detected in about 2-4 weeks after the illness and also the HIV antibodies, the procedure can take an approximate time of 20 minutes.

Advanced Practice Nursing Role and Management Strategies

The nurses play an important role in providing care for HIV patients. Nurses help the patients manage with the infection as well as cope with the altered physical and emotional and symptoms that emanate with acquiring the illness. This is achieved through guidance and counselling as well through provision of pharmaceutical care (Bennett, Dolin, & Blaser, 2014).

Pharmacological Management

Antiretroviral drugs are used in management of HIV infections. The drugs are divided into various classes which function on different stages of the HIV cycle and this is referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HAART maintains the immune system functioning, minimizes the patient’s load of HIV and prevents attack of opportunistic diseases known to lead to high mortality (Greene et al., 2015). There are six categories of antiretroviral drugs used although the typical combinations; two Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTI) used as the backbone and one Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTI), Integrase Inhibitors and Protease Inhibitors (PI) used as the base (Reitz & Gallo, 2015). The NRTIs which include abacavir, zidovudine, tenofovir and lamivudine act by preventing the reverse transcription of the virus. Nevirapin, efavirenz, and etravirine are examples of NNRTI and function by preventing reverse transcriptase through binding in the enzymes active site.

Follow-up and Conclusion

HIV patients are recommended to be under a qualified physician for further care. The follow-up is meant to counsel patients on how to avoid the spread of the infection, and educate them on the disease course, as well as efforts made that will help improve the quality of the patient’s life (Reitz & Gallo, 2015). To end with, HIV infection is a global concern and despite efforts done by several researchers, lack of an effective vaccine against the infection is still a major problem. As such, the only way to minimize the spread of the infection is through behavioural changes (Anne-Lise et al., 2015).


Anne-Lise, P., Chang, C. C. H., So-Armah, K. A., Butt, A. A., Leaf, D. A., Budoff, M., & Crane, H. M. (2015). Human immunodeficiency virus infection, cardiovascular risk factor profile and risk for acute myocardial infarction. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999), 68(2), 209.

Bennett, J. E., Dolin, R., & Blaser, M. J. (2014). Principles and practice of infectious diseases. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Greene, M., Justice, A. C., Lampiris, H. W., & Valcour, V. (2013). Management of human immunodeficiency virus infection in advanced age. Jama, 309(13), 1397-1405.

Reitz, M. S., & Gallo, R. C. (2015). Human immunodeficiency viruses. In Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases (Eighth Edition) (pp. 2054-2065).

June 06, 2023

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