HIV Research Paper

Submitted By eherna32
Words: 801
Pages: 4

Human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV, is a virus that attacks the cells that fight disease and infection, T-cells or CD4 cells, and weakens the immune system. HIV uses these cells to make copies of itself and then destroys them. After it has destroy so many of them, the immune system can no longer fight disease and infection and leads to the last stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome also known as AIDS. Although the most common way of getting HIV is through sexual contact, you can also contract HIV through needle sharing, childbirth, breastfeeding, blood transfusion, and organ transplant. In order to get HIV body fluids must come into contact with mucous membrane or open wounds. The chances of a mother who is HIV positive transmitting the virus to her child only range from 15 to 45% but researchers are working on drug-regimen to cure infants from the virus. As stated in an article by Scientific American, the infant must start treatment within 48 hours of being born. It all started with the “Mississippi baby” that was put in the treatment until 18 months and even at age three, he still showed no symptoms of HIV. Researchers plan to conduct study with 54 HIV positive infants who will be given three-drug regimen and augmented with a fourth drug weeks after birth. These babies will be separated into two separate groups: babies that will be formula fed and babies that are breastfed from mothers that are also receiving antiretroviral treatment. Researchers hope to learn if babies are born free of viral reservoirs or if infected babies have viral reservoirs that are easier to eliminate. Once a person has been exposed it is possible that he/she will not experience any symptoms since symptoms usually vary by stage and person. This is why no one should rely on symptoms to determine their HIV status. During the early stage, usually 2-4 weeks after infection, a person can experience flu-like symptoms that include fever, swollen glands, sore throat, rash, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches. After the early stage, you move into the clinical latency stage, during this stage HIV progresses slowly and no symptoms are present. If no medication is being taken, HIV will lead to AIDS and the infected person will experience rapid weight loss, tiredness, pneumonia, memory loss, and skin blotches among other symptoms. Like I mentioned earlier, because symptoms are not reliable, the only way to find out if a person has HIV is if they get tested. HIV testing is recommended to be performed at least once a year when going for routine check-up and should be done every 3-6 months if engaged in risky behaviors. HIV testing is strongly recommended during first trimester of pregnancy. Different tests are available although antibody tests are the most common. Antibody tests use blood, urine, or oral fluids to detect HIV antibodies. If you test positive for test another form of testing must be perform to confirm result. The other two type of tests are antigen tests and PCR test, they both use blood samples. HIV testing can be performed in hospitals, medical clinics, substance abuse treatment programs, etc. One of the problems with testing is that although it is available almost everywhere, substance abuse treatment services testing has declined over