March 24, 2013
Infectious Disease HIV/AIDS
“AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome and is the final stage of the infection caused by the virus called HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus causes severe damage to the immune system.” (DR Ananya Mandal). The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was identified in 1983 the pathogen responsible for the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Aids is characterized by changes in the population of T-cell lymphocytes that play a key role in the immune defense system. In the infected individual the virus causes a depletion of T-cells, called “ T-helper cells”, which leaves these patients susceptible to opportunistic infections and certain malignancies. (Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E.L. Palmer, W.R. McManus).
This is a very complicated disease and it can cause many people to become depressed and even make them sicker. People such as prostitutes and drug users are most at risk for contracting this terrible disease. Babies born to mothers with HIV especially if the mothers have not been receiving anti-HIV therapy during her pregnancy. Unprotected sex and blood transfusion can also put a person at risk. The virus is found in body fluids such as saliva, nervous system tissue, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions. Only blood, semen and breast milk have been shown to transmit infections to others. “When the body fights invaders like viruses or bacteria, or repairs injured tissues, fluid and cells get transported to the site of injury. As the body heals, the cells can swell, get warm, and become sore. One theory is that as HIV chronically infects the body, cells and tissues are destroyed and then heal, activating the immune system. That leads to an over stimulated immune system that can become burned out or weakened. So, even though a lab result may show a high CD4 count, the amount of inflammation in the body may be causing damage on a cellular level. And that can lead to heart, liver, kidney disease, and greater levels of bone loss. When people who stopped their HIV meds restarted them, levels of inflammation decreased but never became normal. There remained a residual level of inflammation.” (Donna M. Kaminski) There's no cure for HIV/AIDS, but a variety of drugs can be used in combination to control the virus. Each of the classes of anti-HIV drugs blocks the virus in different ways. It's best to combine at least three drugs from two different classes to avoid creating strains of HIV that are immune to single drugs. There are many classes of HIV drugs such as Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs),
Protease inhibitors (PIs), Entry or fusion inhibitors, Integrase inhibitors. (Mayo clinic staff) Theses are drugs that are used to basically stop the virus from making copies of itself. Although these drugs do work they cause a lot of sides affects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, abnormal heartbeats, Shortness of breath, skin rash, and weakened bones. When this happens many people look for alternative medicine. According to WebMD more than 70% of HIV-positive people have turned to alternative medicine for help. This is called “ complementary” or “integrative” medicine. Alternative medicine strengthens your immune system, provide relief from symptoms and drug side affects and improves your quality of life. This means they connect the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It is also important to know that these medicines are not FDA approved or regulated by the U.S. Government. (WebMD). They include yoga, message therapy, chiropractic, Meditations, Visualization, Herbal Medicine, and energy therapies. The Methods used to controlling the spread of HIV…