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Global Health Infectious Disease

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Your Full HIV/AIDS in South Africa Introduction Background Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, more commonly known as AIDS, is the disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV]. Scientists have hypothesized that HIV came from the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus [SIV], which was found in a certain type of chimpanzee in Western Africa. Scientists believed that the SIV was transmitted to the humans who hunted for food decades ago by ingestion or other modes of contact of infected meat and blood. The acquired virus then mutated inside the human body and became HIV (“Basic Information about HIV and AIDS”, cdc. gov).

As the HIV continuous to attack the immune system of the host, and develop to become AIDS, the person’s body becomes less capable to fight even the common diseases and in most cases develop certain types of cancer at the later stages of the disease (“Basic Information about HIV and AIDS, cdc. gov). Spread and Symptoms The spread of the HIV rely greatly on the exchange of bodily fluids, particularly excretions from the reproductive organs, and even the anus, during unprotected sexual intercourse, or by blood transfusion from an HIV-positive blood donor.

Needles, when shared from an HIV-positive individual, pose a high risk of infecting other persons that will be using that contaminated needle. Practices such as tattooing and having drug sessions that use syringes have high risk factors of infection. HIV is also transmitted to infants thru HIV-positive mothers, during birth and even thru breast-feeding (“Basic Information about HIV and AIDS”, cdc. gov). HIV infected persons sometimes do not feel anything at all the moment they have the virus.

The worst symptom is similar to the common flu that lasts to a maximum of two weeks. Other than this symptom, the person with HIV feels as healthy as any non-HIV individual. The onset of AIDS will be the determining factor for the HIV positive persons because of the marked susceptibility to communicable diseases, organ diseases and cancer (“Basic Information about HIV and AIDS”, cdc. gov) Diagnosis Diagnosis of HIV is done mostly using human blood as the specimen. Tests are done in a duration of days to a few weeks because the antibodies have to be given time to incubate.

HIV tests focus on the antibodies correlated to the HIV and not the virus itself. There are some tests referred to as HIV rapid tests that take only about half an hour to finish. Once a patient is found positive at the initial HIV test, a confirmatory test is required (“HIV Testing Basics for Consumers”, cdc. gov).

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