Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Aids: the Silent Killer

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AIDS: The Silent Killer Introduction AIDS is one of the most commonly known sexually transmitted diseases. The last stages of HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, are what we know as AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is similar to other viruses like the flu or common cold except the human immune system cannot destroy the virus. The virus can hide in the cells of the body for long periods of time and attacks important parts of the immune system like T-cells or CD4 cells.

Once HIV destroys a lot of CD4 cells the human body can no longer fight against infections and diseases. AIDS is diagnosed when the body cannot fight against disease and the patient has one or more specific opportunistic infections (OIs), different types of cancer, or an extremely low number of CD4 cells. HIV lives in specific human blood and other body fluids. If those fluids enter the human blood stream then it is infected with HIV. Blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous contain high levels of HIV.

Waste products like feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, and vomit contain HIV but not enough to infect someone; unless blood is mixed with the waste products and there is direct contact with them. People can get HIV from anyone who is HIV positive or infected with the disease. 7 HIV affects most people from having sexual intercourse with an HIV positive person, sharing a needle with someone who is infected, drinking the breast milk of a HIV positive woman, or being birthed from a HIV positive woman. People used to get AIDs from injected blood donors, but now donated blood is screened for HIV. 9 Oral sex is another way people can get AIDs, but only if there are open sores in your mouth or bleeding gums. 10 Discussion HIV/AIDs did not come about until the early 1980’s. The United States was the first country to notice this different virus among homosexual males. 11 No one had any clue what this new virus was, it must have been terrifying attempting to treat an unknown disease considering you would not know how to protect yourself from the disease as well.

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In 1982, scientists discovered that AIDS remains a sexually transmitted disease. Not until 1984 did researchers conclude that AIDS is caused by HIV. 12 Although HIV has become somewhat maintainable, during the early years of the AIDs virus a vaccine seemed impossible, and with almost 30 years since the virus first budded its head there is still no vaccine. 13 As I said earlier HIV is a virus, specifically a retrovirus. Retroviruses contain RNA for their genetic material, but once someone is infected the virus uses an enzyme called transcriptase to turn RNA into DNA. 4 The virus then continues to replicate itself.

15 People usually do not realize they have HIV because it is a lentivirus and there is usually a long period of time between the time of infection and the sign of serious symptoms. 16 Animals have similar versions of HIV that have made good but not perfect models of how HIV works. 17 HIV replicates at impeccable speeds creating billions of new HIV viruses to infect the body every day. 18 The virus is able to mutate and evolve which makes it that much harder to defeat the virus. 9 The CD4 cells and T cells are destroyed daily by HIV which eventually causes the immune system to regenerate or defeat infections. 20 HIV is able to hide in the cytoplasm of the cell that it infects or makes its way into the cell’s chromosomes. 21 The virus does this to hide from the immune system so it will not be destroyed. 22 Some drugs have been found to suppress HIV but cannot get rid of it because of HIV’s ability to hide in other cells. 23 Conclusion There is currently no cure for AIDS, but there are treatments available to prolong an HIV/AIDS patient from becoming extremely ill.

The main treatment for HIV or AIDS is the antiretroviral drug. 24 This drug needs to be taken daily in order to keep HIV levels low in the body. 25 Patients usually use combination therapy, taking two or more antiretroviral drugs, so that HIV does not become immune to the drug. 26 AIDS is a very deadly syndrome derived from an evil virus. HIV/AIDS is a powerful silent killer. Everyone should be tested for HIV because that is the only way to find out if you have the virus.

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Aids: the Silent Killer. (2018, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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