What is HIV?
WHAT IS HIV?
The origin of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is believed to come from a particular kind of chimpanzee in Western Africa. Recent studies indicate that HIV may have jumped from monkeys to humans as far back as the late 1800s when humans are believed to have acquired the virus from the infected monkeys. The route of transmission is believed to be contact during hunt and later consumption of the animals.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus has been and remains one of the common and deadliest viruses mostly transmitted during sexual activity. Being a virus, HIV is much like all other viruses, but more dangerous as it infects and affects the human immune system over time. While our immune system can clear most viruses out of your body, it cannot do so with HIV.
HIV can hide for long periods of time in body cells and attack key parts of our immune system- the T-cells or CD4 cells. By doing so, HIV invades the immune system cells and overtime kills them, disabling the body defense system. Reduced immune potency, the so called “immune deficiency”, then makes the human body become prone to all other infectious agents which would usually not pose a life threatening risk to the health.
The gradual destruction of the immune system cells then weakness the body and can result in AIDS- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, the full and end stage disease.
How is HIV Acquired?
HIV is found and mostly transmitted by specific human body fluids.
To the bodily fluids containing high levels of HIV belong: blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), breast milk, vaginal fluids, rectal (anal) mucous. These bodily fluids are rich on HIV virus and any entrance into another human being potentially poses the potential of infection.
Besides the aforementioned bodily fluids, other fluids and waste products such as feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit do potentially contain certain amounts of HIV which do not seem to be enough to transmit the disease, unless they have blood mixed in them and there is a significant and direct contact with them.
Healthcare workers are furthermore exposed to HIV infection if coming in contact with other potentially, and job specific, body fluids such as amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and synovial fluid.
We will discuss more about how HIV is transmitted, HIV symptoms, HIV prevention and HIV Statistics in the world in the upcoming blog posts.