Human Immunodeficiency Virus – What is HIV?
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that destroys the immune system of the body which makes it helpless to ward off serious infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. It is also the virus that eventually progresses to AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Even if an HIV infection could progress to AIDS, it is important to establish that they are not the same. There are many people diagnosed as HIV positive that lived for a long time without progressing to AIDS.
The CD4 cells are the ‘defenders’ of our bodies that help us maintain good health, which the HIV virus attacks once it has entered it. The rapid replication of the HIV virus takes over the immune system of the body and weakens it, making it vulnerable to all kinds of infections. Even if there is no cure for HIV, medical advances have developed medications that stop the virus from replicating itself to allow time for the immune system to regain health.
The best way to understand more about HIV is to know how the infection is transmitted or how it is not. This knowledge will help you know the ways to prevent from getting the infection.
These are the ways that HIV can be transmitted:
- Infected blood through blood transfusions
- Infected mother to child during childbirth
- Razor or needle sharing
- Using infected breast milk to feed a baby
- Unsafe sex practices that do not use protective barriers
These are the ways that HIV cannot be transmitted:
- Voodoo magic
- Sharing with an infected person his or her eating utensils or drinking glasses
- Bite from a dog
- Using a toilet seat that has been used by an HIV-infected person
- Bites from a mosquito
- Shaking hands or hugging an HIV-infected person
An HIV-infected individual still has a chance to live a long and healthy life. The HIV positive person has the power to think positive and make the right choice to lead a healthy life and here are the ways to do it:
- Visit the doctor for regular check-ups or consultation and always stick to the medication schedule and requirement.
- Eat more foods that help restore health back to the immune system such as fruits and vegetables.
- Make lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
- Make the mind alert and sharp by sleeping 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
- Seek out the company of your friends and make new ones as well. A close family member will also work better. This relationship can help tide you over rough times when you feel discouraged about your situation.
- Keep busy with a favorite sport or hobby such as listening to music, reading a great book or hanging out with friends.
- Set goals by finishing your studies if you have not done so. If you have, enroll in another course that will help you get a good job.
- Always find time to pray. Whatever your religious beliefs may be there is only one mighty being.
Acquiring HIV should not mean the end of the world. Learn to think positive and make the most of your life. Always remember, life is a matter of choice.