The long incubation period has earned the HIV/AIDS disease the sobriquet of being called the ‘silent epidemic’. It is because an individual could be infected with the disease for many years without showing any signs and symptoms. It is precisely why an infected person can infect another person since he or she is not aware that he or she has HIV/AIDS.
There are different phases that can divide the infection of HIV. The phases may be different from each other but in most cases, discerning their differences could be difficult. The various complications that may take place in the immune system of a person are determined by the state of health of the infected individual.
The benefit of antiretroviral therapy which allows an infected individual to live for a lot of years has categorized HIV/AIDS as a chronic disease. The symptoms of HIV/AIDS are very difficult to
determine, but there are common ones that usually appear to individuals infected by HIV/AIDS:
- Oral thrush caused by a yeast infection called Candida albicans
- A rare form of skin cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Recurring Herpes infections
- Fever with no known cause
- Mycobacterium avium infection
- Dry persistent cough
- Gut or retinal cytomegalovirus infection
- Unexplained Weight loss. Once the immune system has been affected, infected individuals lose weight as the disease progresses.
- Pneumocystis pneumonia
- Extreme fatigue. Affected immune systems bring on extreme fatigue to most patients afflicted with the HIV/AIDS infection.
- Cerebral toxoplasmosis
- Skin infections that are bacterial in nature
- Night sweats
- Major complications due to the entry of opportunistic infections even from normally harmless ones
The infected individual may deceive everyone as he or she may look and remain in the best health for a long period without showing any symptoms even when the virus inside the body is already devastating his or her immune system. This is why HIV/AIDS is viewed by the medical group as a very deceiving and traitorous disease. It is also the reason why early diagnosis is difficult to make. There are numerous cases when it is at the terminal stage when patients can be accurately diagnosed which by this time the damage to the immune system is already very extensive that not even a partial treatment can repair it.
With the characterization that the HIV/AIDS has, it is extremely important for the public to be aware of it and the ways to prevent being infected with it. The traitorous nature of the infection where an individual is not even aware that he or she is already infected is the very thing that makes HIV/AIDS highly contagious and difficult to contain. Information of the disease needs to be widely spread more so to third world countries where the infection is most rampant.
In the light of the devastating effects that an HIV/AIDS could do to the immune system of a human body, the best way that this could be prevented from getting infected is to be vigilant at all times.Read More
HIV Eradication is the goal name from the numerous research findings that brings closer a cure for HIV/AIDS. Zinc finger nucleases or ZFNs and gene therapy are the explored avenues to find out if people infected with AIDS can be cured. A patient with the AIDS virus was deemed cured of the infection when a bone marrow transplant was received from a donor that had a chromosomal deletion resistant to HIV. It is this idea that has encouraged the pursuit of gene therapy as a means to a cure. It is hoped by medical practitioners that even if the gene therapy cannot completely eradicate AIDS, the disease can be stabilized to a certain point where the infected individual doesn’t have to be dependent on medicines.
As in the case of ZFN, it is seen as a disruption process in the CD4 cells’ co-receptor of the HIV virus which will stop it from infecting the cells. The following hypothesis should be answered by the research in their attempt to use ZFN: Will modifying the CD4 cells of an HIV patient lead to future HIV-resistant cells? This particular avenue has interested researchers because of the presence of actual people who have immunity towards HIV. It has been discovered that around 2% of those having a lineage from Northern Europe display a CCR5 receptor gene deletion that has made most of them almost immune to infection from an HIV virus.
To test this theory out, donor cells were taken from a person with this unique genetic mutation and used as a stem cell transplant to an HIV patient that was also sick with leukemia. A stem cell transplant is the usual procedure for patients that are sick with leukemia, but it was the HIV of this particular patient that interest was focused on. It was successfully done because that stem cell transplant cured that HIV positive patient of the infection. After several years, the patient was tested again and still showed to be free from HIV. This astounding discovery never made it big. Only a handful of people know about this medical miracle.
The most remarkable breakthrough in the field of science is the HIV gene therapy that can eventually lead to a functional cure to an HIV infection very soon. The exploration of a unique genetic mutation possessed by a tiny population in the entire world which can finally pave the way for an HIV cure that could totally eradicate this deadly virus would be the greatest news for all mankind.
Yet, despite this wonderful news that gives hope to millions of HIV positive people, more tests, experiments, and research has to be done before it could be declared safe, reliable, and affordable to all afflicted people coming from all walks of life. Research and tests do not come cheap and the only thing that could stop this promising breakthrough, the first to happen in a long quest for an HIV cure would be the needed funding. It will be an opportunity lost if financial support for this is not forthcoming.Read More