HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that is not to be taken lightly. It attacks the body’s immune system that enables us to fight off illnesses, particularly the CD4 cells in the white blood cells. It works faster when it makes copies of itself as it attacks other cells in the immune system.
The virus can be found in semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids and even breast milk. This means the virus can be transferred intravenously (through injection or intravenous means) or sexual intercourse with an infected person. Infants may acquire the disease during breastfeeding (if they are infected).
If this is not treated the soonest, it may become more difficult for a person to fight the disease and infections. The speed of the progression of HIV will depend on a personâ€™s age, background and health.
HIV is NOT AIDS!
One thing that needs to be clear â€“ HIV is NOT AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). They are not the same. AIDS is the result of HIV if left untreated and allowed to persist. It is not a virus to begin with but the advanced or last stage of HIV.
The sad truth is a cure yet to be found for HIV. However, through continual treatment, those with HIV have been able to live longer, allowing them to live normal and healthy lives.
HIV and Society
HIV (and even AIDS) does not only affect a person’s physical health, it can also affect a person’s social life. Usually, when people hear of HIV or AIDS, based on what little they know or from rumors, they tend to regard anyone suspected of having the virus with distrust to the point of avoiding them like the proverbial plague for fear of being infected by a mere touch.
Anyone with HIV is treated like a pariah which may cause depression. They are deprived of that need to belong. For some, they are forced to keep it a secret and even lie so as not to be given this stigma.
The best way to address this problem is through education. We need to eliminate any false or wrong notion people may have of HIV. It is not totally infectious and people with the virus can live longer so as long as they undergo treatment the soonest.