How Does Hiv Affect The Body
The human immune system involves many types of cells which guard against germs responsible for most diseases. The immune system’s most important guard cells are B-cells and T-cells, which are special white blood cells. B-cells and T-cells cooperate to fight any germ that attacks the human body.
B-cells produce particular proteins, called antibodies, that try to neutralize the invading germ. After a person recovers from an infection, these antibodies continue to circulate in the bloodstream, acting as part of the immune system’s “memory.” Immune system memory explains why a person rarely suffers a second attack from an infectious disease such as measles. If the same germ is encountered again, the antibodies will recognize and neutralize it. T-cells attack the germ directly and try to kill it.
What Is An Hiv Viral Load
A viral load test counts the number of HIV particles in a sample of blood. The result is expressed as the number of copies of HIV RNA per ml of blood. It is now generally accepted that 10,000 copies per ml or less, is considered low and 50,000 copies per ml and above, is considered high.
There are several tests that measure the amount of HIV particles present in the blood, although the tests become unreliable at low levels of infection. Originally this limit was less than 400 or 500 copies per ml. New ultra-sensitive tests are now able to measure to a lower limit of 50 copies per ml and these may become the tests that are more widely used. Depending on the test used, a measurement below the limit of detection may be referred to as undetectable.
The test for viral load is one of the monitoring tests that can indicate disease progression and may give an indication as to the likely course of HIV infection if left untreated. It is generally accepted that a higher viral load may lead to more rapid disease progression. Other indicators such as CD4+ count and symptoms should also be considered when deciding to take treatment.
Hiv Hides In Immune System Cells Resistant To Killer T Cells
Dr. Brad Jones. Credit: John Abbott
Scientists have known for years that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is difficult to cure because it hides from the bodys immune system. Research now reveals that the virus conceals itself in lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that are intrinsically hard to kill because they are resistant to killer T cells, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.
The resistance of these cells might be one aspect of HIV that weve missed in our efforts to cure infection, said Dr. Brad Jones, an associate professor of immunology in medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine and senior author of the paper published April 13 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
About 1.1 million people in the United States currently have HIV, and 38,000 new infections occur each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While antiretroviral medications can suppress the virus for life, making HIV a manageable chronic condition, what remains to be done is to actually cure infection, Dr. Jones said.
In their new research, Dr. Jones and his colleagues have discovered that the virus not only hides. It also endures in reservoir cells because they have developed resistance to being eliminated by killer T cells, which are produced by the bodys immune system and target and destroy cells infected by HIV and other viruses.
Dr. Yanqin Ren
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How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they wont work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive persons CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
How A Weak Immune System Affects Your Skin
For some people with HIV, skin conditions are one of the most obvious signs of infection. Skin conditions can appear in the earliest stage of HIV, but may increase in frequency as the disease progresses.
HIV weakens your immune system, so your body is more likely to develop infection since it cant fight disease effectively. Common skin conditions that people with HIV experience include:
- Bacterial infections
- Inflammatory dermatitis
- Skin cancer
Inflammatory dermatitis can take many forms, and its common for people with HIV. Dermatitis can appear like areas of dry skin or red and itchy patches. Some examples of skin infections that people with HIV may contract include syphilis, oral thrush, and shingles.
Another condition that can develop if you have HIV is lipodystrophy. HIV can cause fat distribution in the body to change, resulting in fat loss around the face or fat buildup between the shoulder blades or elsewhere.
Taking antiretroviral medications for HIV generally helps reduce the number of skin conditions that people with HIV develop. Along with taking medication, getting regular skin exams and seeking treatment for specific skin conditions can help them from getting worse. For patients bothered by fat loss from HIV lipodystrophy, Sculptra® Aesthetic at Z-Roc Dermatology is an injectable filler to fill contours and improve your appearance.
Trust our team for all your skin care needs. Make an appointment at Z-Roc Dermatology online or call our office today.
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How Long Does It Take To Develop The Disease
There is no fixed period between the first contact with HIV and the development of the disease. Signs and symptoms resulting from infection with HIV develop in stages. Many infected individuals may have no symptoms for several years. But others may develop symptoms within three years from the time of infection.
Symptoms of HIV infection are fever, swollen lymph glands in the neck and armpits, sweating, aches, fatigue, unexplained weight loss and diarrhea.
Within eight years, about 50 percent of all infected people develop specific conditions categorized as AIDS. These conditions include a lung disease called “pneumocystis carinii pneumonia,” skin tumours called “Kaposi’s sarcoma,” fungal and viral infections such as candidiasis and herpes zoster, and severe diarrhea.
Some AIDS patients also suffer from dementia resulting in problems with memory and thinking. AIDS patients are prone to various infections of the brain, just as they suffer from an unusually high number of cancers, bacterial and viral infections of other parts of the body.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there any sure way to avoid acquiring HIV?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- How can I avoid getting any infections that will make me very sick?
- How can I find support groups in my community?
- What diagnostic tests will you run?
- How often will I need to see my doctor?
- Will there be any side effects to my treatment?
- How does this affect my plans for having a family?
- Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby?
- Will using a condom keep my sex partners from acquiring HIV?
- Should I follow a special diet?
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What Is The Connection Between The Hiv Life Cycle And Hiv Medicines
Antiretroviral therapy is the use of a combination of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day. HIV medicines protect the immune system by blocking HIV at different stages of the HIV life cycle. HIV medicines are grouped into different drug classes according to how they fight HIV. Each class of drugs is designed to target a specific step in the HIV life cycle.
Because an HIV treatment regimen includes HIV medicines from at least two different HIV drug classes, ART is very effective at preventing HIV from multiplying. Having less HIV in the body protects the immune system and prevents HIV from advancing to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome .
ART cannot cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission .
What Are The Seven Stages Of The Hiv Life Cycle
To understand each stage in the HIV life cycle, it helps to first imagine what HIV looks like.
Now, follow each stage in the HIV life cycle as HIV attacks a CD4 cell and uses the machinery of the cell to multiply.
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How Do People Get Hiv
HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
How Does Chronic Hiv Affect The Body
The chronic HIV stage is known as the latent or asymptomatic stage. During this stage, a person usually wont have as many symptoms as they did during the acute phase. This is because the virus doesnt multiply as quickly.
However, a person can still transmit HIV if the virus is left untreated and they continue to have a detectable viral load. Without treatment, the chronic HIV stage can last for many years before advancing to AIDS.
Advances in antiretroviral treatments have significantly improved the outlook for people living with HIV. With proper treatment, many people who are HIV-positive are able to achieve viral suppression and live long, healthy lives. Learn more about HIV and life expectancy.
A normal CD4 count ranges from approximately 500 to 1,600 cells per cubic millimeter of blood in healthy adults, according to HIV.gov.
A person receives an AIDS diagnosis when they have a CD4 count of fewer than 200 cells/mm3.
The survival rate for people with AIDS varies depending on treatment and other factors.
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Hiv Weakens Your Immune System
HIV attacks your white blood cells. White blood cells are the cells in your body that fight infection and keep you healthy. If you have HIV, your white blood cell count gets low and your body cant fight infection effectively.
HIV generally has three stages. The first stage is an acute HIV infection. Symptoms develop two to four weeks after infection occurs, and can appear like the flu. During the first stage, theres a high amount of the HIV virus in your blood and the virus is very contagious.
The second stage is HIV inactivity. This stage can last anywhere from 10 years to several decades if youre taking medicine to treat HIV. There may not be many symptoms during this stage, but you can still transmit the disease to others.
Stage three of HIV is AIDS. People with AIDS have extremely weakened immune systems and suffer an increasing number of illnesses and infections.
If left untreated, HIV can progress quickly and develop into AIDS in just a few years. There are a number of medications that can slow the progression of HIV, improving your health and quality of life for many years.
How Does Hiv Affect Your Skin
Human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that compromises a persons immune system. Its spread through unprotected sexual contact with someone who has HIV or through contact with infected blood.
HIV can lead to AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. With a weakened immune system, your body is at higher risk for serious infections, illnesses, and certain cancers.
Unfortunately, HIV cant be cured. If you contract the virus, youll have it for the rest of your life. But the good news is that HIV can be treated to slow progression and prevent AIDS. When treated early and consistently, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives.
An important element of HIV care is skin care. Your skin is your largest organ, and an estimated 90% of people living with HIV will have an HIV-related skin condition at some point.
If you have HIV, find expert skin care at Z-Roc Dermatology in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Khongruk Wongkittiroch, DO and Matthew Zarraga, DO offer compassionate, effective diagnosis and treatment for sores, lesions, skin cancer, and more. In the meantime, here is some helpful information about HIV and how it affects your skin.
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How Is Aids Diagnosed
When you have HIV, your doctor will monitor your CD4 count by ordering a blood test. A healthy CD4 count ranges from 500 to 1,600 CD4 cells. The lower your CD4 count, the less your body can fight infection. If your CD4 count drops below 200, your doctor may diagnose you with AIDS. Many times, you will also already have an infection or pneumonia due to the low number of CD4 cells.
When Is Drug Therapy Necessary
The decision to start ARVs should always be made in consultation with a doctor. There are various guidelines worldwide as to when to start therapy. A consistent CD4+ count that is recorded at below 350, is considered low and should be monitored on a regular basis. At levels of 200250, an individual is at serious risk of opportunistic infections and a doctor may also recommend that antibiotics be taken to prevent PJP . Therapy should definitely be initiated at any CD4+ count below 350.
In South Africa, in accordance with best practice around HIV treatment, ARV treatment begins from the moment a person tests positive for HIV.
Once therapy is started, the CD4+ count may start to rise, which could reflect an improvement in immune function and the bodys ability to fight infections. Once the CD4+ count rises above 350 and is maintained above this level, your body is better equipped to fight infections.
Regular monitoring of CD4+ count and a rise in viral load helps to determine whether ARV treatment is working. As long as the trend is upward or stable, then there is a positive indication of the effectiveness of the treatment. A consistent fall in CD4+ count may indicate that the treatment is becoming less effective. Importantly, any decision to change treatment should be taken in conjunction with a viral load test. Once therapy has started, it is normally recommended that CD4+ counts be done every 6 months .
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What Does Hiv Do To The Immune System
The term HIV is often synonymously used with AIDS. However, it is important to understand the distinctions between these medical terms. Sadly, many people are quite unfamiliar with the symptoms of HIV, how HIV is transmitted, and the progression of HIV to AIDS. This lack of knowledge puts them at a high risk of HIV transmission.
First, lets explain what HIV is.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is transmitted from one person to another through bodily fluids such as semen, blood, or vaginal discharge. It is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex, as well as with intravenous needles, blood contamination, or a pregnant mother living with HIV can pass the virus to a baby.
People can go many years without knowing that they have HIV. In fact, it is estimated that about 1 in 7 people are HIV positive but are unaware as they have never been tested. However, over ten years or so, their immune system will become extremely compromised until they develop AIDS unless they take HIV treatment drugs.
So, how does this happen and why does HIV attack the immune system? Lets dive in.
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Antiretroviral Treatment And The Hiv Lifecycle
Antiretroviral treatment for HIV combines several different types of drugs, each of which targets a different stage in the HIV lifecycle. This means that the replication of HIV is stopped on multiple fronts, making it very effective.
If taken correctly, it keeps the immune system healthy, prevents the symptoms and illnesses associated with AIDS from developing, and means that people can enjoy long and healthy lives.
If someone doesnt take their treatment correctly or consistently , the level of HIV in their blood may increase and the drugs may no longer work. This is known as developing drug resistance.
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Hiv Effects On The Immune System
Your immune system has many types of white blood cells that fight infection. HIV gets inside a kind called CD4 cells and makes copies of itself. The virus kills the cell, and the new viruses go off to find more.
Your body responds by making more CD4 cells, but after a while, it canât keep up with the virus. This makes your immune system weak. Youâre more likely to get sick, even from common germs. Infections last longer, are more severe, and might come back more often.
If you follow your doctorâs directions with ART, it knocks out HIV, stopping it from infecting more CD4 cells and from weakening your immune system.