Hiv Takes Control Of T Cells
Once inside the cell, the capsid dissolves, liberating the viral RNA and the reverse transcriptase. Now, in order to infect the cell, the viral RNA needs to travel into the T cell’s nucleus . However, for that to happen, an important transformation needs to take place.
Normally, the T cell’s nucleus communicates with the rest of the cell by transforming DNA into RNA and sending it out of the nucleus. The genetic material’s passport to leave the nucleus is to be transformed into single-stranded RNA. In the same fashion, the passport to enter the nucleus is to be transformed into double-stranded DNA.
Viral RNA needs to become DNA in order to start the replication process. Reverse transcriptase allows the RNA to borrow material from the cell and to “write backwards” a chain of viral DNA.
HIV is considered a retrovirus because of its capacity to transform RNA into DNA, reversing the natural process that takes place in cells. This is accomplished by the reverse transcriptase. Retroviruses are a special family of viruses to which only a few known viruses belong .
Hiv And Mental Health
Receiving a diagnosis of HIV and living with the condition can have significant effects on a persons mental health.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people living with HIV are twice as likely to have depression than those without HIV. They are also at a higher risk for mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders.
There are specific sources of stress relating to the condition, such as having to find and manage medical support, managing the lifelong use of medications, and dealing with the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV.
Some antiretroviral drugs may also cause mental health side effects, such as anxiety.
Many mental health problems are treatable. Talking therapies, medications, and social support can all help.
The CDC provide a list of services that can help people manage the stigma and discrimination linked with HIV and receive additional support.
For more information about where to find support when living with HIV, people can visit the HIV.gov website.
How Has Testing An Important Covid
HIV testing is critical becauseas with COVID-19many people who have the virus dont know it. An estimated 14% of people with HIV in the U.S. are not aware they have it. Symptoms arent always a tip-off, since about a third of newly infected people dont develop symptoms but are still able to transmit it to others.
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended offering HIV tests to anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 coming into the health care system for any reason, regardless of their background or risk factors. Dr. Barakat would go a step further. Every single person should be tested for HIVannually, if they are at higher risk, she says. High-risk groups would include those who use drugs and share needles or engage in unprotected sex.
Testing is important because once a person is diagnosed, he or she is more likely to be treated, and therefore less likely to spread the disease to others, says Dr. Virata.
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Hiv Is An Infection That Can Lead To Aids
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Its a virus that breaks down certain cells in your immune system . When HIV damages your immune system, its easier to get really sick and even die from infections that your body could normally fight off.
About 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and more than 38,000 new infections happen every year. Most people with HIV dont have any symptoms for many years and feel totally fine, so they might not even know they have it.
Once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body for life. Theres no cure for HIV, but medicines can help you stay healthy. HIV medicine lowers or even stops your chances of spreading the virus to other people. Studies show that using HIV treatment as directed can lower the amount of HIV in your blood so much that it might not even show up on a test when this happens, you cant transmit HIV through sex.Treatment is really important . Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS. But with medicine, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives and stop the spread of HIV to others.
Why Hiv Spreads Less Easily In Heterosexual Couples
HIV particles invade a human immune cell. When HIV is transmitted through sex, only the strongest versions of the virus establish long-term infection. Chris Bjornberg/ScienceSourcehide caption
HIV is sexist.
A woman is twice as likely to catch the virus from an infected partner in a heterosexual relationship than a man is.
And homosexual men are at even greater risk. They’re more than 20 times as likely to get infected from an HIV-positive partner than partners in a heterosexual relationship.
Now scientists at Microsoft Research and the Zambia-Emory HIV Project have a clue about why these disparities exist.
Only the strongest, most evolutionary “fit” versions of the virus tend to infect a man when he has sex with an HIV-positive woman, scientist report Thursday in the journal Science.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people get flu-like symptoms a month or two after they have been infected. This is called the acute stage. These symptoms often go away within a week to a month.
You can have HIV for many years before feeling ill. This is called clinical latency or the chronic stage.
AIDS is the most severe stage of HIV infection. In this stage, the immune system has been weakened by the HIV virus and is less able to fight off infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that could generally be fought off by a healthy immune system. In order to be diagnosed with AIDS, you have to have fewer than 200 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter of blood , OR you must have developed what are called opportunistic infections or certain cancers. You can develop AIDS even if your CD4 count is not 200 or lower.
Hiv And The Immune System
We know that HIV attacks the immune system, but what is a virus and why this particular virus so unique?
What is a virus?
A virus is a very small organism. Unlike other life forms they cannot replicate themselves or build new viruses within their own cores – because they do not have the machinery to do so.
They are parasites in the sense that they need to use the biochemical facilities of living cells to reproduce. Outside a living cell, a virus is nothing but inactive, lifeless and harmless chemicals. Thus, viruses need to transport their own genetic material into living cells, and to then use the machinery of the cells to make more copies of themselves.
Most viruses contain DNA in their cores , but a few viruses, called Retroviruses have RNA instead of DNA in their nuclei the only living organisms with RNA in their nuclei!
A virus consists mainly of three parts:
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How Is An Hiv Test Performed
Before taking an HIV test:
- Ask the clinic what privacy rules it follows.
- Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about HIV, AIDS, or the HIV test.
To do the HIV test, a small sample of blood is taken from your arm. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for HIV.
Home testing is available. The sample can be obtained via oral secretions , or a blood sample from a finger-stick test strip that is then mailed to a laboratory for screening. Positive results must be confirmed by your doctor before a diagnosis of HIV infection can be established.
Some clinics perform HIV tests without ever taking your name . You must go back to the clinic to get your results. A positive test means you have HIV. A negative test means no signs of HIV were found in your blood.
If your test comes back positive, your healthcare provider is likely to recommend other tests to assess your health. These may include a complete blood count , along with:
- Viral hepatitis screening.
Hiv Evolving ‘into Milder Form’
Health editor, BBC News website
HIV is evolving to become less deadly and less infectious, according to a major scientific study.
The team at the University of Oxford shows the virus is being “watered down” as it adapts to our immune systems.
It said it was taking longer for HIV infection to cause Aids and that the changes in the virus may help efforts to contain the pandemic.
Some virologists suggest the virus may eventually become “almost harmless” as it continues to evolve.
More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV and inside their bodies a devastating battle takes place between the immune system and the virus.
HIV is a master of disguise. It rapidly and effortlessly mutates to evade and adapt to the immune system.
However, every so often HIV infects someone with a particularly effective immune system.
” the virus is trapped between a rock and hard place, it can get flattened or make a change to survive and if it has to change then it will come with a cost,” said Prof Philip Goulder, from the University of Oxford.
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Effects On The Immune System
HIV primarily affects the body by targeting and damaging cells in the immune system. The immune system protects the body against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
After attaching itself to a type of white blood cell called a CD4 T cell, the virus merges with it. These T cells are an important part of the immune system.
Once inside the CD4 T cell, the virus multiplies. It damages or destroys the cell, then moves on and targets other cells.
A persons CD4 T-cell count is an indication of the health of their immune system.
A healthy CD4 T-cell count is 5001,600 cells/mm3 of blood. If a person does not receive treatment for HIV, their CD4 T-cell count drops over time.
When it drops below 200 cells/mm3, the persons immune system is significantly impaired, making them more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
Should I Get Vaccines If I Have Hiv/aids
Check with your healthcare provider. Certain vaccines are generally recommended, including:
- Influenza vaccine.
- Human papillomavirus vaccine if you are age 26 or younger.
- Meningococcal series of shots.
- Pneumonia vaccine.
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, with a repeat every 10 years of the tetanus/diphtheria vaccine.
You should probably avoid live vaccines, such as the ones for chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella . This is true especially if your CD4 numbers are 200 or lower. Make sure you discuss vaccine questions with your healthcare provider.
HIV can affect how well the vaccine works. It can also make your viral load increase for a time because your immune system is stimulated by the vaccine.
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Have You Been Able To Stop The Spread Of Infection
Yes and no, says Dr. Villanueva. In the past five to eight years, the number of newly documented infections has decreased. But we’re looking nationally at a level of almost 38,000 new infections per year, which is a lot.
A major approach to prevention is the use of PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis. This approach is based on administering drugs used to treat HIV to people who do not have HIVbut who are at a high risk for itin an effort to prevent them from contracting the virus. Different formulations are being made available, including long-acting injectables and a vaginal ring for women, and this worldwide effort is extremely important, says Dr. Villanueva.
There have been other pockets of success. Mothers-to-be who had HIV used to transmit the virus to their infants when they gave birth, says Dr. Villanueva. But a landmark trial that Yale participated in showed that giving mothers an antiretroviral medication called azidothymidine during the third trimester and delivery resulted in a marked decrease in the mother-to-newborn transmission rate in the U.S. That treatment was introduced as a standard of care here in Connecticut, with only one new case of perinatal transmission since 2008, Dr. Villanueva says.
Strategies For Preventing The Transmission Of Hiv
Condoms made of latex provide good protection against HIV , but they are not foolproof. Oil-based lubricants should not be used because they may dissolve latex, reducing the condom’s effectiveness.
Other measures can help. For men, circumcision, an inexpensive, safe procedure, reduces the risk of becoming infected during vaginal intercourse with an infected woman by about half. Whether circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in other circumstances is unclear. Because circumcision provides only partial protection against HIV infection, people should also use other measures to prevent HIV infection. For example, if either partner has a sexually transmitted disease or HIV infection, it should be treated, and condoms should be used correctly and consistently.
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Why Theres No Hiv Cure Yet
Over the past two years, the phrase HIV cure has flashed repeatedly across newspaper headlines. In March 2013, doctors from Mississippi reported that the disease had vanished in a toddler who was infected at birth. Four months later, researchers in Boston reported a similar finding in two previously HIV-positive men. All three were no longer required to take any drug treatments. The media heralded the breakthrough, and there was anxious optimism among HIV researchers. Millions of dollars of grant funds were earmarked to bring this work to more patients.
But in December 2013, the optimism evaporated. HIV had returned in both of the Boston men. Then, just this summer, researchers announced the same grim results for the child from Mississippi. The inevitable questions mounted from the baffled public. Will there ever be a cure for this disease? As a scientist researching HIV/AIDS, I can tell you theres no straightforward answer. HIV is a notoriously tricky virus, one thats eluded promising treatments before. But perhaps just as problematic is the word cure itself.
The progression from HIV infection to AIDS and eventual death occurs in over 99% of untreated casesmaking it more deadly than Ebola or the plague. Despite being identified only a few decades ago, AIDS has already killed 25 million people and currently infects another 35 million, and the World Health Organization lists it as the sixth leading cause of death worldwide.
When Should You Call The Doctor If You Have Hiv Or You Think You Have Been Exposed To Hiv
There is also post-exposure prophylaxis , which is used in emergencies and should be started within 72 hours after the possible exposure. This involves taking antiretroviral therapy after this exposure. ART may be prescribed after sexual assault, or if you think you have been exposed during consensual sex or drug-taking.
If you already know you have HIV, you should follow your healthcare providers instructions on when to call. It is important to treat any type of infection, so call if you have new symptoms or things like a fever, sweating episodes, diarrhea, and so on. Its better to check with your doctor if you have any kind of symptom that worries you.
The main feature of managing AIDS is to continue to take your medicines and to fight back at opportunistic infections at the first sign of them.
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How Does Hiv Spread
HIV can spread in different ways:
- Through unprotected sex with a person who has HIV. This is the most common way it spreads. Women may be at greater risk of being infected with HIV during sexual contact than men are. For example, vaginal tissue is fragile and can tear during sex. This can let HIV enter the body. Also, the vagina has a large surface area that can be exposed to the virus.
- Through contact with the blood of a person who has HIV
- From mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
The Science Of Hiv And Aids
- HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a pathogen that works by attacking the human immune system.
- HIV specifically targets CD4 cells, the bodys principal defenders against infection, using them to make copies of themselves.
- Antiretroviral drugs target specific stages of the HIV lifecycle to stop HIV from replicating.
Explore this page to find out more about , , and .;
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a pathogen that works by attacking the human immune system. It belongs to a class of viruses called retroviruses and more specifically, a subgroup called lentiviruses, or viruses that cause disease slowly. 1
HIV cannot replicate on its own, so in order to make new copies of itself, it must infect cells of the human immune system, called CD4 cells. CD4 cells are white blood cells that play a central role in responding to infections in the body. 2
Over time, CD4 cells are killed by HIV and the bodys ability to recognise and fight some types of infection begins to decline. If HIV is not controlled by treatment, the loss of CD4 cells leads to the development of serious illnesses, or opportunistic infections. In people with normal CD4 cell levels, these infections would be recognised and cleared by the immune system. 3
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