Communicable Disease Hiv Essay

1536 Words May 27th, 2016 7 Pages
June 04, 2016

Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, and if left untreated, it can develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS (AIDS, 2015). HIV is a virus that a person will have for the rest of their life, because the human body can never completely get rid of the virus (AIDS, 2015). There is currently no cure for HIV, but if properly treated, it can be controlled. HIV is caused by a virus that specifically attacks CD4 cells. These cells are responsible for the immune system. When left untreated, HIV attacks these cells, leaving the human body unable to fight off infection or cancers (AIDS, 2015). There are three stages of HIV. The
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HIV is spread via direct contact, meaning a person has to come into contact with infected body fluids from someone that has HIV. The virus is mainly spread from having unsafe sexual intercourse with another person. Having anal intercourse without a condom is the riskiest behavior, followed by vaginal intercourse without a condom. The partner on the receiving end is at highest risk for getting the virus. The sharing of intravenous drug needles is another very risky behavior and it is estimated that the virus can live in an infected needle for up to 42 days, depending on factors such as temperature (CDC, 2015). Other routes of transmission, although less common, include mother to fetus either during birth or via breast milk, health care workers being stuck with a dirty needle, oral sex, blood transfusions, and if broken skin comes into contact with the virus (CDC, 2015). The biggest complication of HIV is a weakened immune system. Once the immune system has weakened, a person infected with HIV is susceptible to other communicable disease and cancer. The final stage of HIV is AIDS and this is when the body is so weak that it gets an opportunistic infection, such as bacterial or fungal infections, and these infections can cause death. The most life threatening opportunistic infections occur when the CD4 count has fallen below 200 cell/mm3 (AIDS, 2015). Treatment for HIV has progressed over

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