The Role Of Immunodeficiency Virus In West Africa

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Human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV, weakens a person’s immune system. This is caused by the virus destroying important cells, also known as CD4 cells or T cells, which fight disease and infection. HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids. Sadly, there is no cure for HIV. This virus can become deadly, but does have ways to control it. Without controlling the HIV, a persons T cells are destroyed, and the body can not fight off disease or infections.

Where did HIV come from? In West Africa, scientists identified a chimpanzee as the source for HIV. They believe the chimpanzees were killed to eat, and the humans or hunters of the animal were put into contact with infected blood. The blood was infected with simian immunodeficiency
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Without treatment of HIV, there are normally three stages of disease. The first step of HIV is called the acute stage. This occurs within the first couple of weeks, after the person is infected with HIV. In this stage, one might experience flu-like symptoms, and these usually last several weeks. This is because your body is responding to an infection. During this stage, the HIV infected person, is very contagious. The next stage of HIV is the clinical latency stage. During this time, HIV is still active, but many people do not experience symptoms. This is because the HIV is producing at low levels. Towards the end of the latency stage, the person may begin to have symptoms again. This is because the virus levels are increasing. The third stage of HIV is the Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) occurs. This can take 10 to 15 years to develop. This is the most severe stage of untreated HIV. Without treatment, the body’s immune system is badly damaged and normally are only able to live about 3 years. People that are diagnosed with AIDS have CD4 cell counts below 200 cells/mm, or they develop opportunistic illnesses. This stage is also very

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