HIV/AIDS Basics for Dummies
What is HIV?
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, in simple words it would mean that it is a virus that reproduces itself by taking over a cell in the body of its host. The virus which can affect only humans weakens the human immune system by destroying important cells that usually fight diseases and infections. Now this HIV that affects your CD-4 cells that fight diseases and infections destroys so many of such cells that over time HIV infection leads to AIDS.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is Acquired Immuno Deficiency Sndrome that you acquire only after birth, when the body’s immune system fails to work and the syndrome begins to show. Syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms of diseases rather than a single disease. The important thing to know is that Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV infection, and people at this stage of HIV have damaged immune systems, which then puts them at the risk of opportunistic infections.
Where did HIV come from?
The obvious question is that where did this HIV come from, and the answer is a fascinating one. Scientists believe that it has come from a particular kind of chimpanzee in Western Africa, and humans came in contact with it when they hunted and ate this infected lot. Even though HIV is quite a new disease, recent studies indicate that it may have transmitted from monkeys to humans as far back as the late 1800s.
Link between STD & HIV
Information presented by D.T. Fleming and J.N. Wasserheit in 1999, suggests that biological evidence exists that links STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and HIV. The research reported that the presence of STDs increases the likelihood of HIV transmission during sexual contact. Also, another study in 1992 proved that those people with HIV and an STD are more capable of transmitting their virus more than people infected with just HIV alone.
STDs in you may cause open wounds or ulcers to form in the genital area and these openings readily provide a way for HIV to enter your blood stream. You must also note that some STDs do not cause open wounds, instead just the mere presence of the STD pushes the body to increase the concentration of CD4 cells in the genital area. Unfortunately it has been found that when the concentration of CD4 cells increases in the genital area of an affected person, it gives HIV a favourable chance to target for infection.