How HIV Causes AIDS
A person develops AIDS when HIV, which is a virus, weakens his immune system, disabling it to fend off diseases and infections. Find out how HIV affects one’s immune system and leads to onset of AIDS.
Most of us are aware of the fact that AIDS is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) but what we not aware is how this happens.
[Read: HIV and AIDS Symptoms]
How HIV causes AIDS
When HIV virus enters the body, it starts to destroy CD4 (Cluster of differentiation 4) T cells. CD4 cell is responsible for efficient working of human immune system. Therefore when HIV infects this cell immune system becomes weak and is not able to fight with the diseases in efficient manner. As a result person develops AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
In some of the cases people are HIV infected much before the onset of any serious symptom. Over the time level of HIV infection increases in blood, this directly decreases the CD4+ T cells.
Transmission of HIV
HIV is mostly transmitted via semen, blood and vaginal fluids of infected person. This is commonly spread through:
- unprotected sex.
- sharing needles while injecting drugs.
- from mother to baby at the time if delivery and childbirth.
- from lactating mother to her baby.
- blood transfusion and organ transplantation are also possible causes of HIV transmission. However, due to improved and advanced screening procedure HIV is rarely spread by this mean.
[Read: 10 Facts on HIV and AIDS]
Ways to Prevent and Deal with HIV infection
HIV is broadly classified as HIV type 1 and type 2. These groups are constantly growing along with the virus mutation. There is only one best way to completely prevent HIV infection and that is to completely abstain from sex and avoid intravenous drugs. Other effective ways to be safe from HIV include:
- use condoms each sexual encounter. Make sure that you use a new condom for every sexual intercourse.
- make sure that you use new needle while using intravenous drugs.
- it is never safe to relay on the promises of monogamy.
- if you are planning for pregnancy then make sure that both the partners are tested for HIV before and during pregnancy.
- pregnant women must get checked for HIV and if they discover positive result then take every measure to protect baby from the deadly virus. This can be done by taking antiretroviral drug and opting for C-section delivery.
- take prescribed antiviral medications to reduce the chance of transferring HIV infected blood to the baby.
- many researches have been conducted as an attempt to create vaccination for HIV. However, still there are frequent HIV mutations.
- antiretroviral medicines can reduce the level of HIV virus present in the body. Furthermore, it also helps to slow the destruction of the immune system by preserving CD4+ T cells.
Read more articles on HIV and AIDS Causes and Risks
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Nov 29, 2012
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