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HIV virus

Understanding HIV

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What is HIV?

HIV is an ellipsis for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that provender in the human body fluids such as blood, breast milk, saliva and the sexual fluids. The virus prompts Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs). The virus targets your immune system, therefore, weakening it and weakens the way your body would fight other common viruses, fungi, germs and other assailants causing diseases.

How HIV is spread

HIV is often spread by having unprotected sex with the folk who is infected with HIV. It is also spread through unsupervised childbirth, blood transfusion, and deep kissing. The researchers have identified that a person who is HIV-positive can pass the virus within the first week of infection throughout their lifetime. Once you contact the virus, it will multiply in your blood leading to what is referred to as ‘the viral load.’ This Viral load will reduce CD4 counts in your white blood cell hence weakening the strength of these cells in fighting the HIV together with other diseases which manifest into your body. If the Virus is not properly managed and no prior treatments are accorded, it will eventually lead to AIDS.

What Are the Stages of HIV Infection?

As indicated earlier, if you don’t treat the HIV, it will advance in various stages, taking control of your immune system and develops into AIDS. These stages are; acute HIV infection, clinical latency, and finally AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Acute HIV Infection Stage

The first stage of HIV infection is the Acute HIV. This is the period of two to four weeks of infection. During this period, many folks develop symptoms which are flu-like symptoms. Other Symptoms may include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, rashes, and pain in the joints and muscles, and most likely severe headache. This stage is sometimes referred to as acute retro-viral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection. In this stage, the body is going under natural reaction to the virus. Medics advise that people who see these symptoms should seek medical attention right away since they can get the much-needed cure.

It is at this stage that a large amount of virus is produced. This virus load destroys the CD4 cells in the body. The white blood cell will respond by producing more CD4 cells, but it will not go back to the prior counts. Further, throughout this period, you are exposed to the risk of transmitting this infection to other people. Thus, you are advised to take appropriate medical steps to reduce this risk.

Clinical Latency Stage

Immediately after the acute retro-viral syndrome, the virus leads to the clinical latency stage. During this period, the virus will continue to reproduce in your body without necessarily showing any symptom. The virus may not be detected at this juncture even with the standard laboratory tests. People at this stage are still able to transmit the virus: however, the risk is significantly abridged.

AID is the last stage of HIV which severely destroys the immune system. If you are taking ART, you can live for many years without advancing into the AIDs. Those who are not on ART can still live to a maximum of 10 years. However, research shows that others may advance into AIDs faster. During the virus evolution, the viral load continues to increase leading to an ensuing diminution in the CD4 counts.

How do we prevent HIV transmission?

The perfect channel for Preventing and Controlling the transmission of HIV is by getting tested and revealing your status to the uninfected person. Using condoms for protected sex or simply abstaining is also recommended.

 

 

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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

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Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Hepatitis Types & Significance

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Hepatitis Types

Hepatitis in the inflammation of the liver and can be caused by many different conditions and illnesses. Hepatitis is caused by viruses that target the liver. There are different types of hepatitis viruses, and they can all cause acute hepatitis. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, and infections including A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis A to E are the main types that have been discovered. Hepatitis G is a recent discovery and research is still being conducted to find out if there are other hepatitis viruses out there. Hepatitis viruses multiply in the liver and prevent it from carrying out its functions. Here is an overview of the hepatitis viruses.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A causes an acute illness that rarely becomes chronic. It can easily be spread among people just like other viral infections. The virus can be spread through ingestion of water or food from places where the conditions are unsanitary. It occurs in places where the water or food is contaminated with human waste that contains the virus. It can also be spread through sharing bodily fluids and spreads fast among people who do not observe good hygiene.

There are vaccines for preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B was initially thought it only be spread through infected blood. However, it can also be spread through sexual intercourse. Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing piecing or cutting objects and also from infected mothers to their newborn babies.

Although it starts as an acute infection, hepatitis B can turn chronic and cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

There is a vaccine used for the prevention of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C initially did not have a specific cause since it was different from A and B. it is spread through sharing needles and other piercing objects, blood transfusions, needle sticks and hemodialysis. Transmission through sexual intercourse is rare. The majority of people having an acute HCV infection develop a chronic infection and can continue infecting others as long as they have the virus.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is also referred to as agent or delta virus. The reason is that the virus requires the presence of hepatitis B for it to survive and thrive. The mode of spreading is through direct contact with infected blood and also through sexual intercourse just like hepatitis B.

The virus requires the presence of hepatitis B since there is a protein HBV makes that makes HDV have the ability to multiply in the liver cells.

A combination of HBV and HDV is difficult to treat and causes rapid liver cirrhosis. Those who have both develop a chronic infection rapidly.

You can acquire the two at the same time or acquire HDV when you already have HDV.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is similar to HAV regarding symptoms and disease. However, HEV occurs mainly in Asia where it thrives in places where there is contaminated water.

Hepatitis G

Hepatitis G is similar to hepatitis C in many ways. It is abbreviated as HGV or GBV-C. It was recently discovered, and test are still being carried out for the virus. The role of the virus in causing an infection is still unclear although those who have the virus develop symptoms of Hepatitis C.

Non-infectious Hepatitis

Noninfectious hepatitis is not caused by viruses. However, this form of hepatitis can be caused by the following:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption that causes alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Bodily response to drugs or drug misuse/abuse
  • Auto immune response where the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells thinking it is a harmful object.

 

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National HIV Testing Day

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Every year, many people participate in the National HIV Testing Day, which takes place every June 27th. This is in line with the government’s HIV awareness campaign. The objective of this annual event is to identify people with HIV and educate them about various treatment procedures. This will also enable HIV patients to find community support to reduce the effect of the disease.

On the other hand, people with negative results should be aware about fighting HIV. The National HIV Testing Day is not just for HIV carriers but for all people who can make a difference.

Benefits of Participating the National HIV Testing Day

Know if You Have HIV

The ultimate benefit of participating in the National HIV Testing Day is, of course, to know whether or not you suffer from HIV. Most people usually would not initiate a move to visit a doctor for HIV diagnosis simply because it never occurs in their mind that they have HIV until they are suddenly or accidentally tested.

The National HIV Testing Day will help people find out whether or not they suffer from HIV. This will encourage not only those who suspect themselves to be carrying the disease, but also those who wish to ensure they are healthy all the time.

In the US, there an average of 45,000 people adding to the list of 1.2 million HIV patients every year. This shows that National HIV Testing Day helps discover more HIV carriers who even didn’t know they had HIV.

Know the Latest in HIV Treatments

In the past, there was virtually no treatment for HIV. Nowadays, there are a lot of medicines and procedures that can reduce the effects of the symptoms of HIV. Although there is no permanent cure yet for HIV, there are a lot of studies and research programs that are being undertaken to find the ultimate cure for HIV, and the National HIV Testing Day can be a proper way to get updates on them.

Most people think that having HIV is like the end of the world. However, if they are able to develop new technologies and treatment procedures for HIV, they will become more confident to move on with their lives and stay healthy.

Preventing HIV

The National HIV Testing Day aims to educate as many people as possible about the risk of HIV and how it can be prevented. Though some ideas about HIV prevention seem like common sense to many people, they can also serve as reminders, so they can give importance to HIV prevention.

However, there are also many people who are not even aware of the ways to prevent HIV. For instance, some people don’t know that blood transfusion may cause HIV if not handled properly. Another thing is that some people don’t know that they inherit HIV from their parents who don’t know they are suffering from such disease. The National HIV Testing Day is a chance to learn what to do in such cases.

Who Should Participate in the National HIV Testing Day?

Anyone between 13 years old and 64 years old. Male and female regardless of health conditions are encouraged to get tested. To participate, find a testing site near you or visit any organization that actively promotes HIV prevention.

Conclusion

The National HIV Testing Day is observed every year the way people observe a holiday. However, you don’t have to wait until June 27th just to get tested for HIV. You can do it anywhere it may be offered.

 

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HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

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HIV vaccine awareness day occurs every year on May 18. This is a great day to learn more about why we need an HIV vaccine, how doctors are working to prevent HIV, and to take the time to appreciate those who are working hard to make it happen.

HIV Statistics

The good news is that HIV cases are declining. From 2005-2014, the number of HIV diagnosis declined by 19%, This is most likely due to education about how HIV is contracted. Many states also have needle exchange programs, which allow intravenous drug users to exchange dirty needles for clean ones. While these programs are controversial, sharing needles is one way that HIV is contracted.

Unfortunately, HIV cases among gay men continue to rise. Homosexual males make up 2% of the American population, yet they had 67% of the HIV diagnosis in 2014. Aids cases among homosexual males rose an average of 6% in the last decade, with the biggest increases seen in minorities.

Why We Need A Vaccine

Even though cases of HIV are going down in the U.S., it’s still a big problem. It’s also a problem in countries around the world. Many of these countries don’t have access to the same preventative measures that we do in the U.S., making finding a vaccine even more important.

Since the AIDS epidemic began, over 70 million people have contracted HIV, and 35 million have died from AIDS. To put it into context, there were 15 million deaths to soldiers and 45 million civilian deaths in World War Two. That’s 60 million casualties in total, and 10 million less than the amount of people who have contracted HIV.

Hope For the Future

Scientists have been trying to come up with a vaccine for HIV for many years. However, they may be getting close to success. A new type of vaccine that is hoped to be effective for many different strains of the HIV virus is set to begin phase two human trials this year.

This vaccine works using a genetically modified form of the dead HIV virus. This is the same method that is used to create many of the vaccines that we have today, including polio, flu, and Hepatitis A.

This vaccine in combination with the cancer drug romidepsin has also allowed five people to stop taking Antiretroviral drugs. Fifteen people were given the treatment, and ten of them quickly had to go back on the antiretrovirals. However, one man has been off the drugs for seven months, suggesting the vaccine holds promise as a treatment as well as a preventative.

Prep For Now

Prep stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a pill that those in groups at high risk for contracting HIV can take daily to prevent themselves from getting the HIV virus. The pill has been shown to be up to 92% effective at preventing HIV when it is taken properly. However, it quickly loses effectiveness if it isn’t taken daily. It’s also expensive and has possible side effects. For those at risk of developing HIV, it can be a lifesaver.

The People Who Make It Happen

Scientists may come up with vaccines, but they would never get anywhere without people willing to test them. Testing these vaccines requires the participation of those who aren’t infected with HIV, and they should be appreciated for their efforts.

We are closer than ever to finding an HIV vaccine. In the meantime, we should all be aware of the things we can do to prevent the spread of this disease.

 

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