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Epidemiology Of Hiv Essay

1621 words - 7 pages

Epidemiology Paper: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Grand Canyon University: NRS-427V

Epidemiology Paper: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human immunodeficiency virus is a retrovirus that originates from West Africa. Chimpanzees in West Africa that were infected with a similar virus, simian immunodeficiency virus, were hunted by humans and their meat was harvested and eaten (CDC, 2014). During this process, humans that were exposed to their blood or ate their meat, were exposed to this same virus. The simian immunodeficiency virus mutated over time becoming the human immunodeficiency virus. Scientists believe this transmission from chimpanzees to humans has been occurring since the ...view middle of the document...

Symptoms of HIV vary from person to person, many individuals infected with HIV do not have any symptoms until the virus progresses to AIDS, which can be greater than 10 years. However, many individuals do experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Some of the early stage symptoms include flu-like symptoms and often patients describe this as the worst flu they have ever had. These symptoms can also be referred to as acute retroviral syndrome, or primary HIV infection, and are the body’s natural reaction to the invasion of the virus. These symptoms can include high fever, swollen glands, sore throat, rash, fatigue, muscle and joint aches and pains, and headaches. In the past, the test for HIV only tested for the antibodies. The tests could not detect the virus in this early stage due to the body not yet producing antibodies to detect the virus. In 2013, a new HIV test was released that can now detect the virus in the early stages, thus making it important for physicians and care providers to know if the patient feels he has had a recent exposure or not. After the early stages, the virus then develops into the latency stage in which the virus continues to mature and coexist in the host without displaying any symptoms at all. This stage is also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection. During this stage the virus is still active but reproduces at a very slow rate, and can still be transmitted from person to person. An individual that is being treated with antiretroviral therapy can live a normal life in this stage for many decades. Individuals not on antiretroviral therapy can usually live in this stage for an average of 10 years before the HIV develops into AIDS. Symptoms of HIV in the late stages while it is progressing to AIDS are often severe and can include rapid weight loss, night sweats, reoccurring fever, extreme unexplained tiredness, swelling of the lymph nodes in the groins, axilla, and/or neck that will not go away, sores in the mouth, anus, or genitalia, persistent diarrhea, pneumonia, or blotches under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, eyelids that can be pink, red, brown, or purplish in color, memory loss, depression or other neurologic disorders. Symptoms in this late stage can be attributed to opportunistic infections due to the inability of the immune system to function in a normal capacity.
Treatment of HIV includes an intense and strict regimen of antiretroviral therapy. There are currently 5 different classes of HIV drugs available to patients, each different drug can attack the virus at different stages of its lifecycle. Most patients take a cocktail of three drugs from two different classes to help keep the virus latent. Taking more than one class of drug also helps to keep the virus from developing a resistance to any one certain drug. Along with drug therapy, several factors involve treatment of a person infected with HIV including, attending regular doctor’s visits, avoiding alcohol and drug use,...

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