What is HIV?

HIV is an acronym which stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.”

The seat of attack of this virus is the human immune system. The white blood corpuscles which are the main agents of protection for humans against diseases are the first target. The weakening of the immune system is abrupt, it’s gradual. It takes much time before the complete immune system breaks down.

There is a general misconception about HIV and AIDS. In most of the cases, people use these terms interchangeably, but they are different from each other. HIV leads to AIDS.

AIDS is an acronym which stands for “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” If an HIV infection is left untreated for long, most likely it leads to a state of lack of immunity against infectious diseases. The result is a gradual weakening of general health, suffering, and death. The emerging trend is that it’s believed now that HIV may be a very strong reason for CANCER.

The main cause for HIV leading to AIDS is lack of proper ascertaining system. Sometimes the victim is not aware of an infection till the serious symptoms set in. In other cases, it’s the false negatives in the test results. So, it’s of utmost importance that the HIV testing is done properly, with reliable agencies.

I don’t mean to say that free STD testing is bad, but they don’t come at par with “Private STD testing.”  Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.

So, when it comes to matters of serious health concerns, it’s your turn to be decisive. Don’t take risks with your health and life.  Money is less important than health, suffering, and life. Test for STDs immediately and do all the testing at once when you go for the first time STD testing.

Facts about HIV Virus

A small and non-technical description of HIV virus.

HIV Virus diagram

It comes from the family of “Retroviridae” and  genus of “Lentivirus.” The significance of lentiviruses is that they are responsible for most of the chronic diseases. The incubation period for these viruses is very long and they cause very long duration diseases.

It’s spherical in shape measuring 120 nm in dia. The HIV virus is quite smaller than a normal “Red blood corpuscles” but larger than other viruses.

It comes with a single-stranded enveloped RNA in the genome of the virus particle. After entering into the host cell, it changes to a double-stranded DNA. The process makes it easy for the virus to flawlessly integrate into the host nucleus.

HIV 1 Virus:

After integration with the host cell, the HIV 1 does not go into incubation. It goes into a process of replication.

The method it uses is called “Transcription” in terms of genetics. This is a method of gene expression or gene change where a part of  DNA is copied into RNA by an enzyme of RNA. So, in case of HIV 1, new RNA genomes, viral proteins from the cell now become virus particles. The replication cycle starts this way.

HIV 1 is considered the most infectious and is the major killer.

HIV 2 Virus:

It is less infectious and lacks much of the killer punch of HIV 1. The reason for this is it goes into a long incubation period in the host nuclei after changing over to the double-stranded DNA and integrating with the host cell. Our immune system is not capable of detecting the presence of the HIV Virus after that. It is very poor in transmission so slow to spread.

Causes of HIV transmission

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person, vaginal, anal, oral or whatever
  • Sharing needles, syringes, other surgical instruments with an infected person
  • Tattooing, body piercing with unsafe, unsterilized puncture instruments
  • Blood transfusion with infected blood
  • Infected organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Infected mother to child during conception and delivery

HIV cannot possibly be transmitted through:

  • By casual Hugging, handshakes, and Kissing
  • Sneezing and Coughing as the virus does not travel by air
  • From Spit or tear of an infected person
  • Sharing crockery, Cutlery, and Bed Linen
  • By sharing Toilets or Showers
  • Mosquitos’ bites

HIV statistics

  1. These statistics are ever changing and in a worsening trend. In the US, the worst affected are the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) by CDC. gov.
  2. In 2008, there were 26,700 new cases of HIV infection among MSM, but in 2012 it has increased to 29,800. It’s a significant increase, about 12%.
  3. In the US, MSM represents about 4% of the total population, but they account for a staggering 78% of new HIV infections among men.
  4. 1 in every 5 infected with HIV is not aware of the infection.
  5. Every 9.5 minutes someone is getting infected with HIV.
  6. Among all ethnic groups, African Americans are the worst hit of all HIV cases in the U.S.
  7. As per Aids.gov heterosexual and injection drug users accounted for estimated 27% of new HIV infections in 2009.