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How to Stay Away from HIV and AIDS

Woman showing an unpacked condom.

HIV/AIDS is one of the world’s worst incurable diseases. In order to understand how to stay away from HIV and AIDS, you must first understand what they both are. This way, you will also understand what sort of steps you can take to avoid this horrible disease, which is still, in essence, a death sentence.

What Is HIV?
The H in HIV stands for Human.

This is because the HIV virus can only infect humans. The I stands for Immunodeficiency. The virus is designed to break down the immune system. It does this by destroying the cells that help us to fight infection and diseases. If your immune system is deficient, it cannot protect you from illness. The V stands for virus, as a virus is only able to reproduce and complete its lifecycle if it can take over a cell inside the body.

In essence, HIV is just like many other viruses. It is actually very similar to the flu virus and even the common cold. However, normally the immune system is able to remove viruses from the body. Because HIV attacks the immune system, your body is unable to get rid of the virus. It isn’t entirely clear yet to scientists just why and how this happens. What we do know, however, is that HIV can lay dormant for ages. We also know that it attacks the CD4 or T cells in the body. These cells have to be present in order to fight disease, but the HIV uses them to copy itself, after which it destroys them. Over a long period of time, HIV destroys so many of the T cells that your body is left completely defenseless. It is at this stage that the HIV changes into AIDS and more and more AIDS signs will start to appear.

What Is AIDS?
The A in AIDS stands for acquired. This means it isn’t genetic and not something you are born with. You get – acquire – it after birth. In other words, you don’t contract an AIDS infection but rather develop AIDS from a HIV infection. The I stands for immune, which describes the immune system that makes up your organs and cells. The D stands for deficiency. AIDS develops once your immune system is so deficient that it basically doesn’t work anymore. Lastly, the S stands for syndrome. AIDS, as such, isn’t a single disease but rather a syndrome that comes with a lot of different AIDS symptoms and complications.

AIDS is the final stage of the HIV virus. At this point, the disease becomes terminal in as such that the patients become susceptible to so called opportunistic infections. Only continuous medical AIDS treatment will prevent death, but even science can only do so much. Most people, however, do not die of AIDS, but rather die of one of the opportunistic infections like cancer or pneumonia.

How to Stay Away from HIV and AIDS
HIV is contracted through the transmission of blood or sperm. As such, the only HIV protection we have is to ensure we practice safe sex and stay away from contaminated blood. People who share needles, such as drug addicts, are at an increased chance of contracting the HIV infection. It was long thought that HIV was a gay disease, but it is now known that anybody is at the same risk. In fact, newly diagnosed people with a HIV infection are generally heterosexual people, both male and female. AIDS infection prevention is done by providing medicines to those who have the HIV virus.

HIV and AIDS Cure
At present, there is no HIV cure or AIDS cure. Medicine has been developed to help the body produce new T cells, which keeps of the development of AIDS. However, this is not a cure. There is, therefore, a bigger focus on HIV infection prevention and AIDS infection prevention. It is hoped that if there are no new cases of HIV and those who are infected practice safe sex or abstinence, the disease may die out. One person, however, has been cured of AIDS. He fell ill with leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant after having had all of his own blood cleaned out and replaced. He has now been free from both HIV and AIDS for five years.

Unfortunately, these results have not been able to have been replicated as of yet. The AIDS facts, at present, are that there is no AIDS cure or HIV cure and that the disease is terminal. HIV treatment may postpone the inevitable, but it will never be more than a stay of execution.

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