Human Immunodeficiency Virus Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection and disease. It is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact, although it can also be spread through blood transfusions, shared needles and from mother to baby during pregnancy or birth. HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is the final stage of an untreated HIV infection. The virus has been around since at least the early 1980s and over 35 million people worldwide have died from AIDS-related illnesses since then.There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The majority of cases around the world are caused by HIV-1, which tends to be more aggressive than its counterpart. Both types of HIV work in similar ways; they enter cells in our bodies and use those cells’ machinery to produce copies of themselves before destroying them in the process. This means that over time, our immune system can become overwhelmed as it attempts to fight off these multiplying viruses this is what leads to AIDS if left untreated.Although there currently isn’t a vaccine effective enough for widespread use against either type of virus, there are treatments available that allow individuals with HIV/AIDS to lead normal lives if they adhere strictly to their regimens; these include antiviral drugs like AZT (zidovudine), 3TC (lamivudine) and FTC (emtricitabine). In addition, prevention methods such as safe sex practices should always be employed by those engaging in intimate activities with others who may be living with or at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS. Despite advancements in medicine, education and prevention strategies that have allowed us make strides towards controlling this global epidemic, there’s still much work left ahead; research into better treatments as well as a reliable vaccine remains ongoing so we can save even more lives going forward.