HIV Full Form is Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV belongs to the retrovirus group which reproduces in the host cell and causes AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a condition in which the immune system of the human body is severely weakened and the body is left vulnerable for the opportunistic infections to thrive.
The name HIV is probably derived because; H – It only affects Humans, I – It weakens the immune system and destroys all the vital cells that are meant to fight infections and diseases, V – It is a virus that reproduces along with the cell, as it takes over the cell in the host’s body. The danger about HIV is that it does not reveal itself for prolonged period until it attacks the immune system cells like CD4 and T-cells. It is a common misconception that every individual who has an HIV is invariably affected by AIDS.
If detected in early stages HIV can be controlled by a therapy called ART or Antiretroviral Therapy and can avoid AIDS. However, scientists are yet to come up with an effective solution for HIV.It is a well-known fact that to lead a healthy life one needs to have a healthy body. Thus in order to be strong enough to ward off all diseases, our immune system should be sound with an adequate amount of healthy white blood cells.
HIV Full Form – Additional Information
As the term suggests, it is a virus that weakens the human immune system and thus, the body becomes susceptible to many diseases. In our body, there are white and red blood cells. The white blood cells are responsible for prevention of diseases and protecting the body from viral attacks. However, if the cells themselves become weak due to external attack from viruses, then it loses the power to fight and protect.
There are white blood cells known as CD4+ which are the main factors of the body defense system. It is when they are infected and destroyed in large numbers that the person is said to have contracted HIV. The virus, as well as the infection, is known as HIV.
Till date, there is no total cure found for HIV. However, if detected early, it can be treated and controlled thus enabling the infected person to lead a healthy and longer life. HIV is the beginning stage of diminishing immunity. Nonetheless, if it is undetected and untreated then it can enter its advanced stage that may prove fatal on most occasions. This is known as AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
HIV may trigger the beginning of the weakening condition. However, AIDS seals the condition as being totally surrendering to the immunodeficiency virus. HIV / AIDS break the body defense system barrier and hence the person can easily contract diseases and fall prey to serious ailments like cancer, etc.
What are the causes of HIV?
One should know for sure that HIV or AIDS is not transmitted through general physical contact like a handshake, hugging, etc. It is neither passed on by kissing or sharing food and drink with an infected person. HIV cannot survive externally so there is no risk of acquiring it by coming in contact with an infected person. When we say “coming in contact” it means casually interacting with the patient. However, if a healthy person has unprotected sex – anal or vaginal – with an infected person then the virus gets transmitted easily.
Some common causes of HIV:
- A healthy person has sex without using a condom with an HIV infected person. It can be either anal or vaginal sex.
- A syringe is used for injection with the same needle that was used to inject an HIV infected person.
- A hiv-infected woman can pass on the virus to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth or even breastfeeding.
Other than this, HIV is not transmitted through general physical contact, saliva, sweat or urine. On greater occasions it is a sexually transmitted disease. With proper precaution, this can be averted. Many people shy away from HIV patients, assuming that the infection can spread through coming in contact with the patient. This myth needs to be broken and people should be properly educated on this matter.
Knowing more about HIV
- HIV is mainly of two types. HIV-1 is the commonly occurring one all over the world. Whereas HIV-2 has selected cases in India and Europe but is predominantly found in Western Africa.
- Contrary to the assumptions that the infection can spread through sweat, saliva and urine the main carriers of this virus are body fluids like semen, vaginal discharge, blood, anal fluids and mother’s breast milk.
- HIV is incurable but can be controlled by medication and proper treatment.
- Timely control of HIV can prevent the dreaded advanced stage of AIDS where there is little hope of recovery or survival.
- Prevention is better than cure. It is better to be safe than sorry, so do not risk life with unprotected sex.
- Since on major occasions, it is sexually transmitted disease, it is better to refrain from intimacy with the wife if a person is infected with the virus, as the same will then get passed on to the wife as well as the conceived child.
- Blood donation is a noble gesture. However, it is essential to get tested for HIV before donating blood because during blood transfusion if the blood used is that of an infected person then the healthy blood patient stands the risk of getting infected.
Dealing with HIV
The revelation that a person is infected with HIV can be very traumatic, more so because there is no permanent cure for it as yet. After learning about the condition the patient feels that his/her life is slowly slipping away. There is no need to lose hope since this is the primary stage and has not reached the final stage of AIDS. A visit to the health care centre and a prompt start to the treatment can help keep the condition in check and lowers the risk of the virus spreading and causing more damage to the body and health.
Living with a positive attitude helps and remember that there are others in the world suffering from this condition too. Meeting and talking to similar condition people gives moral strength and an insight into how the others are dealing with the situation. In difficult times, support from family and friends is equally important. Nonetheless, the doctors and healthcare workers are the main people who guide the patient through the recovery process.
Another way of dealing with HIV is bringing about some change in the diet and exercising regimen. Healthy eating and regular exercises help in boosting the efficiency of the antiretroviral treatment. Only physical wellbeing is not sufficient. A healthy body with a healthy and positive mind works wonders to fight against any adversities.
Care and Precautions
HIV makes your immune system weak and thus you become susceptible to any diseases. The most common that is associated with HIV is Tuberculosis. It is advisable to have periodic check up to be warned of any diseases that may have taken control of the body. Timely detection can help in curing the condition and even help in controlling the HIV.
Since it is a known fact that unprotected sex causes the most damage, it is better to take all necessary precautions. Nothing is more precious than life, so take utmost care of it and live a healthy and happy life. There are over a million people in the world who get infected with this virus. Hence, there is nothing to be ashamed or scared of. In fact, reach out to people with similar condition and exchange note on how to bring about positive changes and relief in life.
After sensing the presence of the virus, if a person tries to keep it to himself then it is a wrong step indeed. This will only cause more damage and spread the virus further instead of keeping it in check by timely doctor’s visit and treatment. HIV is a condition that should be treated as other diseases and attended to promptly.