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Published byLewis Allen Modified over 7 years ago
HIV & The Immune System The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a pathogen that destroys infection-fighting T-Cells in the body. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a condition that results when infection with HIV causes a breakdown of the body’s ability to fight other infections.
HIV & The Immune System (cont.) A person is infected with HIV as soon as the virus enters the blood. The virus attaches itself to helper-T cells, where it then reproduces its genetic material. HIV can then take control of the cell, produce new viral parts, and infect other cells. When the number of helper-T cells is lowered, the body has a reduced ability to fight pathogens, and infections develop.
HIV & The Immune System (cont.) A person is said to have AIDS when his or her T-Cell count reaches a certain level, when opportunistic infections and noncommunicable diseases are present, and when other symptoms develop. An opportunistic infection is one that develops in a person with a weak immune system. Opportunistic infections are difficult to treat and can cause death in people who have AIDS.
How HIV Is Spread 1.Blood 2.Vaginal secretions 3.Semen 4.Other body fluids that might contain blood (such as wound secretions) 5.Breast milk
How HIV Is NOT Spread Hugging Coughing Sharing eating utensils Sharing bathroom facilities Being bitten by an insect Using a telephone or computer Kissing Sneezing Sharing towels or brush/combs Sharing a water fountain Donating blood Swimming in a pool Using sports/gym equipment
Testing For HIV Infection Any person who feels that s/he might have been exposed to HIV should get tested immediately. Do not wait for signs or symptoms. Get to a medical professional ASAP! When a person becomes infected with HIV, HIV antibodies typically show up within 3 months after infection. Almost all people who are infected with HIV will show antibodies within 6 months.
Signs Of HIV & AIDS Infection The signs of HIV infection might appear right away or take 12 or more years to occur. These signs usually include tiredness, fever, swollen glands, rash, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. They come and go, depending on the helper T-Cell count. Even during times when there are no symptoms, HIV still continues to destroy the immune system.
Signs Of HIV & AIDS Infection (cont.) Thrush is a fungal infection of the mucous membranes of the tongue and mouth. White spots and ulcers cover the infection. Oral hairy leukoplakia is an infection in which white fuzzy patches are found on the tongue. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is a form of pneumonia in AIDS patients. Symptoms include dry cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Signs Of HIV & AIDS Infection (cont.) Kaposi’s sarcoma causes purple lesions and tumors on the skin and in the linings of the internal organs. AIDS Dementia Complex is a loss of brain function caused by HIV infection. Symptoms include forgetfulness, personality changes, and loss of coordination. The disorder worsens.
Treatment For HIV & AIDS There is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. Treatment focuses on making the immune system strong. AZT is a drug that slows the multiplication of HIV. DDI is another drug that slows the multiplication of HIV. These drugs need to be given a soon as possible after a person tests HIV-positive. By slowing the multiplication of HIV, a person will stay healthier longer.
Treatment For HIV & AIDS (cont.) Protease inhibitors are antiviral drugs that decrease the amount of HIV in the blood and increase the helper T-Cell count. Protease inhibitors are newer and more effective against HIV than some other drugs. Some people who have used them have had the amount of HIV in the blood drop to a level where it cannot be detected. Scientists are still trying to discover where the HIV “hides” during this time.
Treatment For HIV & AIDS (cont.) There are other ways to help the immune system. Some people who are infected with HIV get transfusions of healthy white blood cells. Some have bone marrow transplants. Just as important is good nutrition, reducing stress, and getting plenty of quality sleep time.
Preventing HIV Infection & AIDS Practice abstinence Choose not to use drugs Carefully choose your location for any body piercing or tattoos Avoid contact with the blood & body fluids, mucous membranes, or broken skin of another person
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