HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, is a viral infection that is acquired via the exchange of body fluid; hence blood transfusions (blood screening has reduced that significantly), IV drug users, unprotected sex, etc., increases the risk of acquiring this infection.
Just as a quick break down of what this virus does, it basically destroys our CD4 T-cells, which is a type of immune cell responsible for our immune response. These cells allow our body to respond to antigens (a toxin or substance that induces a immune response), and without it, we basically are susceptible to a lot of nasty bugs. A normal CD4 T-cell level is about 500-1500, and anytime the levels get below that, people with HIV or any immunodeficiency, are susceptible to what is called opportunistic infections. They are known as opportunistic infections because it requires our immune system to reach a point of where it isn’t working at its’ optimum level, hence these infectious agents are able to take over and cause an infection, that normally wouldn’t affect someone who is immunocompotent (who can fight off an infection, effectively). HIV targets these T-cells and basically use our DNA to form their own RNA (genetic information), and then reproduces virions which leave the infected T-cell and goes off to wreck havoc on other T-cells in this person’s body.Read More »