Hayat Ahmed an NHS Health Advocate/Clinical Haematologist supports Ms Rose Blossom education team and discusses problematic blood cells in relation to HIV/AIDS.
HIV is a virus in the group of viruses called retroviruses. The acronym stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus these viruses attack and destroy cells in the body called CD4 T cells. AIDS is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which is where the immune system is weakened causing illness and infections as a result of HIV. The term AIDS is now more known as late stage HIV because of the ART antiretroviral medication.HIV and AIDS are not the same and having HIV treatment early can prevent late stage HIV.
How do people get Infections?
Most common through:
· Sexual transmission
· Infected Blood
· Mother to Child
· Sharing needles
Problems in the body
CD4 T cells are a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) that protects the body from bacteria, germs and viruses.
There are two strands of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2 and both cause human disease. When HIV is in the body the virus attaches into the CD4 T cells. Infected cells migrate to the lymph modes for replication. The virus makes DNA to duplicate itself, the virus breaks out of the cell and the cell dies, new viruses are million fold and cells continue to die daily, whilst the body continues to create new CD4 T cells daily. Over the years the virus prevails and CD4 T cells decrease gradually thus weakening the immune system. This is when the body can develop opportunistic infections. If the immune system is weakened with low CD4 T cells it is difficult in fighting cancers. The acute phase of HIV infection occurs after 6 weeks of being infected with symptoms like fatigue, fever and headache. A small portion of HIV infected patients are asymptomatic (no symptoms), called long term non progressors and for others symptomatic disease occurs and can last up to ten years and cause AIDS,
The education message is to use condom to prevent transmission through sexual intercourse, screening of blood and sterile equipment and use of antiviral from mother to child, without breast feeding Specific anti-HIV therapy is recommended for adult patients who have an AIDS defining illness In children HIV treatment is considered for any HIV infected infant as the disease progresses faster than in older children. Seek specialist help from Consultants.
by Hayat Ahmed