What is HIV/AIDS?

Volume 1, Issue 3



HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) is a retrovirus that causes AIDS by infecting helper T cells of the immune system. The most common type is HIV type 1, which is distributed worldwide, while HIV type 2 which is another type of HIV, is primarily confined to West Africa.  People who are HIV positive have been tested and found to have signs of the human immunodeficiency virus in their blood. HIV destroys part of the immune system. Specifically, it affects a type of white blood cell called the T cell. T cells are one type of "fighter" cell in the blood that help the body fight off all kinds of germs and diseases. After HIV enters the body, it piggybacks onto a T cell and works its way inside of that cell. Once inside, the virus completely takes over the T cell and uses it as a virus-making factory to make a lot of copies of itself. The newly made viruses then leave the T cell and go on to infect and destroy other healthy T cells as they continue to multiply inside the body. T cells invaded by the virus can no longer properly fight infections.


Eventually, after the T-Cell in the carrier's body is too low, the infection is considered AIDS. AIDS is basically a continuation of the HIV virus. AIDS makes the carrier vulnerable to any virus, disease, and bacterial infection. Effects of contracting the AIDS virus includes, chills, fever, rash, sweats (particularly at night), swollen lymph glands, weakness, and weight loss. It is advised that people who may think they havethe HIV virus that they get tested so it does not later on develop into the AIDS virus.

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