HIV is shortened for Human Immunodeficiency virus and it is a
virus that primarily attacks the cells in your immune system weakening its
overall ability to combat common infections and foreign bodies. As of the
current era HIV is incurable and once it is contracted it is permanently
present within the body, however there are many suppression treatments
available that can supress the virus, if it is detected early it is possible to
still have a near normal day-to-day life, it can be detected through a variety
of methods from home sampling kits to hospital tests. Both methods can give
results immediately, but the most reliable tests take a few days to come back    HIV is
particularly hard to catch early on however as it is nearly a symptomless
affliction, most people with it experience flu like symptoms (as well as
possible joint pain muscle pain and swollen glands) 2-6 weeks after contracting
it, which only last a short while (up to two weeks), after that, a person with
HIV could be devoid of any symptoms for years. HIV is transmitted through
bodily fluids, like anal and vaginal fluids, blood, breast milk and semen. HIV
cannot survive outside host cells for long which is why it cannot be
transmitted through saliva, urine and sweat. The most common way HIV is
transmitted throughout the UK is by unprotected sex. Homosexuals are
particularly at risk of HIV as unprotected anal sex is 18 times more likely to
transmit HIV than unprotected vaginal sex. There is also a small chance of
contracting it through oral sex, though that depends on many different factors
including, who is the giver and who is the receiver and the oral health of the
giver. As HIV can be transmitted through blood it is possible for a mother to
pass the disease onto her child while it is still in the womb .As HIV is a very
versatile virus it does adapt to resist drugs very easily, this is why the
treatment for HIV involves a combination of antiretroviral drugs to reduce the
chance of the virus becoming immune to the treatment. HIV actually infects the
body by targeting immune system cells called CD4 Lymphocytes. It bids to these
CD4 cells and then enters them, once it enters the CD4 Lymphocytes it under
goes replication many times and then leaves the host cell, thereby killing it.
This process goes on and on until the number of CD4 cells drops so low that the
immune system can no longer be effective(CD4 cell count=under 200).This is when
HIV transitions to what is known as AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency
syndrome. AIDS is not normally what actually causes the death of a person
infected with it, it wears down the immune system to the point where It cannot
deal with any foreign bodies and normally another infection (like the common
cold) is contracted and the immune system is not strong enough to stop
infection and the infection kills the person.

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