HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus which damages and kills cells of the immune system. It attacks the T-cells, key cells of the immune system, and uses them to make copies of itself. After being infected with the virus it progressively interferes and eventually destroys the immune system's ability to fight the anti-genes. HIV may develop into the syndrome AIDS, the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is an STD - a sexually transmitted disease - and therefore most commonly it is spread through sexual contact, and the virus mainly enters the body through the penis, mouth, lining of the vagina or vulva during sexual activity. HIV can also be spread through sharing syringes or needles with someone who is infected with the virus. Even babies can have the virus spread to them if they were born to or breastfed by a mother infected with the virus (“HIV/AIDS”). HIV is most commonly spread through gay or bisexual men. It does not transmit through sweat and saliva as the virus does not survive outside the body (“Frequently Asked Questions”).
Being diagnosed with HIV does not mean that you will also be diagnosed with AIDS (Frequently Asked Questions). In many cases it takes several years before the HIV virus weakens the immune system to the point you would develop AIDS. As HIV weakens your immune system, it makes you more sensitive to all illnesses, including Tuberculosis and Salmonellosis (“Complications”). HIV sometimes causes infertility, meaning you are not able to get pregnant/have a baby. If treatments are started almost immediately after diagnosis of HIV, chances are much higher that it won’t progress into AIDS. AIDS is life-threatening, and without treatment it is fatal within 3 years. AIDS and HIV become a big obstacle in the daily lives of those affected by it. Many living with HIV are often believed to deserve their status as a result of their doing something wrong. This often leads to them being treated differently and badly. Often, they get the denial of education for HIV positive children, the denial of equal opportunities for employment and the lack of access to equal health care.
HIV is a virus that is spread almost all over the world. Although in some places health care isn’t as developed and therefore it spreads more in those regions. Sub-Saharan Africa holds more than 70%, 25 million, of all HIV positive people in the world. Second highest is Eastern Europe together with Central Asia with 1.3 million. It is spread over most of the world, including Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Central and South America, North Africa and the Middle East and Western and Central Europe (“The Regional Picture”).
Currently, there are no vaccines and no cures for HIV or AIDS, although scientists are researching and finding new drugs and treatments. So far, scientists have discovered a variety of drugs and medication that can be used to control and slow the virus and the progression of the disease. There are some drugs which...