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Hiv In Africa Essay

672 words - 3 pages

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) [1]. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection when the immune system of the infected person is so critically compromised that the body can no longer defend itself against life-threatening disease. There is currently no cure for HIV but treatment options are available to help patients live a long and relatively healthy life.
HIV is spread through body fluid, specifically semen, vaginal fluid, blood and breast milk.[2] The virus mainly infect cells of the immune system such as CD4+ T cells (helper T cells), macrophages, dendritic cells and microglial cells.[3] Certain glycoproteins are present on the cell surface of HIV. These glycoprotein will adsorb to the receptor on target cells. This is followed by fusion of the viral envelope and the cell membrane of the target cell which releases the virus capsid within the viral envelope into the target cell. [4] After the virus enters, it begins to replicate at an exponential rate. It does this so rapidly that the virus count may reach several million virus particles per milliliter of blood. [5] As the virus is rapidly replicating, the number of CD4+ T cells is dropping substantially due to the activation of CD8+ T cells that kills HIV-infected cell. At the same time, antibodies are also produced. [6] Although CD8+ T cells slow the progress of HIV, the virus ultimately still causes AIDS, when CD4+ T cells are completely depleted. At this time, cell-mediated immunity is lost which leaves the body defenseless against many fatal opportunistic infections. [7] CD4+ T cells are destroyed as the CD8+ T cells destroyed the HIV-infected cells and the compromised immune system is unable to synthesize more CD4+ T cells. [8]
Globally, roughly 34 million people were living with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most severely-affected regions and accounts for 69% of people (22.9 million) living with HIV worldwide. [9] In 2010 alone, 1.2 million people died from AIDS in the...

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