A topic that stands out to me would be HIV which is an immunodeficiency virus which affected a family member of mine that recently passed away. Even though I am not able to find out information to possibly help this family member, I would like to learn more about this disease and to see the effect it had on my family member who also had colon cancer and passed from these two things. Currently there is no cure when it comes to HIV, but I would like to find out possible ways of living with this disease and all the effects it can have to ones body. My interest is partially trying to get a better understanding of how this family member lived on a daily basis, as well as, giving me a better understanding with my coping on there passing.
Anatomical & Physiological Influences:
“Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells.” (Robinson, 2016) HIV inhibits your body’s ability to fight off organisms and bacterias that cause disease. HIV affects our body by destroying CD4 T cells, this makes an impact on a persons body and immune system because white blood cells are important to killing off diseases. As well as, the fewer CD4 T cells a person may have gives them higher chances of their HIV turning into AIDS.
There are currently two kinds of HIV, HIV-1 and HIV-2 (MayoClinic, 2018). HIV-1 is the most common type, for instance when you hear the word HIV its most likely HIV-1. According to WebMD, HIV-2 occurs in mostly in West Africa, this form is harder to transmit from person to person and takes longer for the infection to turn into AIDS.
HIV is a virus that can be spread through multiple ways such as sexual contact, blood, childbirth or breast-feeding. The most common way of catching HIV is by having an intimate relationship with someone infected, the virus can enter your body through contact with mouth sores, blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. Another way that a person may catch HIV is by sharing contaminated needles or syringes, it may also transmit other infectious diseases. “The virus may also be transmitted through blood transfusions, this risk is very small as hospitals and blood banks now screen the blood supply for HIV but is still possible.” (MayoClinic, 2018) The last way of being infected with HIV can be through pregnancy or breast feeding. Most people believe that you can become infected with HIV through ordinary contact, yet this is not true you cannot catch HIV by hugging, kissing, dancing or shaking hand with someone who is infected.
Symptoms & Signs:
HIV symptoms may vary depending on the amount of time you have had the virus in your system. The virus’s effect on a person may also differ from person to person and some may not even experience any symptoms at all.
According to Mayo Clinic, in the first couple of weeks of being infected with the virus a person may experience flu-like symptoms that typically last a week or so. This occurs because the body is reacting to the virus and is trying to fight off HIV. Common symptoms throughout this stage may include fever, headache, upset stomach, sore throat, swollen glands, rash, aches & pains in muscle joints. (MayoClinic, 2018)
Months to years after being infected with the virus you may begin to feel healthier but that doesn’t mean that the virus is gone. HIV can sometimes take up to 10 years to show any kinds of symptoms, yet the virus is still active and infecting the immune system in your body.
Mayo Clinic states that after 10 years with an HIV infection, the virus has damaged your immune system. During this stage of HIV, it is more likely to catch other infectious diseases & for your immune system to be disturbed by other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. When this occurs it can be a sign that your HIV has progressed to AIDS due to the fact that your body can no longer fight off diseases.
If so, you will have symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, fever, cough, night sweats, mouth & skin problems, and serious illnesses or diseases. (MayoClinic, 2018)
The most common way to diagnose HIV is through blood tests. There are multiple tests that can be taken to detect HIV, such as ELISA test, Home test, Saliva test, Viral Load test, and Western Blot test. All of the tests listed are designed to find antibodies to the virus that the body creates when attempting to fight off the virus. Any individual who has exposure to the virus can take the body anywhere from six weeks to a year to develop antibodies to the virus. A new test called a nucleic acid test, is designed to detect HIV during the early stages, yet it is not commonly used considering that it is expensive and not usually used for HIV testing.
No cure currently exists for HIV, but strict regulation to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) can dramatically alter the disease’s progress, preventing other infections, diseases or complications, and prolonging ones life. ART is a combination of antiretroviral drugs that prevent the growth of the virus.
HIV has had a huge impact on my family the past couple of months. Since we found out that our family member had HIV this effected our point of view on his passing. Since finding this information out it made a lot more sense as to how someone who was diagnosed with colon cancer passed a way just a month after. Even though I am not able to help this family member on trying to live a normal life I can put my efforts into helping others who are affected by this virus. I hope to eventually become a nurse and put more efforts into making sure people who have the human immunodeficiency virus live a long and healthy life, as can be that is.
Clinic, M. (2018, January 19). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved October 5, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids/symptoms-causes/syc-20373524
HIV. (2018, February 21). What Are HIV and AIDS? Retrieved October 02, 2018, from https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/what-are-hiv-and-aids
Martin, L. J. (2016, October 16). What Puts You at Risk for HIV? Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/hiv-risk-factors-are-you-risking-your-life
McKinley, M. P., OLoughlin, V. D., & Bidle, T. S. (2016). Anatomy & physiology: An integrative approach (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.