Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a virus that impaired the immune system. It is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids, and by breast milk. It cannot be transmitted through air, water or casual touch. Presence of this virus in the body is a serious condition that cannot be treated but can be managed for some years (HIV Gov, 2017). In this particular term paper the history, morphology and characteristic features, symptoms and causes of the virus, effects of the HIV infection, treatment and side effects will be discussed.
Researchers believed that this virus was identified in chimpanzees and originated from SIV (Simian immunodeficiency virus) in the 1930s. After some decades it was transferred to Africa and other different parts of the world. This virus crossed from chimpanzees to the humans in 1920 (Faria et al., 2014). The first verified human case of this virus from the blood specimen, taken from a person in 1959. Firstly it was believed to be a gay disease. In 1983 this deadly virus was isolated and identified for the first time by scientists of Pasteur Institute in France (Burger-Calderon, Smith, Ramsey, SPNS Innovations in Oral Health Care Initiative Team, & Webster-Cyriaque, 2016).
Morphology and characteristics of HIV
HIV is a lentivirus of retroviridae family, spherical and nearly 120 mm long. It is made of two clones of RNA that are single-stranded and enclosed by capsid made of viral protein. The capsid contains three different enzymes responsible for replication reverse transcriptase, integrase, and protease. The capsid is enclosed by a matrix made of a viral protein named P17 that play a key role in the integrity of virion particles. Genes present in the RNA genome includes gag, pol, and env which contain the information essential for making the structural proteins for the new particles of the virus. The viral matrix is covered by two different layers of phospholipid. The virus firstly binds to the CD4 cells and starts replicating to affect a person’s immunity. During the budding the HIV exit CD4 and release HIV enzyme. The incubation period of this virus is 2 to four weeks (Schur et al., 2015).
Symptoms of HIV infection
For various people the primary infection is asymptomatic. Within two to four weeks a patient may develop flu-like symptoms of HIV such as chills, fever, skin rashes, muscle aches, fatigue, mouth ulcers, and swollen lymph nodes. After the asymptomatic phase the immune system is further impaired and other diseases like the pelvic inflammatory disease, the severe herpes infection can be caused. The untreated infection may result in AIDS and show symptoms like rapid weight loss, diarrhea, pneumonia, and memory loss (NICHD, 2016). The patient may feel extreme tiredness, sadness, depression, anger, stress, and HIV associated Neurocognitive disorder (HIV insite, 2017).
Organ system level
HIV infection can affect different body systems like the immune system, respiratory system, digestive and nervous system. The T and B cells are responsible to create antibodies and killing the foreign invaders. HIV attacks these cells and alters their antibody production ability. The immune system constantly fights with the virus and eventually, the body is unable to produce t cells and the immunity has been lost with the time (McMichael, BorrowTomaras, Goonetilleke, & Haynes, 2010). It can also infect the upper respiratory system and causes lymphoma, and pulmonary hypertension (Crothers et al., 2011). It also impairs the ability of the digestive system to absorb nutrients, food digestion and elimination of waste. The alteration in the immune system and the gastrointestinal functions may lead to diarrhea, oral thrush, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. HIV also affects the nervous system if the body and may cause issues like meningitis and encephalitis (Hong, & Banks, 2015).
HIV mostly results in loss of brain tissues and causes thinning of these tissues by 10 to 15 percent then the normal human being. HIV infection can also impair the lymphoid tissues and may lead to neurological complication to the body tissues. HIV virions attacks on the follicular dendritic cells present in the central part of the lymphoid organs, after releasing form here they are intermittently shed in order to cause more infection to the CD4+ T cells, and to generate a chronic inflammatory condition that specifically leads to the destruction or abnormality of lymphoid tissue (Duggal, Chugh, & Duggal, 2012).
The cells infected by HIV are sixty times smaller than the normal RBCs. The CD4=+T cells develops specific antibodies at the initial contact with the virus. The cells count drops less than 200 in the HIV positive people. It can also infect the dendritic cells, and WBCs and leads to autoimmunity. The HIV infection damages the mitochondria (Barve et al., 2010), envelope and the reverse transcriptase enzyme (Betancor, Alvarez, Marcelli, Andrés, Martínez, & Menéndez-Arias, 2015) and finally enters the nucleus of the cells and starts replicating there (Schaller et al., 2011).
Treatment & side effects
However, the treatment is not possible but the progression can slow down. The treatment of this health condition involves antiretroviral therapy, which is the combination of three top-four different medicines. This therapy prevents the replication of the virus and slowing the HIV progression (Volberding, & Deeks, 2010). Some of the drugs approved by US FDA include Nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs); integrate strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), and non- Nucleoside/ non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Some of the NRTIs are abacavir, emtricitabine, and lamivudine. Doravirine, efavirenz, and etravirine belong to NNRTIs classes of HIV drug. NRTIs and NNRTIs block the HIV enzyme reverses transcriptase and inhibits the proliferation of HIV. Protease inhibitors such as atazanavir and darunavir block HIV protease. Side effects of these drugs include serious allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, trouble breathing, IRIS syndrome, headache, abnormal dreams, heart rhythm problems, fever, blisters, and swelling of the face (Saag et al., 2018).
HIV virus is the deadly virus causes impairment of immune system, firstly isolated and identified in 1983 by the researcher of Pasteur Institute in France. It is about 120 mm long composed of two single-stranded RNA copies and belongs to the retroviridea family. The symptoms associated with the HIV infection include fever, rashes, fatigue, sore throat, night sweats, and muscle aches. It affects body systems like the immune system, digestive system, and nervous system. It can also affect the body tissues and cause thinning of the tissues. At cellular levels, it impairs mitochondria and other organelles f the cells such a cell envelope, and enzyme reverse transcriptase. Medicine approved for HIV includes NRTIs and NNRTIs. The side effects associated with these drugs include nausea, IRIS syndrome, and swelling of the face.
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