Monday, December 03, 2012

What is HIV?

H- Human: This particular virus infects human beings.

I- Immunodeficiency: HIV weakens your immune system by destroying cells that fight disease and infection.

V- Virus: A virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell in the body it has infected.

HIV is a lot like other viruses, including those that cause the “flu” or the common cold.  But there  is an important difference, over time, your immune system can clear most viruses out of your body.  That isn’t the case with HIV.  You can’t seem to get rid of it.  Scientists are still trying to figure out why.

HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system—T-cells or CD4 cells.  Your body has to have these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV takes over, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.

Overtime, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that your body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore.  When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS

Health Disparities-HIV/AIDS
Despite prevention efforts, some groups of people are affected by HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STDs, and TB more than other groups of people. The occurrence of these diseases at greater levels among certain population groups more than among others is often referred to as a health disparity. Differences may occur by gender, race or ethnicity, education, income, disability, geographic location and sexual orientation among others. Social determinants of health like poverty, unequal access to health care, lack of education, stigma, and racism are link to health disparities.

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