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Functional Cure Possible for HIV

What is HIV?

HIV which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a blood-borne virus that is quite difficult to get but is easily transmitted through penetrative sexual contact or contaminated medical equipment. The reason why it is called Human Immunodeficiency Virus is because:

It can only infect human beings.

It makes your immune system weak by destroying the cells in your body that fight infections and diseases.

It replicates itself by taking over the cells in the body of its host. 

Although this virus is a lot like most viruses, there is one important difference between it and other viruses. Your immune system just cannot get rid of it. As a result, if you are infected with HIV, it means that you will have the virus in your body for the rest of your live. The virus attacks a key part of your immune system – the T-cells or CD4 cells. These are the cells in your body which fights infections and diseases. Unfortunately, these are the cells that are invaded by the HIV virus, used to make more copies of the HIV virus and are eventually destroyed. Eventually, the majority of the T-cells are destroyed leading to AIDS – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. 

How is the HIV virus transmitted?

The HIV virus can be transmitted from one person to another person through a number of different ways. These are:

Blood

Semen

Secretions from the vagina

Breast Milk

The highest concentration of the HIV virus lies in the blood of the infected person, followed by the semen if the infected person is a male, followed by vaginal secretions in terms of women and then in breast milk in terms of infected mothers. 

Activities that allow HIV transmission

Some common activities which are considered high risk activities when it comes to the transmission of the HIV virus include:

 

Unprotected sexual intercourse

Vaginal and anal unprotected sexual intercourse are very high-risk activities. During these activities, the mucous membranes of the vagina or the anus can be infected with the virus. Furthermore, the virus can directly enter the body through cuts and sores that may occur during sexual intercourse. By using condoms during intercourse, the risk of transmission can be minimized. 

 

Direct blood contact

This may include the use of injection drug needles, accidents in the health care settings, and even blood transfusions. For example, this Daily Mail story is a practical example of how wrong medical procedures and common mistakes can result in the transmission of the HIV virus. It is therefore important to always follow the right medical procedures to reduce the risk of transmission.

 

Mother to baby

The virus can be transmitted from a mother to her baby before or during birth or through breast milk. 

Functional Cure for HIV

Unfortunately, there is no functional cure for the HIV virus or AIDS. Eliminating the virus from the body or reversing the damage caused to the immune system is just not possible. However, there have been many advances in HIV treatments and therapies in recent years which have dramatically improved the quality of the lives of people living with HIV. Today, more and more people are living longer with the virus. There have even been cases of those who are known as elite controllers. These are people whose bodies are capable of naturally suppressing the virus. These people who are very rare normally do not have any symptoms of the virus and do not need to take medication. There have also been cases of a few people who were declared functionally cured of the HIV virus. Timothy Brown who is also known as “the Berlin Patient” was declared functionally cured of the virus. There was also case reported by Medical News Today of the Mississippi Baby who was also declared functionally cured.

Functionally cured means:

The patient does not have to take any medications against the virus.

There is very little of the virus present in the body.

The patient is not affected by the virus nor can it infect anyone else.

Unfortunately, functionally cured does not mean cured. In the long term, the virus might fully return. In fact, not too long ago, it was announced that the virus had returned in the Mississippi baby. However, scientists are still working very hard to find a cure. Even, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, the woman who discovered the virus in the 1980s believes that a cure is possible and is working very diligently to find one.

HIV Home Testing

There is only one way to determine if you are infected with the HIV virus and that is to get tested. This is because many people who are infected with the virus do not show any symptoms for years so you cannot rely on symptoms. You need to get tested.  Testing for HIV is a very sensitive matter which is why many medical firms are making it possible to get tested for HIV from home. With the Home Diagnostics - HIV Test, you can get tested for HIV in the comfort and confidentiality of your home and send your sample off to their accredited laboratory. It is the same as going to a normal clinic but significantly more convenient. The more people who get tested the better. 

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