HIV and AIDS
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Testing and Diagnosis

Testing and Diagnosis | HIV and AIDS | Scoop.it

HIV testing involves taking a blood sample. Credit: NIAID.

Of the estimated 1.1 million Americans currently living with HIV, 21 percent do not know they are infected. People who have been infected recently with HIV often have few to no symptoms yet are extremely infectious and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV testing for adults, adolescents, and pregnant women during routine medical care.1Regular HIV screenings allow healthcare providers to identify people who are not aware that they are infected with HIV, so that they can be counseled on the need to avoid high-risk behaviors, instructed on safe-sex practices, and given information about starting antiretroviral therapy. HIV testing can also be performed anonymously if a person is concerned about confidentiality.

Types of HIV Tests

Healthcare providers can test a sample of blood to see if it contains human antibodies (disease-fighting proteins) specific to HIV. The two key types of HIV antibody tests are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Western blot.

However, these antibody tests may not detect HIV antibodies in someone who has been recently infected with HIV (within 1 to 3 months of infection). In these situations, healthcare providers can test the blood for the presence of HIV genetic material. This test is extremely critical for identifying recently infected people who are at risk for unknowingly infecting others with HIV.

HIV Testing in Infants

CDC recommends that all pregnant women get tested for HIV before and/or during delivery. Knowing the HIV status of the mother allows physicians to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission by providing antiretroviral treatment to both mothers infected with HIV and their newborn infants. However, it is difficult to determine if a baby born to a mother infected with HIV is actually infected because babies carry their mothers’ HIV antibodies for several months. Today, healthcare providers can conduct an HIV test for infants between ages 3 months and 15 months. Researchers are now evaluating several blood tests to determine which ones are suitable for testing babies younger than 3 months.

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The difference between HIV and AIDS!

The difference between HIV and AIDS! | HIV and AIDS | Scoop.it

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the name of the virus which infects our immune system and damages it severely over a period of time.
Some viruses, such as the ones that cause the common cold or the flu, stay in the body only for a few days.

Some viruses, such as HIV, never go away. When a person becomes infected with HIV, that person becomes “HIV positive” and will always be HIV positive. Over time, HIV disease infects and kills white blood cells called CD4 lymphocytes (or “T cells”) and can leave the body unable to fight off certain kinds of infections and cancers.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno–Deficiency Syndrome. A healthy person usually has a CD4, (white blood cells) count of between 600 and 1,200. When the CD4 count drops below 200, a person's immune system is severely weakened, and that person is then diagnosed with AIDS, even if he or she has not become sick from other infections.

Think of AIDS as advanced HIV disease. A person with AIDS has an immune system so weakened by HIV that the person usually becomes sick from one of several opportunistic infections or cancers such as PCP (a type of pneumonia) or KS (Kaposi sarcoma), wasting syndrome (involuntary weight loss), memory impairment, or tuberculosis (TB). If someone with HIV is diagnosed with one of these opportunistic infections (even if the CD4 count is above 200), he or she is said to have AIDS. AIDS usually takes time to develop from the time a person acquires HIV – usually between 2 to 10–15 years.

Once a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, she or he is always considered to have AIDS, even if that person's CD4 count goes up again and/or they recover from the disease that defined their AIDS diagnosis. {jumi usermod/ads/ads.php}{/jumi} After the diagnosis of AIDS is made, the current average survival time with antiretroviral therapy is estimated to be now more than 5 years, but because new treatments continue to be developed and because HIV continues to evolve resistance to treatments, estimates of survival time are likely to continue to change. Antiretroviral medication can prolong the time between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS. Without antiretroviral therapy, death normally occurs within a year. Most patients die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system.

 

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Bone Marrow Biopsy: Disorders of Immune System - AIDS

Bone Marrow Biopsy: Disorders of Immune System - AIDS | HIV and AIDS | Scoop.it
During the initial stages of virus and viral proliferation, virion entry and cellular infection requires binding to two coreceptors on target T lymphocytes and monocyte/macrophages. All HIV strains express the envelope protein gp120 that binds to ...
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