About HIV

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, primarily through sexual intercourse. South Africa has been one of the countries in which the AIDS pandemic has had a particularly devastating impact. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The words “perinatal HIV” mean that HIV has been passed into the new baby from the mother.

This family of viruses is also known for latency, persistent viremia, disease of the nervous system, and feeble host immune responses. HIV is transmitted through contact with infected body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. It is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, and by sharing needles or syringes (primarily for drug injection) with somebody who is infected. HIV is not found in feces.

HIV is among a group of atypical viruses called retroviruses that maintain their hereditary information in the form of ribonucleic acid ( RNA ). Through the use of an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase, HIV and other retroviruses are capable of producing deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from RNA, whereas many cells carry out the reverse procedure, transcribing the genetic substance of DNA to RNA. HIV is not transmitted through sweat, tears or saliva; or through sharing food, utensils, towels, bedding, a swimming pool, phone or toilet seat with someone who has the virus. HIV is not transmitted through bedbugs or mosquitoes.

Especially deadly

HIV is especially deadly because it attacks the very immune system cells (variously referred to as T4, CD4, or T-helper lymphocytes) that would ordinarily fight off this kind of viral infection. Receptors on such cells seem to allow the viral RNA to enter the cell. HIV is sexually transmitted, and HIV isn't the only infection that's passed through intimate sexual contact. HIV is not a problem in Africa. It is a problem. Should you drink a spoonful of spit by an HIV positive person, you won't be infected. HIV is not spread through casual contact hugging or shaking hands. Contact with saliva, tears, and sweat does not result from the transmission of HIV. HIV is a sexually transmitted virus which attacks the immune system and causes AIDS. HIV is so deadly because the virus attaches into a crucial part of the immune system : to the so-called CD4+T lymphocytes, which are white blood corpuscles which help the immune system to fight infections. Slowly but surely, the amount of healthy CD4+T lymphocytes in the blood fall, while HIV relentlessly interrupts the body's capacity to defend itself from infection. HIV is most frequently transmitted sexually. That's because fluids mix as well as the virus may be exchanged, particularly where there are tears in vaginal or rectal tissue, wounds or other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).