What is AIDS?
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), may finally have a cure.
This has been a sangréal for health scientists around the globe for many years now.
HIV is a retrovirus, and Retroviruses in general are very hard to fight because they create an “all around” kind of infection – from free cells in the bloodstream to strains of virus DNA implanted within the DNA of the infected body. Another problem is that HIV transmission happens all the time, because most of the people who are infected aren’t even aware of it.
How HIV Transmission Works
Here’s the story of how you HIV transmission and most other retroviruses operate. Don’t worry, I’ll sum it up in the end:
A retrovirus cell or cells enter your body and approaches one of the body’s cells, HIV transmission usually occurs in a T helper lymphocyte, other viruses attack other cell types.
The retrovirus cell’s membrane and the body cell’s membrane then connect via a specific receptor, and the contents of the retrovirus cell enters the body cell.
The virus’ cell contains two things by definition – RNA and reverse transcriptase.
RNA is basically an unpaired strain of DNA (single helix) – it contains a genetic code and usually it is used in various processes in any living creature’s body like DNA duplication and bio-messaging.
Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme that builds complementary DNA (cDNA) out of an RNA template.
It’s called reverse transcriptase because commonly, RNA is transcripted from DNA, and not the other way around.
This process of reverse transcription is also the source of the name RETROvirus.
The cDNA is just partial DNA, which is to be implemented within a cell’s genome by an enzyme called Integrase.
Integrase can’t tell the difference between a valid cDNA and a virus’ cDNA, so it implants the virus cDNA in the cell’s nucleus, within the genome, thus creating a provirus.
The cell is now controlled by the virus. I had a professor that described it once as a “zombie slave” cell (yeesssss massstter…..). That’s the most accurate analogy I can think of.
So now that the cell is infected and is obeying the virus’ so-called bidding, it uses its enzymes to re-create the virus’ RNA from the cell’s DNA.
It also creates proteins that are vital to the creation of a new retrovirus.
The two new RNA strains and proteins then move to the surface of the cell, thus creating a new, immature retrovirus.
The new retrovirus slowly gets separated from the cell within a membrane of its own, this process is called “Budding”.
Before the separation finishes, an enzyme called Protease releases the excess proteins – the new retrovirus is now mature and ready for action, so to speak.
Then occurs membrane separation, which sends a new retrovirus in its own membrane out into the bloodstream to infect the DNA of other cells and reproduce itself further.
- Retrovirus enters bloodstream.
- Virus RNA infiltrates a cell.
- cell DNA gets infected (provirus).
- cell “enslaved” (zombie mode).
- new virus RNA and proteins created within the infected cell – a new, immature retrovirus is created.
- retrovirus matures and departs into the blood stream to repeat the process on another cell.
so now that we know what a retrovirus does when it gets into the blood stream, lets review the ways that it can get into it in the first place. Retroviruses in general can be transmitted by three means:
- body fluids
- Blood (including menstrual blood)
- Vaginal secretions
- Breast milk
Although it can survive in all of these fluids, HIV is most common where it’s most comfortable – in the blood. That’s why so many drug junkies have AIDS, sharing needles is one of the most certain ways to get AIDS.
The retrovirus floating through the first injector’s blood stream sticks to the needle, and the excess blood on the needle provides a cosy home for it until the blood stream of the next junkie comes to wash it away.
Unprotected vaginal and anal sex are also high risk practices – many times during intercourse, tiny cuts and sores are manifested on the genitals and/or the rectum and anus. These cuts are so tiny they usually go unnoticed, but they exist and they are big enough for blood to drip through. It is possible that both participants blood will mix directly but even if it doesn’t, the mucous membranes can be directly infected by contact with blood, semen, or vaginal secretions.
HIV can be transmitted by unprotected oral sex, but it’s not as likely. Since the HIV virus can’t survive in saliva, oral sex is considered relatively low-risk. The digestive enzymes in the saliva usually disassemble the retrovirus before it can enter the bloodstream. Unless there is an open wound in the mouth of the performer, it’s highly unlikely to get infected.
Another (terrible) way to get AIDS is from your mom. Yo mama so filthy, ah.. nevermind. Anyway, according to americanpregnancy.org, there is a 10%-20% risk that an HIV positive mother would transmit HIV to her baby during birth. The risk is even higher if the baby is exposed to HIV infected blood or body-fluids in the process, which is more than likely. Another way HIV gets transmitted by mothers to their children is breastfeeding, the breast milk of HIV positive mothers is likely to have some amount of ?HIV virus cells in it.
How HIV Transmission Doesn’t work – MythBusting
- From somebody’s saliva – Kissing somebody with HIV or AIDS – HIV does NOT survive in saliva, unless both participants have open wounds on their tounges – there’s no risk. Feel free to pass them a doobie, if that’s what you’re into.
- From somebody’s sweat – You can exercise with someone who has HIV or AIDS, play ball together and sweat all over each other. It’s perfectly safe.
- Hugging a person with HIV or AIDS is completely safe.
- From somebody’s tears – You can hold someone with HIV or AIDS in your arms for comfort and let them cry on your shoulder. It’s what friends do and it’s also perfectly safe.
- From somebody’s urine – I’m not going to elaborate on that.
- From somebody’s feces – I’m definitely not going to elaborate on that.
It’s highly unlikely that you would let someone with HIV or AIDS defecate, urinate, cry or sweat all over you for no reason, but in the off-chance that you’d have such contact – you can relax. Besides, AIDS today is a manageable disease. Modern science turned it from lethal to chronic, and hopefully soon, to treatable. A lot of people with HIV and AIDS are in loving relationships and they hug, kiss, cuddle, give and receive love and comfort and have protected sex with their loved ones. It’s really a challenge to get infected with HIV without shooting up drugs with used needles or having unsafe sex. If you worry you might be infected with HIV, go and get tested. There’s even one kind of?HIV test that you can order online and use on yourself at home that has FDA approval.
So what did we have here? use condoms, don’t share needles. You’ll be fine.
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Stay healthy and protected.
Itay “SHPECK” Rijensky