Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic condition that is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV spreads through contact with infected body fluids like blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. Do you know with the use of constant medication, HIV transmission can be stopped?
How does the virus (HIV) work?
This virus renders the body's immune system useless and puts the body in a constant threat condition since it cannot fight infections anymore. The virus has RNA as genetic material which integrates its genome into the host genome and hijacks the immune system and its functions. A small infection can become fatal to an infected person. Thus, it is called an Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The virus attacks the T lymphocytes in the body and uses the host's body as a factory to produce copies and infect more and more cells.
How does medicine work?
The medication used to treat people with HIV is antiretroviral medication. These medicines inhibit certain proteases and reverse transcriptases to stop the virus from creating more copies of itself. HIV uses reverse transcriptase to convert its RNA genome to DNA in order to integrate into the host's cells. These medicines inhibit the action of these enzymes. As there is no cure for HIV, prevention is the biggest measure to combat it.
How does medicine stop sexual transmission?
An HIV-infected person on constant antiretroviral therapy can achieve the untransmittable stage. This is called Undetectable = Untransmittable and is the ultimate goal of medication. Through regular viral testing, if the person has less than 40- 50 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood, they are termed undetectable, hence they can't spread HIV through sexual activities. To have undetectable loads of virus, the person is supposed to have regular viral testing.
An undetectable stage of viral load does not mean that the person is cured, they would still test positive for HIV however they can't spread the virus to their partner. This step towards the treatment of HIV is a pioneer in stopping its transmission and shattering the myths associated with it. Undetectable only eliminates the risk of HIV transmission, not other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
This information should be spread around in public to create awareness and a more educated society.