HIV Basics: Transmission and Virus Survive
Human Immunodeficiency Virus was discovered in the early 1980s. It belongs to the retroviruses group. Since it is discovery, the virus has spread fear across the globe because of its effects on the human body. HIV attacks CD4 or T-cells, which are crucial in the immune system in the human body. Once HIV gets into the human body, it attacks these cells and completely destroys them by quickly multiplying thus overpowering the human cells. As the HIV cells continue multiplying, it spreads to other body tissues and destroys adjacent cells in the same way. Domination of the virus among body cells destroys and weakens the immune system hence its inability to fight HIV infections. The body becomes vulnerable to the slightest infections.
Without treatment and managing the virus, the immune system deteriorates and illness becomes a common thing to the body. Typically, people without proper treatment develop AIDS, a syndrome of HIV. However, there exists treatment for the virus that focuses on boosting functions and power of the immune system to fight the virus. While the virus has been a killer disease for decades, people are managing to live with it for long years in the modern world.
When HIV is present in a human’s body, it can be traced to various places in the body. It is crucial to notice these facts it is a deadly disease (even with treatment) that you should be cautious and avoid. Either way, any disease should be avoided. The human body and immune system should stay healthy to function naturally as designed. Usually, the virus thrives in mucous membranes, these are;
- Vaginal fluid
- Breast milk
- Semen and pre-semen fluid
- Blood including menstrual fluids
- Rectal secretions.
Relating closely to an individual with respect to these fluids and mucous membranes exposes you to infection. The virus is easily passed through fluids.
Any activity that exposes sharing of fluids is dangerous for our immune system with regards to HIV. Injections, knives, cosmetic tools, shaving machines among others should well be sterilized to ensure no virus lives. If possible, do not share such appliances. Saliva is also a body fluid that can expose you to this infection. While this is dependent on wounds in the two mouths, be sure before engaging in kissing. Breast milk can also infect an infant. The common transmission mode is when you engage in sex with an HIV positive individual.
The casual transmission of HIV is a common fear in society. People coming into contact with spilled body fluids that include semen, blood, and sweat raise questions about whether they are at risk of getting infected. While we should all be careful when it comes to handling body fluids, it is important to note that HIV does not survive for long. There is no exact time limit in relation to the virus’ survival. The fact that spilled body fluids are exposed to air; the moisture content reduces thus reducing viral levels and power in the fluid. While the virus may survive for few minutes if not seconds, its infectious level is zero. However, is the fluid is inside a container, for instance, a syringe; the virus can remain active for an extended period. This is why reusing syringes is highly discouraged with regards to HIV transmission.
HIV virus is sensitive to high temperatures that interfere with its infectious compounds as opposed to extremely cold temperatures. In fact, studies show that the virus can survive in dry blood when at room temperature up to seven days. At least 40 degrees is required to effectively kill the virus. In syringes, the virus is said to survive for at up to 4 weeks. Also, sewage does not pose a threat to HIV; the virus survives for as long as it takes in faces and urine until it can find a body to go to.
The virus has also been recovered from dead bodies. When in cold temperatures in the morgues, which is usually at 2 degrees, the virus survives for at least 11 days. It is also highly sensitive to acidic and alkalinity levels thus it cannot survive in seawater like other viruses.
Currently, HIV is far from the death sentence that it was in the 1990s. In those years, having a positive status meant an end to ones dating life. Over the years, however, we have managed to see a reversal in this trend. Many HIV positive people are actually dating, and the stigma that was associated with the status has decreased to the bare minimum.
There are however some issues when it comes to HIV positive dating. Some states within the United States actually criminalize the act of exposing someone to the risk of contracting HIV. Well, the first step in most cases is disclosing the status. This, however, may be quite hard for some people. It is estimated that there are many HIV positive people but are unaware of their status. In as much as dating may be hard for HIV singles, it is still a possibility and it happens all the time in the current world.