Human immunodeficiency virus is a serious virus that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells. Once HIV enters the human body, it begins to reproduce rapidly and can eventually cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a life-threatening condition. Here, we will discuss what happens when HIV enters the body and its initial responses.
How Does someone get infected with HIV?
Before delving into what happens when someone gets infected with HIV, let us first understand how one can get exposed or infected to HIV.
– Sexual Contact
– Blood transfusion
– Sharing needles/syringes
– Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Now that we have a basic understanding of exposure routes let’s dive deep into what might happen once someone contracts HIV Virus.
When an individual becomes infected with HIV by any of these ways, their immune system responds within hours to prevent further spread of infection in the following ways:
1. Neutrophil rush – Neutrophils quickly arrive at the site of infection to try and destroy invading bacteria/viruses etc using enzymes & chemical compounds from cytoplasmic granules .
2. Cytokine storm – Body releases inflammatory molecules called cytokines which initiate Immune response
3. Dendritic cells – Langerhan’s Cells sitting under skin starts alerting T-cells they found some potential invaders and call them onto action by displaying fragment parts found from outside invaders on their cell surface so that t-cells could identify such attacker in future
4. Release Of Antibodies broughtabout by B-cells : specific kinds of antibodies are released against HIV right away. These antibodies will quickly find the virus and attach to it, making it unable to infect other cells or reproduce
The Asymptomatic Stage
After this initial response, a long period of time known as the asymptomatic stage begins. During this stage, an infected individual may not experience any symptoms but can still transmit the virus to others. This is because HIV continues to replicate in the body and attack immune system cells.
However, some people in this phase may begin feeling illness which means that their viral load has increased manifold or they’ve entered into a symptomatic phase which brings about sign of opportunistic infections owing to failing of immune response after being overwhelmed by multiplying Viral invaders
Q: Can you carry on with your routine activities in asymptomatic Phase with friends/family who don’t have HIV?
A: Yes one can normal participate in daily activites without worrying much – However taking precautions such as using condoms during sex, avoiding sharing drug injection equipment & monitoring blood levels regularly is recommended.
The Symptomatic Stage
progressed if left undiagnosed & untreated, gradual damage done by replicating progeny enter into critical zone where patient starts showing various symptoms like fever, low WBC counts weight loss etc. Due to CD4 T cell count going down significantly below <350/umm3. , Patient becomes immunocompromised.
Here are some common signs for Symptomic stage:
1. High Fever along with chills and Night Sweats
2. Loss Of Appetite accompanied by significant weight loss.
3. Inflamed lymph nodes especially around neck armpits groin region.
4. Frequent Recurring Infections : i. e fungal Tuberculosis Pneumonia Skin infections
5. Dry coughing / Diarrhea
HIV is a virus that can have serious consequences if left untreated. While the asymptomatic stage may not have any noticeable symptoms, it is crucial to get tested regularly and take precautions to prevent transmission. If an individual does experience symptoms of HIV, seeking medical attention as soon as possible and starting treatment immediately can greatly improve outcomes. Remember folks “Protection Is Key”.