HIV virus's attack on CD4 cells - Medicircle

Learn the 3 main ways one can get infected by the HIV virus. After entering the body this virus affects our CD4 cells and over time kills them. This makes us more vulnerable to opportunistic infections.

Dr Neha Gupta is one of the best internal medicine specialists in Gurgaon and has experience of 10 years in this field. She is an HIV/AIDS specialist who has graduated as an infectious disease specialist from the first batch of infectious disease qualified in India. She is an expert in HIV and sexually transmitted diseases also have a certificate of achievement from John Hopkin’s University, USA and also has received Healthcare Award in 2016 from the Director General Health Services of India & Government of India for promoting health and wellness.

Causes of AIDS

Dr Gupta begins, “There are 3 modes of transmission of AIDS. The first is the sexual transmission. Most HIV infections get transmitted sexually when people have multiple partners or have unprotected sex. The second way of transmission is from the mother to the child. So if the mother is HIV positive and not on antiretroviral therapy then it will pass down to the child as well. The last mode of transmission is contaminated syringes or needles.”

Affect of AIDS on the body

Dr Gupta mentions, “When an individual comes in contact with the HIV virus, the virus starts affecting the CD4 cells in the individual. The HIV virus enters the cell through CD4 and there it replicates itself. So the HIV virus enters through the CD4 cells wherein the HIV RNA replicates itself. Because of this replication, the CD4 cells burst out and die.”

“Over time, the count of CD4 decreases. The individual gets exposed to many infections (opportunistic infections). Besides this, it also has many non-infectious problems, like inflammatory changes. It can result in cardiovascular changes, metabolic diseases and some types of cancers. It can also result in tuberculosis irrespective of the CD4 count being high or low.”

“Then there are some AIDS-defining illnesses. These illnesses happen when the CD4 count is very low. Here one can see fungal infections, diarrhoea and more. Apart from opportunistic infections, it can also cause heart diseases, diabetes, skin problems, kidney and liver problems.”

ART (Antiretroviral Therapy)

Dr Gupta explains, “Earlier it was believed that if someone has HIV then it is a sure short death sentence. But nowadays, we have antiretroviral therapy that is an effective measure against HIV. Antiretroviral therapies are medicines that can stop HIV infection. If a person has an undetectable viral load then that person can live life like a non-HIV infected person. This means that their life span will be the same as a non-HIV person.”

“They can also marry provided that the HIV positive partner’s case is undetectable. At the same time, they should also reveal their own status. If they want kids, even that is possible provided the mother’s case is undetectable. This is possible with antiretroviral therapy. Once the baby is born, even they should be administered antiretroviral therapy for some time.”

Other treatments for HIV

Dr Gupta says, “Antiretroviral therapy controls and suppresses the HIV virus. With ART, the HIV virus has been converted into a metabolic disease. Meaning that with time, diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, liver and kidney problems can occur and one needs to manage them. They should then make sure that their organs are working effectively and should go for regular checkups. Every 3 months, they should check CD4 and viral load. They should also follow a healthy lifestyle.”

(Edited by Priyal Shah)


Contributed By: Dr Neha Gupta, HIV/AIDS specialist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute
Tags : #Healthcare-Trending-Topics #DrNehaGupta #FortisMemorialResearchInstitute #HIV #AIDS #CD4 #immunity #tcells #HealthyLifestyle #hivawarness #hivprevention #smitakumar #medicircle

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