Causes of AIDS | AIDS

Causes of AIDS

The disease AIDS is caused by the HI – virus (HIV). This virus mainly attacks cells of the immune system that carry very specific surface characteristics (CD4). Thus the immune system (defence system) of the body is damaged by destroying the T-helper cells. The body of an AIDS-infected person therefore only has a very weak immune system, which makes the affected person very susceptible to various diseases. Cells of the brain are also affected by the virus.

Symptoms of AIDS

The HIV infection can be divided into different stages. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) of the USA makes the following classification: A Asymptomatic/acute HIV disease B Symptomatic, but not A or C C AIDS (A, B and C denote the categories.) – A1: T-helper cells > 500 (/?L)

  • A2: T-helper cells 200 – 499 (/?L)
  • A3: T-helper cells < 200 (/?L)
  • B1: T-helper cells > 500 (/?L)
  • B2: T-helper cells 200 – 499 (/?L)
  • B3: T-helper cells < 200 (/?L)
  • C1: T-helper cells > 500 (/?L)
  • C2: T-helper cells 200 – 499 (/?L)
  • C3: T-helper cells < 200 (/?L)

In general, so-called risk groups (e.g. residents in Africa or homosexuals, but also the heterosexual population) should be informed about the infection (“How do I get infected?”)

and prophylaxis (“What can I do about it?”). The use of condoms and the reduction of prostitution also contribute to reducing the incidence of new infections. To reduce the transmission of the virus through blood donations, all donors must be screened for the virus.

Before a planned forthcoming operation, autologous blood donation can be considered to rule out infection. Gloves should always be worn when handling another person’s blood. This is especially true for medical personnel.

In order to protect others, infected persons should inform the doctor or dentist treating them of their infection. Due to the doctors’ duty of confidentiality, there is no reason for concern. It is up to the person affected to decide who he or she wants to tell about his or her illness.

If a pregnant woman is HIV positive, the risk of infection of the newborn can be reduced to less than 1% by starting antiretroviral therapy after the 32nd week of pregnancy. Antiviral prophylaxis can also be administered to the newborn itself for six weeks. The mother should also avoid breastfeeding, as the virus is also transmitted via breast milk. A Caesarean section in the 36th week of pregnancy in a labour-free uterus should also reduce the risk of infection. Unfortunately, vaccination is not yet possible because the many different mutants (variants) of the virus make this immunisation difficult.

AIDS prognosis

The following parameters stand for an unfavourable prognosis of AIDS: However, there are cases that remain in one category for a long time: no symptoms and many cells with certain surface characteristics (CD4) after more than 10 years. Unfortunately, however, this only includes a maximum of 5% of infected persons. A cure for AIDS is still not possible today.

However, the HAART therapy has led to a significant decrease in the number of AIDS-defining diseases. Unfortunately, access to the successful HAART therapy is not possible in the particularly affected countries of the Third World. These countries are too poor and the health system is not structured enough to offer this therapy. – high viral load at initial examination

  • Decrease in the number of T-helper cells
  • Progression in category classification (e.g. from A1 to A3 or even B2)