As a part of society, any person has a chance of getting infections. Those infections can vary in terms of transmission, symptoms, ways of treatment, and other characteristics. There can also be differences in how the public treats a person with a virus concerning protecting one’s health or from the perspective of religion. One of the common viruses that people are at risk of getting is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). There is a need to analyze the causes, symptoms, and consequences of infections such as HIV to see how they can affect a person’s life.
Before analyzing the nature of an infection, one should look at its history to understand how it started spreading. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a variety of the simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV (Baucom et al., 2019). There is a dispute regarding the origins of HIV, but the strongest theory explains that SIV was carried by simians and was transmitted to humans starting from hunters in Africa (Baucom et al., 2019). The hunters’ blood was contaminated by SIV, which then adapted to the new host and became HIV (Baucom et al., 2019). The global spread began in the 1980s, affecting people in more than 140 countries (Baucom et al., 2019). HIV is spread in most parts of the world, showing the importance of researching it.
Pathogen and Mode of Transmission
The first step in analyzing an infection is looking at what causes a virus and how it can be transmitted to others. HIV is a bloodborne pathogen that attacks T cells affecting the human body’s immune system (Baucom et al., 2019).
The virus can spread from one person to another by blood, breast milk, vaginal or rectal secretions, and semen or pre-seminal fluids (Baucom et al., 2019). HIV is characterized by various modes of transmission such as unprotected sex, drug abuse, mother-to-child transmission, or those that can occur in hospital settings (Baucom et al., 2019). For example, the most common mode is the abuse of drugs by injections with contaminated needles, whether it is into the fat under the skin, the vein, or the muscle (Baucom et al., 2019). On the other hand, mother-to-child transmission, for instance, can happen from an infected woman during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding (Baucom et al., 2019). HIV can be spread to any person in various settings by body fluids such as blood or secretions.
Signs and Symptoms
Several signs and symptoms can be assessed when suspecting that someone is infected by HIV. Research shows that the infection can be characterized by fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, malaise, and chills (White et al., 2018). Among those, gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea (White et al., 2018). With that being said, some symptoms and signs are not common but can be detected and include rash, sweats, and oral ulcers (White et al., 2018). If a person has HIV, they need to be treated properly, and certain preventative measures need to be taken to protect others from the infection.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention and treatment of HIV have to be done promptly upon the diagnosis and can depend on several factors. Earlier treatment of HIV has long-term clinical benefits as it slows disease progression, reduces the size of viral reservoirs, and preserves immune function (White et al., 2018). People with the virus can take treatments such as antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is also suitable for pregnant women, to lessen the chances of mother-to-child transmission (Baucom et al., 2019). Prevention of HIV can vary and depends on the mode of transmission. For instance, preventive action for drug users in the long term can be seeking help to cure the addiction (Baucom et al., 2019). With that being said, drug users must use sterile water, and new and disinfected materials, and they have to properly dispose of all used materials (Baucom et al., 2019).
For cases involving unprotected sex, prolonged preventive measures should focus on increasing sexual education among young people on matters such as diligent use of contraception (Baucom et al., 2019). Treatment for HIV has to be done on time to benefit the patients, and prevention should be oriented to long-term results.
HIV and the Bible
Infections such as HIV may be surrounded by stigma, making people with viruses feel excluded from society. A way to look at the public’s opinion on people suffering from diseases is by examining it from the perspective of religion, such as Christianity. The Bible does not advocate for the stigma against both healthy and sick as this is not an attribute of God (Gwizo, 2021). In fact, in John 3:16, God sacrifices for all, and in Matt 11:28, God sees everyone as equal regardless of their “race, gender, or medical condition” (as cited in Gwizo, 2021, p. 197). Although there are controversies about diseases, the Bible does not support the stigma or discrimination against the ill.
A person’s life can be affected by infections such as HIV in terms of health and possibly cause social stigma. Although HIV was discovered in the XX century, it is still highly transmissible and negatively impacts the human body. If signs and symptoms of HIV are detected on time, patients can have more advantages from the treatment, and people can take appropriate preventive measures, so the virus does not spread in the community.
Baucom, C., Bate, J., Ochoa, S., Santos, I., Sergios, A., Lorentzen, L., & Reilly, K. (2019). The epidemiology of the AIDS pandemic: Historical, cultural, political, societal perspectives and knowledge of HIV. Journal of Student Research, 8(2), 41-49. Web.
Gwizo, I. (2021). Church stigma and discrimination against people living with chronic conditions such as HIV: A biblical-theological perspective. International Forum Journal, 24(1), 193-213.
White, D. A., Giordano, T. P., Pasalar, S., Jacobson, K. R., Glick, N. R., Beverly, E. S., & Branson, B. M. (2018). Acute HIV discovered during routine HIV screening with HIV antigen-antibody combination tests in 9 US emergency departments. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 72(1), 29-40. Web.