HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus, which intrudes the systemof the body that protects the body from external attacks by diseases(Cohenet al., 2011). Research indicates that since early 90s, this diseasehas been one of the most widespread communicable infectionsespecially in sub-Saharan Africa. Various medical innovations havebeen invented to help in managing HIV. The development ofantiretroviral drugs was a major medical breakthrough in themanagement and treatment of HIV. The paper will describe HIV,describe its determinants and explain the role of the community nursein the management of the disease. Finally, the paper will discuss oneorganization that helps in reducing the impacts of the disease.


HIVinfection is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which kills anddamages the immune system body cells, which are meant to guard thebody against diseases. The body tries to fight back the virus bydeveloping new cells but eventually weakens making the immune systemincapable of fighting new infections(Kuhar et al., 2013 Thompson et al., 2012). Afteracquiring the infection, some people get flu-like illnesses likefever, headache, and tiredness and inflamed lymph nodes in the neck.After sometimes, the symptoms disappear but during this period thevirus multiplies, and greatly damages the body immune system. Afterthis, the infected person is contagious and can transmit the virus(Cohenet al., 2011). Additionally, Aberg et al. (2009) assert that HIVtransmission occurs when the virus penetrates into the human bodythrough several means such as having sex with a diseased person andsharing needles. The virus also penetrates the body in healthcaresettings when a person comes accidently into contact with fluids froman infected person and unscreened blood transmission or organtransplants.

Manyof complications associated with HIV develop because of damagedimmune system. The virus affects other parts of the body such as thebrain causing memory problems. Thompson et al. (2012) contend thatthe human body develops various complications after being infectedwith HIV since the immune system is weak and the body prone tovarious illnesses and infections. Currently, HIV disease has no cure.However, there are various antiretroviral therapies, which have beendeveloped to manage the disease (Aberg et al., 2009). For instance, atherapy called protease inhibitors prevents multiplication of thevirus. Another therapy called Fusion and entry inhibitors preventsHIV from entering the human cells. HIV prevalence is the portion ofthe population living with HIV (Kuhar et al., 2013). Statisticscollected from research carried out to establish HIV prevalenceindicate in 1990, the population infected with the disease amountedto 8 million and by the end of 2011, the number had reached 34million (UNAIDS, Annex 1). The annual number of new HIV infectionshas greatly declined especially after the invention of antiretroviraldrugs.

Healthdeterminants and their influence on the development of HIV

Thereare various determinants of health as far as HIV is concerned. Thedeterminants comprise of various factors such as physical social,cultural, organizational, legal, economic, and the policy feature ofthe environment that hinder the fight against HIV infection. The mainhealth determinant of people getting exposed to HIV is the socialaspects which are the socio-economic conditions which influence thehealth people and the whole society. Factors such as level ofeducation, income, job security, food security and access to healthservices, social segregation and stigma largely determine the healthof people living with HIV (Cohen et al., 2011 Thompson et al.,2012).Every social factor determines an individual’s vulnerability thateither increases the risk to getting exposed to HIV and otherSexually Transmitted Diseases or compromises the ability to guardoneself from infection.

Theepidemiologic Triangle of HIV

Theepidemiologic Triangle of any disease has three chains i.e.Infectious agent/Infected source, Susceptible Host and Environmentfactors. Diagram 1 is an epidemiologic Triangle, which will be usedin describing the relationship between the three factors in the HIVtransmission. In HIV the infectious agent is a person infected withHIV virus and hence has the potential to cause an HIV infection. Thesymptoms and behavior of an HIV infected person may influence the


possibilityof exposure to and transmission of HIV virus to a susceptible host(Kuharet al., 2013). A susceptible Host in HIV transmission is an individual withinsufficient immunity against contracting HIV infection. Theenvironment is comprised of all external factors, to ether an HIVinfected person or a susceptible host, which may hinder or assistexposure and transmission of HIV virus from an infected person touninfected person with low HIV immunity. Factors that hindertransmission of HIV from an infected person to a susceptible hostinclude use of protection during sexual intercourse, blood screeningduring transfusion and organ transplants, community education on modeof transmission, abstinence from sex among others. On the other hand,factors such as unprotected sex, sex with several partners, sharingof needles, to name but a few will assist in transmission of HIV.

Roleof the community nurse in HIV management

Thecommunity nurse can play a very big role in the effective managementof HIV. According to Kuharet al. (2013), nurses can help in tracking HIV infected people’shistory and carry bout poor-to-door physical assessment to enhancethe patients’ understanding of the symptoms and how these severethe symptoms can become as the infection progresses. Helping patientswith such disturbing problems can help improve treatment adherenceand enhance the quality of the patient’s life. It is important topoint out that nurses are trusted by many people in the community andhence are the most suitable people to conduct community awarenesscampaigns and education on the transmission and management of HIV.Recent research shows that many orphans, whose parents died ofHIV/AIDS, are living with the elderly relative especially thegrandparents. The community nurse can play an important role ofhelping such children and their elderly guardians meet their healthneeds such as antiretroviral drugs for the children living with thedisease. Of more importance is follow up after treatment. Thecommunity nurse should ensure he or she makes proper follow up withthe HIV patients to ensure their wellbeing and adherence toantiretroviral therapies.

Anational agency addressing HIV management

UNAIDS,is an inventive leadership program run jointly by the United Nationswhose main objective is to inspire the world in achieving universalaccess to HIV prevention, treatment care, and support. The agencycarries out various activities to ensure effective management ofHIV/AIDS and minimize the impacts of this epidemic, especially amongthe poor communities. Its focus is to unite the efforts made byvarious sectors such as the private sector, civil society, nationalgovernments and public sector with people living with HIV to ensurethey fully benefit from these efforts. The agency also protects thedignity and fights for human rights for people living with HIV.UNAIDS mobilizes political, practical, scientific and monetaryresources and channels them to the effective management of HIV. Theagency is also involved in supporting inclusive country leadershipfor sustainable health policies and strategies that will improve themanagement of HIV as an epidemic.


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