AIDS Doesn't Have a Cure, but Discrimination Does

AIDS Doesn't Have a Cure, but Discrimination Does

Last update: 20 September, 2016

The world dedicates every first of December against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), an illness that bears the burden of a great social stigma and about which surprisingly little is actually known.

In the Western world, fear has diminished somewhat around AIDS because, although we have to face it on a daily basis, it has become manageable through the use of medication and specific treatments.

Sadly, this has only happened in certain parts of the world. There are other places that don’t have the same luck. Therefore, every year thousands of people die from a disease that still has no cure, but does at least have a palliative treatment.

each hand holding red ribbon

What is HIV, and what is AIDS?

To clarify these terms, we should know that the cause of AIDS is associated with a type of retrovirus that is called the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It has been very difficult to figure out how to treat this virus, because it has many different and ever-modifying variations. Thus, creating a vaccine that can eliminate it has been impossible thus far.

But, what does HIV do within the body when the infection begins? When HIV activates it gives way to AIDS or, the depression of our immune system. People with AIDS have a very depleted number of cells called T helper cells. This virus also increases the amount of regulatory T cells in their bodies. In a healthy person, this ratio is inverse.

The symptomatology is complex. It presents with persistent fevers and sweating throughout the night, severe fatigue, weight loss and prolonged diarrhea.

lady sitting by the sea

Nevertheless, we should know that someone can carry the virus and not develop AIDS. In this sense, scientists still don’t really know if the development of this disorder is inevitable or if, on the contrary, it depends on external factors that act as a promoting mechanism of this illness.

MYTH: Mosquito bites can transmit HIV.