What is AIDS?
Short for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome by Abbreviationfinder, AIDS is the inability of the immune system to cope with infections and other pathological processes, and it develops when the level of CD4 T lymphocytes falls below 200 cells per milliliter of blood.
Normally, white blood cells and antibodies attack and destroy any foreign organism that enters the human body. This response is coordinated by a type of cell called CD4 lymphocytes.
Unfortunately, HIV specifically attacks cells that express the CD4 receptor, one of the most important is the CD4 + T lymphocytes and enters them. Once inside, the virus transforms its single-stranded (RNA) genetic material to double-stranded (DNA) to incorporate it into the host’s own genetic material (infected person) and uses it to replicate or make copies of itself. When new copies of the virus leave cells into the blood, they seek out other cells to attack. Meanwhile, the cells from where they come from are dying. This cycle is repeated again and again.
To defend against this virus production, a person’s immune system produces many CD4 cells on a daily basis. Gradually the number of CD4 cells decreases, so the person suffers from immunodeficiency, which means that the person cannot defend themselves from other viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that cause diseases, which leaves the person susceptible to diseases that a healthy person would be able to cope, such as atypical pneumonia and atypical meningitis.
These diseases are primarily opportunistic infections. Given that the body possesses CD4 cell-dependent cell growth control mechanisms, the progressive destruction of these cells will cause these mechanisms to not be adequately regulated, which consequently causes the presence of some neoplasms (cancer) that would not occur in people « healthy ». The human immunodeficiency virus | HIV]] is also capable of infecting brain cells, causing some neurological conditions.
As in other retroviruses, the genetic information of the virus is in the form of RNA, which contains the “instructions” for the synthesis of structural proteins, which when joined will make up the new virus (virion); that is to say, its hereditary characteristics, which are necessary for it to replicate itself. Usually, in nature, DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a source of genetic material from which a simple copy of RNA will be produced, but in the case of HIV, it manages to reverse the meaning of the information, producing DNA from its simple RNA copy, an operation called reverse transcription, characteristic of retroviruses. The virus inserts its genetic information into the cell’s reproduction mechanism (cell nucleus), thanks to the action of reverse transcriptase.
It is said that a person suffers from AIDS when his organism, due to the immunodeficiency caused by HIV, is not able to offer an adequate immune response against the infections that affect humans.
It is worth noting the difference between being infected with HIV and suffering from AIDS. A person infected with HIV is seropositive and goes on to develop AIDS when his level of CD4 T lymphocytes, cells that the virus attacks, drops below 200 cells per milliliter of blood.
Current situation in Cuba
Until March 8, 2000, 2763 HIV-infected people had been detected in Cuba, 1,025 people have become ill with AIDS and 713 deaths have been reported, 76.6% of those infected are male, 78.1% of them are homo bisexuals, the male / female ratio is 3/1.
The epidemic in Cuba has been progressing at a slower pace, although with a more accelerated dynamics in recent years. The western provinces have the greatest weight, the City of Havana presents 57% of the total infected mainly among men who have sex with other men (MSM), it is a concentrated epidemic, with a progressive increase in transmission between women and people who practice prostitution in both sexes. The trend of transmission among marginalized groups is increasing and constitutes 50% of the incidence.
Forecast for the next few years
In Cuba, prognostic analyzes have been performed using exponential smoothing techniques to obtain projections of seropositive and ill patients, which were estimated with various models of this type of technique.
It is estimated then that, if the conditions that determine the current behavior of the disease continue, around 6,054 new infections and 2,532 patients will be diagnosed in the next ten years. This means that by 2010 there could be some 7,224 people living with HIV / AIDS (PLHIV), which will imply a considerable burden on their care, which forces us to adopt new forms of care always based on previous experience and with a focus on comprehensive approach to successfully address this large volume of care needs, including the logistics of therapy at more reasonable prices on the basis of a national response.
That is why the sectors of society must take these realities into account for the purposes of planning and materializing the strategies of economic and social development of the Country.