"I am always pleased to see Sarflondon on here making very valuable comments if you read everything he says and take on board what the consequences are for “BAREBACKING”. I have admired him since he first wrote to me for being so honest in his writings and I am pleased he has just managed to get through a very painful 4 months.
Those who make the comments “butt out if it does not affect us if we don’t BB” well I am sorry to say it does affect us all.
In 2009 I did 6 months voluntary work in Northern Kenya, I worked in a village hospital (more a collection of large sheds) for those who lived within 150 miles radius of the village, it was the only medical centre for miles around. What I saw was young children born with AIDS dying of this disease, women infected by their husbands who worked away to earn money for the family are brought to the centre and left to die some in appalling pain. With so many children having no parents left it’s the elderly grandparents who are bringing up those children…….why because unlike the UK, Kenya does not have a free NHS, everything has to be paid for. Even the simplest of medication we take for granted here has to be bought there, if it’s a choice whether to feed your children or buy them medication the choice always falls on feeding. I came home drained
We however have it all, a National Health Service which spends millions each year on treating those with HIV/AIDS of course you are going to get those in this country who will complain about spending such large sums. I have heard the arguments, “it’s a self inflicted disease” “no one thought about safe sex” “why should money go on these people when it should go on those with cancer”. I am afraid we here all of these arguments but some do have a valid point, in as much it is up to those who have sex to practice safe sex. If you have multiple partners then get tested and regular, its no good saying “well he never looked like he had the disease”.
I have read on here “well if I trust the guy” do you think he is going to bring his “health licence like he holds driving licence”? don’t think so…….and you have to ask one simple question “how do I know he is telling me the truth about being disease free” the simple answer is you don’t.
HIV/AIDS has not gone away its very much here, more worrying is that it beginning to be seen in many over 60’s and that concerns the Health Authorities. The younger population do somehow think that there is a cure with all these Antiretroviral treatments, well its no cure. That I am afraid is many years away, estimates vary but most think its 10 years at the earliest and could be even longer since the virus mutates and changes and this is what is causing the scientists many headaches.
Here are four stages of HIV/AIDS not scare tactics but a helpful guidance to encourage those to “really think before you dip”.
STAGE 1 : Primary HIV Infection
This stage of infection lasts for a few weeks and is often accompanied by a short flu-like illness. In up to about 20% of people the HIV symptoms are serious enough to consult a doctor, but the diagnosis of HIV infection is frequently missed.
During this stage there is a large amount of HIV in the peripheral blood and the immune system begins to respond to the virus by producing HIV antibodies and cytotoxic lymphocytes. This process is known as seroconversion. If an HIV antibody test is done before seroconversion is complete then it may not be positive.
STAGE 2 : Clinically Asymptomatic stage
This stage lasts for an average of ten years and, as its name suggests, is free from major symptoms, although there may be swollen glands. The level of HIV in the peripheral blood drops to very low levels but people remain infectious and HIV antibodies are detectable in the blood, so antibody tests will show a positive result.
Research has shown that HIV is not dormant during this stage, but is very active in the lymph nodes. A test is available to measure the small amount of HIV that escapes the lymph nodes. This test which measures HIV RNA (HIV genetic material) is referred to as the viral load test, and it has an important role in the treatment of HIV infection.
STAGE 3 : Symptomatic HIV Infection
Over time the immune system becomes severely damaged by HIV. This is thought to happen for three main reasons:
• The lymph nodes and tissues become damaged or 'burnt out' because of the years of activity;
• HIV mutates and becomes more pathogenic, in other words stronger and more varied, leading to more T helper cell destruction;
• The body fails to keep up with replacing the T helper cells that are lost.
Antiretroviral treatment is usually started once an individuals CD4 count (the number of T helper cells) drops to a low level, an indication that the immune system is deteriorating. Treatment can stop HIV from damaging the immune system, therefore, HIV-infected individuals on treatment usually remain clinically asymptomatic.
However, in HIV-infected individuals not receiving treatment or on treatment that is not working, the immune system fails and symptoms develop. Initially many of the symptoms are mild, but as the immune system deteriorates the symptoms worsen.
Symptomatic HIV infection is mainly caused by the emergence of certain opportunistic infections that the immune system would normally prevent. This stage of HIV infection is often characterised by multi-system disease and infections can occur in almost all body systems.
Treatment for the specific infection is often carried out, but the underlying cause is the action of HIV as it erodes the immune system. Unless HIV itself can be slowed down the symptoms of immune suppression will continue to worsen.
STAGE 4 : Progression from HIV to AIDS
As the immune system becomes more and more damaged the individual may develop increasingly severe opportunistic infections and cancers, leading eventually to an AIDS diagnosis.