Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome | Cannabis Wiki

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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a syndrome of clinical conditions that destroys a body’s immune system in the last or final phase of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, which primarily damages helper T-cell lymphocytes with CD4 receptors.

HIV, a slow-growing virus, typically begins with an acute viral infection called the “primary infection”. This primary infection is systemic (meaning in the bloodstream) and widespread with seeding in the lymphatic system. In approximately 8 weeks after onset, the CD4 counts (normally 1,000) will have dropped by one-half (500), indicating a deficiency in the body’s immune response. The signs and symptoms during this primary stage include headache, stiff neck, malaise, fatigue, fever, night sweats, rash, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. By the twelfth wee, the CD4 counts will have rebounded to around 700. The measurable aspect of this primary infection is the presence of HIV antibodies. The ELISA and Western blot tests are positive.

During a latent period of approximately 8 years, the CD4 count usually declines steadily as the following signs and symptoms become more apparent: measurable presence of generalized lymphadenopathy, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, persistent fever, fatigue, night sweats, and oral thrush. Kaposi’s sarcoma or hairy cell leukemia may appear during this latent stage.

When the CD4 count reaches 200, “acquired immune deficiency” AIDS is clinically apparent. The person may or may not display signs and symptoms or develop an opportunistic neoplasm or infection. The CD4 count will eventually reach 0 at which time the body has no immune defense and thus opportunistic infections and cancers will occur and affect the body systems.

Around the tenth or eleventh year after onset, the person will likely die from an overwhelming cancer or infection. HIV can be acquired via blood transfusion, use of contaminated needles, or during sexual intercourse (especially anal sex). An unborn fetus can acquire HIV from the mother during pregnancy.

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