HIV is a virus that reproduces with CD4 white blood cells. In time, HIV can cause a decreased white blood cell count, leading to AIDS, an advanced state of HIV. This state can increase the odds of sickness and health complications.

HIV can be destroyed by the body; however, the white blood cells that learn how to destroy HIV are often lost with the HIV reproduction process, as well as any other disease information the white blood cells retain. White blood cells improve our immune system by telling our body how to produce antibodies for particular pathogens.

Patients with HIV normally take antiretrovirals, which decrease the virus's ability to detect and assimilate CD4 cells. It gives patients a longer lifespan, but it does not offer a cure. HIV, even when undetectable, can hold itself in special reservoirs in the body (growing back once more if medication is stopped). Medication will be a lifetime routine.

Special care must be taken to avoid bodily fluids, such as semen, blood, and other biomaterial. Cover your wounds and avoid objects that penetrate your skin. Luckily, transmission rates are often low (0.67% in cases of direct skin penetration) and HIV is weak when exposed to air. If you find yourself exposed to blood or other fluids wash the area with soap and water and seek prophylaxis treatment (done within 7-10 days and you'll reduce the odds of infection greatly).

Treat HIV patients as normally as possible, and give them information to help ease their life transition. They are protected as disabled individuals per the ADA Act of 1990, and they are free to travel from state to state without reporting their condition (exceptions are made when coming in or leaving the country). Teach healthy sex practices such as condom use, abstinence, or alternative forms of affection. Also be aware that HIV patients benefit greatly from getting tested for TB (at least once a year). In the end, be an HIV patient's best advocate.

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