The human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV, is a retro virus that attacks the helper T cells and macrophages of the immune system. HIV is spread through body fluid that contain cells, which is semen and blood. (Taylor, 2018) This includes sexual intercourse or through sharing a needle during drug use.

A mother who has HIV during pregnancy is at risk for also giving the virus to their child. If not properly maintain, HIV can turn into acquired immune deficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS. It depends on the individual who has contracted the HIV virus as to when and if it transpires into full blown AIDS. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 approximately 1.8 million people worldwide had developed new cases of HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa was estimated to have 67% of those new infections. There were 36.7 million people worldwide living with the retrovirus that same year.

It was also estimated that 1 million people died from AIDS related illnesses also in 2016. By the end of 2015 approximately 973,846 people were living with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. In 2014, there were approximately 37,600 new infections of the HIV virus.

The total number of new infections did drop by 10% in the years 2010-2014 in the United states. In 2016 approximately 18,160 had AIDS. (CDC, 2017)  AIDS is the 6th leading cuase of death throughout the world. (Taylor, 2018)Progression Acute HIV is the first stage of the HIV virus. The infection will start to developed within the first and second week of exposure and last 3 to 6 weeks. “Following transmission, HIV grows very rapidly within the first few weeks of infection and spreads throughout the body.” (Taylor, 2018 pg.

291) The symptoms are mild and can mimic the flu. This includes swollen glands and the flu like symptoms of rash, headache and fever.  (AIDSinfo, 2017)  During this time is when the HIV virus is attacking the immune system, so the virus is more concentrated within the bloodstream, which allows the greatest risk of transmitting the virus to another person. (AIDSinfo, 2017)  The following stage in in the progression of the virus is when it is considered the Chronic HIV infection. During this stage the HIV virus is still active and will multiply, however it is at a much slower rate.

“People with chronic HIV infection may not have any HIV-related symptoms, but they can still spread HIV to others. Without treatment with HIV medicines, chronic HIV infection usually advances to AIDS in 10 years or longer, though it may take less time for some people.” (AIDSinfo, 2017)  During this stage of HIV, the compromised immune system can make the individual more open to contracting other illness such as pneumonia and some cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Taylor, 2018.) “Early in the disease process, people infected with HIV also begin to show abnormalities in their neuroendocrine and cardiovascular responses to stress.” (Taylor,2018 pg. 291) If left untreated people can develop chronic diarrhea, pain in their bones and blindness.

  The final stage is in the progression of the HIV virus is AIDS.  AIDS is the most severe stage because the HIV has brutally damaged the individuals immune system. “Aids eventually leads to neurological involvement.

Early symptoms of the central nervous system impairment are similar to those of depression and include forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, psychomotor retardations, decreased alertness, apathy, withdrawal, diminished interest in work, and loss of sexual desire.” (Taylor, 2018 pg. 291) As the AIDS virus advances, some people may start to experience confusion, disorientation, seizures, dementia and eventually coma or death.

Psychosocial Impact/FactorsThe psychosocial impact of having contracted the HIV virus will vary from person to person. Depression, bereavement or the disclosure of the virus to others can have and impact on how the person’s infection with the HIV will progress. “Depression commonly accompanies an HIV diagnosis, especially for people with little social support, who feel stigmatized by their sexual preference or race who engage in avoidant coping, and/or who have more severe HIV symptoms.” (Taylor, 2018 pg.

292) Depression can make people cope through destructive means such as alcohol or drug abuse, which could entice them to start risky sexual behavior. These risker behaviors can lead their the already compromised immune system to weaken. “Immune system functioning is crucially essential to the life of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Improving the immune system functioning has awhile become the only sure means of survival among PLWHA.” (Anyaegbunam, 2015) Bereavement that results from the onset of HIV/AIDS can make the progress of the virus progress more rapidly.

“Bereavement itself can increase the likelihood that the disease will progress, and bereavement counseling can be important for reducing risk.” (Taylor, 2018 pg. 292) The grief that one feels during the bereavement process can influence the depression that one may have or will develop when they are first diagnose with the HIV virus. This depression or grief that is felt could lead an individual to not disclose the risks of involved being with a partner with the HIV virus or not disclosing they have the virus at all. “Negative beliefs about the self and the future are associated with helper T cell (CD4) decline and onset of AIDS in people infected with HIV.

” (Taylor,2018 pg. 298) Depression, bereavement and denying/not-disclosing can all impact the progression of the HIV virus which leads to AIDS. While people may experience the negative emotions and responses to being diagnose with the HIV virus, which inadvertently leads to the virus progressing more quickly. Those who have a strong social support and optimistic outlook have a better change of living a longer  with the HIV infection and slowing the progression into AIDS down dramatically. “On the positive side, optimism, active coping, extraversion, conscientiousness, and spirituality all predict slower disease progression.

” (Taylor, 2018 pg. 297) An individual who partakes in coping strategies such as counseling or cognitive behavior therapy and have a strong social support can help a person keep the progression of the HIV virus to a minimum and live a happier life.


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