Essay on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

Published: 2021/11/30
Number of words: 1338

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a threatening condition that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The condition has no cure, but one can receive therapy that can help them boost body immunity (Monaco et al., 2016). HIV/AIDS exposes the body to threats from other opportunistic diseases, which end up claiming the life of an individual. It is crucial to examine how the condition is transmitted from a mother to a child. Equally, it is essential to explore factors that increase the chances of transmission. Case study 5 is illustrative of a positive lady who wants to have a child (Monaco et al., 2016). She needs guidance on how she will avoid possible transmission of the condition to the child. The first factor that can increase mother-to-child transmission is breastfeeding. Patience should be advised to avoid breastfeeding her baby upon successful delivery. Second, Vitamin A deficiency during the time of pregnancy can increase the chance of transmission to her child (Monaco et al., 2016). Pregnant women diagnosed with HIV should be advised to take a diet rich in Vitamin A such as cord oil liver, eggs, leafy vegetables, and milk.

The third risk factor associated with HIV transmission to a child is substance abuse and malnutrition. Pregnant women should eat a healthy diet and avoid the abuse of substances (Papathakis, Singh & Manary, 2016). Smoking and drinking are some of the behavioral practices that increase the chances of HIV transmission from the mother to the child. Research suggests that a larger percentage of women who drink and smoke excessively transmit the virus to their children. Other risk factors that are associated with mother-to-child transmission include infection such as STD’s, a high maternal viral load for a patient and contact during childbirth (Papathakis, Singh & Manary, 2016). Patience should ensure that the listed aspects are avoided and that she should take her therapy throughout.

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Transmission to the child can occur during pregnancy, during birth, or after birth. For instance, a mother who fails to observe the right diet during pregnancy might transmit the virus to the child. In such a situation, the transmission happens during the pregnancy stage. During birth, those handling the patient should ensure that the body does not get infected due to careless handling (Papathakis, Singh & Manary, 2016). An important aspect during the pregnancy period is the patient to undergo the therapy assigned as a way of preventing further manifestation of the virus. After birth, mothers should avoid breastfeeding children as it facilitates transmission.

The patient was advised that upon conceiving, she will be subjected to HAART therapy to reduce the transmission of the virus o the child. HAART means highly active antiretroviral therapy, which is composed of a potent drug cocktail to circumvent the growth of the virus (Liotta et al., 2011). The therapy is essential for pregnant mothers as it reduces the chances of the virus multiplying during the stage. The maternal viral load for the patient indicates that she is at risk of transmitting the virus to the child, which necessitates the use of HAART therapy to reduce viral load multiplication. The viral load of an individual might be high when they are not taking any medication. During pregnancy, such a situation will increase the chances for the transmission to take place. As such, the therapy is vital for pregnant mothers to avoid a high multiplication rate, which can lead to transmission to the child (Liotta et al., 2011). Treatment as Prevention (TasP) is used as a way of reducing viral load in the blood to undetectable levels, which ensures no mother-to-child transmission.

There are different trips of antiretroviral drugs that diagnosed individuals can use to reduce transmission and further multiplication of the drugs. Some of the drugs are not fit for use by pregnant women for being ineffective in preventing perinatal transmission of the virus (Liotta et al., 2011) Pregnant mothers with HIV should be accorded combined antepartum, intrapartum, and ARV prophylaxis that will help the child stay safe. In essence, drugs ARV drugs meant for an ordinary person will not help prevent transmission for pregnant mothers. A combination regimen is considered effective in preventing transmission during pregnancy, unlike the ordinary therapy that is not protective enough (Newell & Bunders, 2013). Equally, substances such as didanosine (DDI) are toxic and tot appropriate for use for pregnant women. The HAART therapy requires that pregnant women use a combination regimen to reduce the chance of transmission to children.

Administering RVS during pregnancy might be challenging, especially at the early stages. For instance, the use of protease inhibitors during pregnancy can make one develop diabetes, which calls for a constant check-up for sugar levels in the body (Liotta et al., 2011). Equally, ARVs cause a nauseating feeling in an individual, which makes it hard to differentiate whether it is the pregnancy or side effects of the drugs. An individual at this stage cannot ascertain whether the symptoms are related to the ARVs or pregnancy. It is vital for practitioners and providers of the drugs to inform pregnant women of the strategies that they can apply to avoid perinatal transmission (Newell & Bunders, 2013). Challenges with nausea and vomiting are common for pregnant people who use ARVs.

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Individuals with HIV are prone to contracting other opportunistic infections that have claimed the lives of numerous people globally. Opportunistic infections are caused by disease-causing pathogens such as fungi, viruses, bacteria, or protozoa (Watts & Mofenson, 2012). Individuals with HIV have a weak immune system as destroyed by the virus. Such infections take advantage of the weakened immune system to attack the body, which can result in death in many cases. For instance, Tuberculosis and hepatitis B are some of the infections that take advantage of HIV to attack body cells. Pregnant women and other patients should be tested on the existing preconditions that might lead to the death of an individual (Watts & Mofenson, 2012). Other common opportunistic infections associated with HIV include cryptococcal meningitis, toxoplasmosis, pneumonia (PCP), and cancer. Opportunistic infections are fatal and should be prevented, especially for expectant mothers.

Individuals with HIV should be mindful of risk factors that expose them to contracting opportunistic diseases. For instance, increased use of immunosuppressive medications and old age makes one at a high risk of contracting an opportunistic infection (Reshi & Lone, 2010). Continued use of the drugs makes the body used to medication to the extent of developing resistance. In the event of resistance, the body can easily contract an opportunistic infection. As such, increased use of drug regimens might expose one to less immunity at an older age. Malnutrition is a risk factor that can lead to one contacting an infection such as diabetes, cancer, and anemia (Reshi & Lone, 2010). Equally, the failure of a patient to take his/her therapy can expose them to more infections. Individuals must take medicine as prescribed to reduce transmission and multiplication of the viral load s it relates to HIV.


Liotta, G., Mancinelli, S., Gennaro, E., Scarcella, P., Nielsen Saines, K., Magid, N., … & DORO ALTAN, A. (2011). Is highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in pregnancy protective against maternal mortality? Result from a large DREAM cohort in Malawi and Mozambique. In 6th IAS Conference.

Monaco, C. L., Gootenberg, D. B., Zhao, G., Handley, S. A., Ghebremichael, M. S., Lim, E. S., … & Norman, J. M. (2016). Altered virome and bacterial microbiome in human immunodeficiency virus-associated acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Cell host & microbe19(3), 311-322.

Newell, M. L., & Bunders, M. J. (2013). Safety of antiretroviral drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding for mother and child. Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS8(5), 504-510.

Papathakis, P. C., Singh, L. N., & Manary, M. J. (2016). How maternal malnutrition affects linear growth and development in the offspring. Molecular and cellular endocrinology435, 40-47.

Reshi, P., & Lone, I. M. (2010). Human immunodeficiency virus and pregnancy. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics281(5), 781-792.

Watts, D. H., & Mofenson, L. M. (2012). Antiretrovirals in pregnancy: a note of caution.

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