HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe
This paper discusses a disease that is endemic to a particular geographic and cultural setting: HIV in Zimbabwe. The pathogenesis, types of transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV/AIDS has been summarized here. Furthermore, aspects of health promotion and possible strategies to control and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Zimbabwean population, as suggested in published literature, are outlined.
HIV is a pandemic, affecting individuals in both developing and developed countries. Each year millions of new infections and deaths occur globally. According to UNAIDS preventative measures that have been taken in Zimbabwe are showing a decline in the occurrence of HIV (UNAIDS, 2010). However, it was estimated that in 2009, 1.1 million adults and children in Zimbabwe were living with HIV/AIDS, from a total population of 12 million (UNAIDS, 2010).
HIV is a DNA retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The virus is capable of adhering to and entering helper T cells, after which it incorporates its own DNA into the host cell's genome via reverse transcriptase and integrase enzymes, it then activates the synthesis of new viral proteins (Huether & McCance, 2008). This leads to assembly of new virus particles that leave the host cell, destroying it in the process (Huether & McCance,2008). The HIV virus has a preference for immune cells, particularly CD4+ T cells. Thus, the replication of HIV within T cells over several years leads to depletion of CD4+ T cell stores in the body. It eventually leads to significant viremia and depletion of T cells to such a low extent that secondary infections start to develop. The appearance of this condition is called the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). These infections, despite the use of aggressive management, can be fatal for the patient.