HIV is a disease that first made a lasting impact on modern conscience in the 1980’s. It radically changed the modern landscape when it first broke out. Back then, it was virtually untreatable. Now with modern medicines and therapy including Antiretroviral therapy or ART, it can actually be managed. However, it’s impact has still remained and it has forever etched itself on the modern psyche for a long time.

What makes HIV so deadly?

HIV in itself is actually essentially harmless. It is only when it progresses to its final stage and becomes AIDS that it becomes the stuff of nightmares and becomes fatal. AIDS attacks a person from within. It targets one of our most essential systems, our immune system. It is common knowledge that the immune system is the body’s defense against all the viruses and diseases that attack it on a daily basis. Take away our immune system and you leave someone highly vulnerable to all kinds of deadly diseases. Even basic diseases like the cold and the flu can kill someone with no immune system. But that is what AIDS does. It strips the body of its natural armor. 

A long hibernation period

A person with HIV may carry it for a significant period of time and not even know he has it. This is because it’s initial symptom is only a very severe flu. This flu is very severe but apart from this is indistinguishable from any flu. Then a hibernation period of 8 to 10 years occurs where the person has no symptoms whatsoever. It is only at the end of this period that AIDS manifests itself. And by then, it would be too late for treatment.

Modern methods of treatment

Modern methods like ART can now leave HIV manageable. With regular dosage and treatment, the virus can be controlled and can remain in a dormant state without progressing into the deadly AIDS. This dormant state can leave a person living a normal life for as long as 33 years. It can even keep other from being infected as well. It is a good form of treatment that is very recommended but it can only be administered within the 8-10 year window. This makes early detection of HIV of the essence. HIV can really be treated and managed with the right amount of effort and luck. Still, it’s most significant impact today must be on how it has reshaped sexual values. While people are still very liberal with sexual values there is more of an air of caution in the wind. Protection and use of condoms are now openly endorsed. This is all for the better. People need to be made aware and educated about the real threat of HIV and AIDS. Information is the best way to do so and spread the truth and dispel any nasty falsehoods and rumors surrounding the disease. This is the best way we can combat HIV and be more positive about it.