6th of February, 2022. International NewsLast updated: February 6, 2022 at 17:44 pm
Just when doctors and scientists have started to boast that HIV treatment may be on the verge of making HIV/AIDS a thing of the past, a newer more deadlier strain of the virus has reared its ugly head. Scientists say they have discovered a new strain of the HIV virus, most of which were detected in people of the Netherlands. So far, 109 cases of the virus have been recorded. The new variant, which scientists say spreads more easily, has been named the VB variant.
HIV is the acronym for the virus (human immunodeficiency virus) which destroys the body’s immune system once it gets inside and is left untreated. Initially, the virus somehow escapes detection so there is no immune response to it. In this regard, the human body doesn’t have any natural, built-in mechanism to fight off the HIV virus. The HIV virus multiplies in the body and starts destroying the body’s immune system – making the victim susceptible to everyday illnesses such as the common cold, or a cut on the body. In previously healthy individuals, the HIV virus may multiply in the body for 5 to 20 years without causing any signs or symptoms. When it starts to destroy the immune system, the individual develops AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
While HIV may take up to 5 to 20 years to develop into full blown aids, the VB variant is more virulent and aggressive, and may take just 9 months to 2 years to develop into full blown aids. Scientists say the existing HIV treatment will treat the new variant effectively, but encourage high-risk people (such as people with multiple sex partners, sex workers etc.) to get tested more often. Scientists say that the use of condoms is an effective protective mechanism against the virus. Regular testing, early detection, and treatment are also powerful weapons against the HIV virus.
An estimated 38 million people around the world are currently living with HIV. An estimated 1 in every 100 people are infected with HIV in Guyana, South America.