Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 20
Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.
SAQ 20.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 20.1, 20.2, 20.3, 20.4 and 20.5)
Which of the following statements is false? In each case, explain what is incorrect.
A HIV is more prevalent among young sexually active people than among elderly people.
B In Ethiopia, more females than males are infected with HIV.
C In most cases, an HIV infection can lead to AIDS in a few months.
D In the early course of HIV infection, people may not know that they are infected with the virus because they feel healthy (have no symptoms and signs).
E HIV mostly infects the red blood cells of humans.
F HIV can only be transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person.
G HIV is not transmitted through oral sex.
H Unprotected anal sex has a lower risk of transmission of HIV than unprotected vaginal sex.
I Eating and shaking hands with PLHIV cannot transmit HIV to uninfected individuals.
A is true. HIV is more prevalent among young sexually active people than among elderly people.
B is true. In Ethiopia, more females than males are infected with HIV.
C is false. In most cases, an HIV infection leads to AIDS in 5–10 years, and only if the person does not get antiretroviral therapy.
D is true. In the early course of HIV infection, people may not know that they are infected with the virus because they feel healthy (have no symptoms and signs).
E is false. HIV mostly infects CD4 lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell in humans.
F is false. HIV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person, but also by transfusion of infected blood, or blood products sharing — or accidental puncture with — sharp objects contaminated by infected blood; and from mother to child.
G is false. HIV can be transmitted through oral sex; the virus can get in through microlesions in the mucosa lining in the mouth.
H is false. Unprotected anal sex has a higher risk of transmission of HIV than unprotected vaginal sex.
I is true. Eating and shaking hands with PLHIV cannot transmit HIV to uninfected individuals.
SAQ 20.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 20.1, 20.3 and 20.4)
The main targets of HIV infection are the CD4 lymphocytes.
- a.What is a CD4 lymphocyte and what is its role in the human body?
- b.How does HIV infection of the CD4 lymphocytes determine the natural course of HIV disease progression to AIDS?
- c.Is the progression from HIV infection to AIDS the same for every person living with HIV?
- a.A CD4 lymphocyte is a special type of white blood cell in the immune system, which circulates in the body and ‘helps’ other lymphocytes to function in the immune response, e.g. by making antibodies, or attracting killer cells to destroy virus-infected cells.
- b.HIV infection of the CD4 lymphocytes determines the natural course of HIV disease progression to AIDS, because the number of CD4 lymphocytes in the body gradually declines over time. They die when they shed millions of new viruses, made in every infected CD4 lymphocyte under instructions from the HIV that originally infected it. As the CD4 lymphocyte numbers fall, they can no longer ‘help’ the immune system to function effectively, and PLHIV begin to develop more and more infections and other health problems. These ultimately progress to the worst stage — AIDS — unless the person gets antiretroviral therapy.
- c.The progress of HIV infection is faster in children and infants when compared to adults.
SAQ 20.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 20.3 and 20.4)
Why are opportunistic infections given this name?
These diseases are called opportunistic infections because the infectious agents that cause them only have the ‘opportunity’ to multiply in the body because the CD4 lymphocytes are being destroyed by HIV. This leaves the immune system unable to protect the person from infection he or she would otherwise have been able to fight off.
Summary of Study Session 20