Understanding About Antibodies (HIV)

I got a question, regarding antibodies.

A few years back my brother was in a class (he’s a lab technition) and they were doing some lab experients and he tested postive for mumps. I know he never had mumps. The professor told him mumps can be very mild and he could’ve had them and not realized, or thought it was just a cold with mild swelling. I also asked my doctor who told me pretty much the same thing.

I never thought of this until today I was talking with someone I know who is HIV postive.

I got to worndering, if the presence of HIV antibodies mean you have been exposed to HIV and the body produced antibodies to fight off the HIV.

Fine that sounds good. But how do they know for sure, some people have not been exposed to HIV and the body fought it off and won.

If someone could have mumps and not know it or mistake it for another illness, unless you test everone how would you know if a person has HIV antibodies and fought it off and is now fine?

Unless they test everyone in the nation, how would you know, cause there would be no reason for them to get an HIV test.

I never thought of having an HIV test because I am straight and don’t do drugs and don’t have unprotected sex.

I don’t get this.

As a side question I have read HIV is not present in large enough amounts in tears and saliva to transmit. Fine but does any virus cross over. Let’s say I had a cut and rubbed the tears of a HIV+ person in my cut. Even if there was any virus at all wouldn’t that require my body to make antibodies? If not then what happens to the virus, does it just die off by itself?

Thanks for your help

It is possible, and in fact, there are a small minority of people who appear to be able to carry the HIV virus (or at least, some variant of it) without manifesting the symptoms. Since HIV has such a high latency period (anywhere from a few months to two or more decades), it’s hard to determine whether these people are truly asymptomatic carriers or simple have some mechanism which delays onset of the the AIDS disease. There are a few anecdotal cases of people who have been previously tested and detemined to have significant quantities of HIV in their blood and later found to have no detectable quantities. Whether this is an accurate assement or not is unknown, but certainly such cases are limited. So to answer your question, we don’t know for certain, but it appears that majority of people exposed to the virus in quantity will eventually suffer the effects of AIDS.

Regarding the quantity of virus required for infection, this is somewhat a statistical measure–a single viron could possible result in systemic infection–but it’s unlikely. Even if one viron infected a cell and replicated, the number of resultant viruses would be small; most would not infect other cells, and the remaining ones would probably be erradicated by either the lympatic system or suppressed by a cell’s internal repair mechanisms before it could replicate in quantity. Unlike, say, Chuck Norris, a viral infection requires an en masse attack to overcome the body’s defenses; a single viron is unlikely to result in illness.

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