More than 70 million people have been infected with the HIV-AIDS globally, since the beginning of the epidemic.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome better known as AIDS still remains a global health challenge, a monumental threat to the humankind. According to the reports, there were 36.7 million people living with HIV-AIDS out of which 1.1 million people died in 2015. The exact data of people living with HIV-AIDS unknown because many people are still living without the diagnosis.
So What Is HIV-AIDS?
HIV-AIDS is a disease of the immune system caused due to infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV. HIV infects the virus and the virus disrupts the immune system as a result of which the victim becomes vulnerable to various other diseases and illness. In simple words, HIV causes AIDS which destroys the body’s ability to fight infections.
We know that there are specific cells in our body which has its responsibility to fight against any infections. HIV virus shockingly destroys those cells as a result of which the person becomes exposed to different other diseases and infections.
Difference between HIV and AIDS
Most people confuse HIV with AIDS and vice-versa. The major difference between HIV and AIDS is that HIV is the virus while AIDS is the disease. A person may not have AIDS even if he or she is infected with HIV. An HIV infected patient can still remain healthy. A person can still remain healthy if he/she has the virus. The HIV infected person has AIDS only during the final stage if he or she gets sick due to other disease or falls ill because of HIV.
If a person’s HIV turns into AIDS then that person will have AIDS for the rest of his/her life. HIV destroys the CD4 cell count of the immune system, making the infected person vulnerable to infections and cancers.
AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection in which the CD4 count is less than 200 cells/mm³ or the person has AIDS-defining condition. The virus and syndrome together are commonly known as HIV AIDS.
Origin of HIV/AIDS:
The epidemic of HIV-AIDS started in Africa. Scientists and experts claim that a virus, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) transferred from apes or chimpanzees to humans resulting in HIV. It is possible that the virus transmitted to humans while eating the monkey’s meat. Also, some say that the rapid spread of the virus is due to the unsafe sex workers, doctors using old needles, and railway transportation.
Causes of HIV-AIDS
The main causative agent of HIV-AIDS is the Human Immune deficiency virus which totally destroys the human immune system. In absence of antiretroviral therapy, the virus will gradually progress to another stage. However, the rate in the way the virus may progress depends on various factors including the patient’s age, food habit, health care access, genetic inheritance or resistance ability to certain strains of HIV.
Mode of Transmission
There are several ways in which the HIV virus can transmit from one person to another. One of the most common routes of transmission is unsafe sexual intercourse with the infected person. The virus transmits when there is a contact with sexual body fluids or secretions from rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes. This happens when one has vaginal, oral and anal sex or shares sex toys with an infected person.
In addition, HIV virus transmits from an infected mother to her child but medical science has made certain progress which can prevent the child from the infection. It can also transmit through breastfeeding.
Another common way of HIV transmission is blood transmission from the infected person. Sharing syringes among drug abusers, using unsafe tools for tattoo, unsafe body piercing are also the most common routes.
Additionally, there are many confusions and myths among the people related to HIV-AIDS. So what we should understand is that HIV-AIDS does not spread by touching or shaking hands. You are free to hug, kiss, use the same toilet, share towels, share cutleries, or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or other forms of “casual contact” with the infected person.
Diagnosis of HIV-AIDS
It’s evident that the diagnosis of any disease at the right time is extremely important so that proper treatment can be started on time. In the case of HIV-AIDS, diagnosis requires a blood test in the lab to screen for the virus. If found positive, the blood needs to be further tested to find out how much the virus has progressed. It is also important to note that it may take up to three weeks to three months for the virus to show up in the blood test.
Preventive measures of HIV-AIDS
Scientists and governments are spending millions of Dollars to find a cure for the disease. Unfortunately, there’s no cure or vaccine for this disease. So it is better to follow the below mentioned preventive measures to remain safe from HIV/AIDS infection.
- Refrain from unsafe sex and always use condoms.
- Avoid unsafe sexual activities with multiple sex partners.
- Do not use shared needles or syringes.
- Avoid exposure to body fluids like blood especially in case of health workers.
- Take precautions in case of an HIV infected pregnant mother.
- Spread sexual health Education and awareness about HIV/AIDS.