AIDS and HIV - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

AIDS and HIV-Overview

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is categorized into two parts- HIV 1 and HIV 2. Whereas the former is found in almost all regions of the world, the latter is restricted only to Africa mostly. These viruses belong to the family of retroviruses and they affect the person with the transmission of their own DNA into the host DNA. That is the way they are able to infect a person for the rest of their life.

AIDS – The Reasons Behind it

HIV is believed to be a very contagious virus. Dreaded all over the world as the harbinger of a fatal disease, there have been prejudice against people who are subjected to this disease. However, the virus is not as contagious as it is believed to be. HIV cannot exist on its own without the presence of a host body. It can only be transmitted from one person to the other by the direct exchange of the body's fluids (blood, semen, mucous, vaginal fluids) etc. There are a lot of misconceptions as to how a person may get infected with HIV.

However, transfer of the virus from one body to the other can only take place by these mediums:

1. Unprotected sex (both anal and vaginal) with the infected person.

2. From a pregnant mother to her unborn fetus: There is a great chance of the passing on the disease from an infected pregnant mother to her unborn child during the state of pregnancy, birth or even breastfeeding. There is roughly 30% chance of the passing on the disease if no precautionary measures are taken.

3. IV Transmission: Sharing contaminated needles during group drug use is another known method for the transmission of the disease. Many intravenous drug users, who tend to share the same needles, are known to get infected.

4. The reuse of contaminated surgical instruments during any medical process is a great factor in the spreading of the disease.

5. Blood transfusion from a contaminated person to another.

6. Direct contact with the body fluid of a person suffering from AIDS is known to cause the disease as well.

The risk of the HIV transmission from one person to the other depends upon the stage at which the contaminated person is. If he has been recently infected with HIV himself, then the concentration of the virus in the body are high and so is the risk for the other person. However, if the person is in a later stage when AIDS has been developed, then the chances are less. Once inside the system, the virus can develop very rapidly and infect the host cells of the body. If a person has been infected with HIV once, he will be infected for the rest of his life with it.

These were the methods through which HIV spreads. However, a lot of myths are associated with the transmission of HIV.

The following are the methods through which it is not spread:

1. Mosquito Bites

2. Exchange of sweat

3. Sharing the public toilets, saunas or swimming pools

4. Sharing clothing or towels

5. Socializing or knowing people who are infected

6. Sharing cutlery and utensils

7. Touching or hugging the person who has been infected

Awareness regarding the ways which spread HIV and the ones which don't is a must.

Treatment of AIDS

HIV AIDS has emerged to be a potentially fatal disease all over the world. With the rapid spread of the disease globally, scientists and doctors have been befuddled looking for a cure. However, as of now, there is no cure for AIDS. There are treatments available that can help in the management of the symptoms and can help the people live a quality life by increasing their life span.

Antiretroviral therapy is the best known treatment for AIDS all over the world. This therapy aims at the suppression and the replication of the HIV virus in the body. With a unique combination of the antiretroviral drugs, there has been an effective decrease in the amount of the HIV virus present in the bloodstream of the patient. Not only that, the treatment has shown strides by increasing the count of the T Cells in the blood and thus boosting up the immune system of the body in order to recover from the HIV infection eventually.

If a person who has been prescribed the ART (Antiretroviral treatment) does not take his medications on time, the HIV virus can become resistant to the medication and therefore, will stop responding to it. In cases such as these, some other combination of drugs can be recommended in order to suppress the HIV strain in the body.

With the ART, the patients are provided with a combination of three or more antiretroviral drugs in order to suppress the virus. The incorrectness or the inconsistency of the drug in the bloodstream may cause the virus to mutate and develop a resistance towards the treatment. The amount of virus in the bloodstream is managed every once in a while by the process of Virus load in order to determine the efficiency and success of the treatment.

People undertaking the ART treatment need to be monitored by their health care provider for the side effects that could be caused by the medication. Blood tests are conducted every three months for the detection of the possible side effects. The medication is also helpful in the case of anaemia, low count of the white blood cells as well as to prevent the infections that come along with HIV.

Though other possible treatments such as stem cell transplants, bone marrow transplants, aggressive antiretroviral therapy and MX2 gene have emerged as the possible treatment for HIV AIDS in humans, as of now, nothing has worked so well apart from the ART therapy for the management of the HIV virus in the bloodstream.

Staying Safe, Preventing AIDS

HIV AIDS is spread through the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Prominently spread all over the world since the last three decades, AIDS has emerged out to be one of the most fatal diseases which the humankind has ever known. The virus is known to spread from one person to another via different means and there is no known cure for the virus as of now. Therefore, the only option to protect oneself from AIDS is to be aware of how it spreads and taking preventive measures in order to stop the contamination from one person to the other.

HIV AIDS is spread through the contact with the contaminated blood, semen, mucous or vaginal fluid of the person. The most common way for the spread of the virus is via unprotected sex with a person suffering from the disease. Another common way is by sharing the needles and syringes which have earlier been used.

The best way to prevent the contamination by this disease is to take some precautionary measures at all times against it.

Abstinence is one of the surest ways in order to stop the HIV infection. Abstinence or not having sex of any kind is the surest way to stop the spread of this virus via sexual contact. Also, in case of married people, it is recommended to get tested and know the HIV status of your spouse. WHO has encouraged the couples to talk to their partners about HIV testing before getting married or having sex!

If both people in a marriage are HIV negative, then the best way to prevent the disease is to remain faithful to one another. Having multiple sexual partners is one of the major reasons for the spread of this disease. The risk of the HIV infection is cut down to a great extent when people engage in faithful relationships.

However, it is a must to use condoms during the vaginal, anal or oral sex. These ensure that the body fluids of two people do not come in contact directly and therefore cuts down the risk to a minimal level. Also, for people who have more than one sexual partner, it is recommended to get tested for HIV on a regular basis. In case of multiple sexual partners, the risk for having Sexually Transmitted Infections increases to a great extent, which paves the way for a greater susceptibility towards the HIV infection.

Lastly, injecting drugs should be a complete no in order to avoid HIV infections. Always check and make sure that you use clean and new needles before injecting and make sure that you do not share the needles with anyone in order to cut down the risk of infection.

In case of HIV which has no known cure, prevention is the best way to make sure that you do not end up infecting yourself with this fatal disease.

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