Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a fatal disease that occurs when the body gets infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A devastating condition that affects the human immune system, the virus interferes with the immune system, making the person extremely sensitive to infections like tuberculosis and also opportunistic infections and tumors. The symptoms of the infection are referred to as AIDS.
Important facts about HIV/AIDS
- More than 35 million people in the world are living with AIDS.
- Approximately 3.2 million of the infected people are below the age of 15.
- Approximately 25 million people have died of AIDS around the world.
- HIV originated from Africa and spread globally in less than 10 years.
- According to global statistics, women are more prone to HIV than men.
- HIV is mainly spread through a) unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, oral) with someone infected and b) sharing needles or syringes, c) being born to an infected mother or d) blood transfusions.
- A person cannot be infected from touching someone with HIV/AIDS or by using public bathrooms or swimming pool or by bug bites.
- HIV virus can survive in dried blood at room temperature for about six days and for weeks if wet (in syringes or needles).
- Those infected by HIV are more likely to age prematurely because of the chronic inflammation caused by HIV, even during antiretroviral treatment.
- About a month after contracting HIV, some people will develop flu-like symptoms. After this initial response, a person can have HIV for years before actually feeling ill.
The main goal of HIV treatment is to fight the virus in the body and to do so with minimal side effects. The side effects of this treatment can be cured, but additionally a few things need to be kept in mind:
- Have a good diet
- Avoid smoking
- Switch to another treatment, if the side effects are not bearable
- Do not stop taking the medication or change it without the permission of the doctor as it can be dangerous
Today, on World AIDS Day (1st December), let us create awareness about this disease and be a part of the global initiative taken up by the ‘National AIDS Trust’ (NAT).