Every year on December 1st since 1988, World AIDS day is celebrated successfully to spread awareness about the global spread of AIDS and the methods by which one can prevent the transmission of this forsaken disease.
People all over the world are educated on this day in a hope to prevent and eradicate this disease once and for all. The need for this day arises owing to the fact that over 40 million people worldwide have lost their lives to this disease which has no cure and thus requires to be prevented since once the infection has been transmitted, one or the other complications. Active new research has lead to the development of new medication – antiretroviral therapy has lead to decrease in death rate, however.
What is AIDS?
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a viral infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a retrovirus that takes over the control over the host’s cells and causes the infection to spread really rapidly.
It is usually a sexually transmitted disease but there are many other ways by which this can be acquired. AIDS can affect anyone and everyone and people who acquire this usually pass away due to the complications which are delayed using antiviral medication.
How Does Someone Get AIDS?
The spread of AIDS can be through any of the following means-
- Sexual contact without protection- higher risk for sex workers, people with multiple partners, etc.
- Needle transmission- can happen via same needles used by drug abusers, needles used by the tattoo parlors.
- Lab Workers who suffer a pinprick such that there is a risk of their blood in contact with the affected and medical staff who are in exposure to the body fluids of the patient are at risk of contracting the disease.
- Vertical transmission- from mother to child is possible- newborn may or may not suffer from AIDS hence patients are usually advised against having children.
Do You Think You Might Be Infected?
Seek help immediately. Time is very very crucial. If you have had unprotected sexual intercourse with someone you’re not familiar with or someone who could be at risk of having the infection, if you have suffered a needle prick in the laboratory or elsewhere suspicious; go to the nearest medical centre near you and do not worry about stigma- antiretroviral therapy is most effective when started immediately.
When Should You Not Panic?
You might be worrying you have AIDS if the following events occur but that’s not the case usually-
- If you use personal objects or are in non-sexual contact with people with AIDS.
- If you share food with people suffering from AIDS.
Such misconceptions should be avoided so as to make sure that the patients suffering from the disease don’t feel alienated by the society.
Diagnosis Of AIDS
AIDS is diagnosed in the laboratory using many tests, the most important one among them being the Western Blotting and ELISA both that using antibodies to test for the presence of antigens in the body.
AIDS is not diagnosed immediately unless the people are aware of the disease and take sufficient precautions. Therefore the condition is usually diagnosed when the complications of The disease present themselves in the patient.
Complications of HIV infection
Superinfection is the first and main complication of HIV infection because the viruses that attack the host attack and destroy the immune system. Decreased immunity makes the patient susceptible to diseases they once weren’t- such as Candida albicans, Toxoplasmosis, etc. Such patients are also more prone to getting infected by diseases such as tuberculosis. Some patients develop different forms of cancer following a retroviral infection.
Death of an AIDS patient could occur from very mild infections that present very severely in them.
How Can We Prevent AIDS?
- Always use condoms while having sex. You or your partner may already be on the pill but it does nothing to prevent AIDs and other STD.
- Always make sure that the tattoo parlor you visit has sterilized needles or preferably disposable needles.
- Avoid sexual contact with multiple partners especially if you are not sure of the sexual history.
- Do not abuse drugs. Worst case scenario at least Right to avoid sharing needles, you never know who has been infected.
- If you have any suspicion of having contracted the disease contact a doctor or a medical professional immediately.
There are no home remedies for AIDS. While this may be true for most diseases it is most valuable in case of AIDS- prevention is better than cure, especially when there is no cure.