India has the third largesr HIV epidemic in the world. In 2017, HIV prevalence among adults of age 15-49 was estimated 0.2%. The figure is small compared to most other middle income countries but becoz of India’s huge population this is equal to 2.1 million people who are suffering from HIV.
So, it is important for us to know about AIDS, what it is, how it affects us, what are the causes and how do we prevent from it.
WHAT IS AIDS
HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infects, making a person more vulnerable to other infection and disease. It is spread by contact with certain body fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.
AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.
HOW IT CAUSES AND SPREADS
HIV is caused by a virus. It can spread through sexual contact or blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, child birth or breastfeeding.
HIV destroys CD4 T-cells. WBCs that play a large role in helping your body fight against disease so the fewer CD4 T-cells you have, the weaker your immune system becomes. So AIDS is diagnosed when then CD4 T-cell count falls below 200 or you have AIDS defining complication such as serious infection on cancer.
To become infected with HIV, infected blood, semen or vaginal secretion must enter your body. This can happen in several ways:
- By having sex- Infection caused by vaginal, anal or oral sex with infected partner. Virus can enter the body through mouth sores or small tears that develop in rectum or vagina during sexual activity.
- By sharing needles- Sharing contaminated needles and syringes also causes HIV and other diseases like hepatitis.
- From blood transfusion- Virus also transmitted by transfusion of contaminated blood.
- During pregnancy or delivery or through breast feeding- Infected mothers can pass their HIV to babies.
So as we know that prevention is better than cure, so here are some steps through which we can protect ourselves from HIV-AIDS.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES FROM HIV-AIDS
- Get tested for HIV- Talk to your partner and get tested for HIV before sex.
- Choose less risky sexual behaviour- HI us mainly spread by anal or vaginal sex if we don’t use a condom or don’t take medicine to treat or prevent HIV.
- Use condom every time when you have sex-. Also read about how to use it correctly.
- Limit your number of sexual partner- The more partner you have the more chances of infection are there.
- Don’t share objects which may leads to transmission of blood- Don’t share objects like needle, shaving blade etc. If you are injecting drug, never share your equipment with other.
So, take these steps and save yourself from HIV/AIDS.