AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic disease. It is caused by the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus attacks the immune system, causing a potential life threat. Initially, the infected person may not show any or negligible symptoms like dry cough, chills, nausea, fever, body aches, and loss of appetite. A prolonged period with no symptoms may make it seem normal, but over time, the virus interferes more with the immune system, which makes the body much vulnerable to infections and results in tumors and tuberculosis. Such symptoms which show up later are said to be Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Abnormal weight loss can be seen in this stage.

Causes of AIDS

The cause of AIDS is HIV infection. The virus copies its RNA into the host cell’s DNA, altering the genetics of the body. This ability of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) makes it a retrovirus. HIV targets and destroys the White Blood Cells (WBCs). The white blood cells are known as the immunity cells as they fight against any foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria, fungus, or any other infections and diseases. As the WBCs weaken, the overall immune system gets disturbed and weak, resulting in the inability of the body to fight against any disease.

How Does the Virus Transmit?

HIV is mainly transmitted from unprotected sexual intercourse through genital, oral, or rectal parts. The body fluids released during sexual activity transmit the virus from one infected body to the healthy body. Other than that, it can also transmit through pre-natal and blood.

In the case of blood, using the same needles as used on HIV positive person on a healthy person can easily infect the person. Even, transfusion of blood of an HIV-infected person into the body of a healthy person transmits the virus.
In pre-natal transmission, the virus is transmitted through the mother to the baby during pregnancy, during delivery, or through breastfeeding.

Treatment

AIDS is a lifelong disease that neither has a cure nor vaccine. But it can be treated and prevented. People have the misconception that HIV can even spread with minimum touch or contact with the infected person, without any sexual contact necessarily. It is important to have protected sex to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. After all, prevention is better than cure.

It is advised to have safe sex and wear condoms by any of the partners, be it male or female. It not only prevents unplanned pregnancy but also safeguards against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
It is better to get tested for HIV routinely and to have a restricted number of partners to have sex with.

Stigma Related to AIDS

Many people still have the misconception that AIDS is contagious and often maintain a distance from people with AIDS. There have been various instances where people with AIDS are not accepted socially. They are often not offered jobs or terminated from their jobs after finding their disease.

Many cultures and religions discourage the use of condoms as they believe it is a barrier to the natural process. Such ill practices contribute to the spread of such diseases.

Conclusion

HIV is not a contagious disease; however, it is life-threatening. Being bullied or secluded by people makes it much tougher for HIV patients to survive. They are already suffering, and discrimination against them makes them mentally suffer more than they are already suffering physically due to the underlying disease.

HIV-positive patients can lead healthy and normal life with proper treatment, love, and affection. It is important to create awareness among people regarding AIDS. Educating them about the fatality and the importance of getting tested on a regular basis for HIV is crucial.

Categories: Health

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