Nancy Tirthani
. Life is the greatest gift that one can have on this planet. We realise how delicate and fragile human life is when we are faced with a deadly disease like AIDS. We are distressed with the realization that a precious life may no longer exist.

AIDS is one of the leading life threatening diseases of the 21st century. AIDS stands. for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. By killing or damaging cells of the body’s immune system, HIV progressively destroys the body’s ability to fight infections.

Inadequate knowledge about AIDS, lack of self discipline as well as lack of knowledge are primarily responsible for the spread of the disease on a large scale. Over the past 25 years, nearly 25 million people have died from AIDS, HIV/AIDS causes debilitating illness and premature death of people in the prime of their lives. It is also responsible for the devastation of a large number of families.

The young generation is highly prone to suffer from this disease. It seems that the future of the coming generation is in doldrums, Preventive measures are very vital to stop AIDS from spreading.

There are certain common and important facts about the disease which should be known to everyone to prevent this deadly. AIDS disease.

Transmission and Prevention

  1. HIV is spread most often through unsafe sexual relationship with an infected partner. Avoid such relations.
  2. If HIV infected blood is given to a normal person during operations or in severe blood loss due to accidents, the patient can become HIV positive. Hence whenever blood is required, always confirm the blood is HIV negative.

3 AIDS can be spread by using infected injection needles. Always ask the doctor to use disposable syringes. Never share razor blades and used or infected needles.

  1. Women can transmit HIV to their babies during pregnancy or birth. Approximately one-third of all untreated pregnant women infected with HIV will pass the infection to their babies. HIV also can be spread to babies through the breast milk of mothers infected with the virus. If the mother takes certain drugs during pregnancy. she can significantly reduce the chances that her baby will get infected with HIV. If health care providers treat HIV-infected pregnant women and deliver their babies by cesarean section, the chances of the baby being infected can be reduced to a rate of one percent.

Early Symptoms

Many people will not have any symptoms when they first become infected with HIV. They may, however, have a flu-like illness within a month or two after exposure to the virus. This illness may include –

fever, headache, tiredness
Enlarged lymph nodes (glands of the immune system easily felt in the neck and groin)

These symptoms usually disappear within a week or a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, people become infectious as HIV is present in large quantities in their genital fluids.

Later Symptoms

More persistent or severe symptoms may not appear for 10 years or more after HIV first enters the body in adults, or within 2 years in children born with HIV infection. This period is called as ‘window period’. Some people may begin to have symptoms within a few months, while others may be symptom-free for more than 10 years.

As the immune system becomes more debilitated, a variety of complications start to take over. For many people, the first signs of infection are large lymph nodes, or swollen glands that may be enlarged for more than 3 months. Other symptoms often experienced months to years before the onset of AIDS include –

Lack of energy
Weight loss
Frequent fevers and sweating
Persistent or frequent yeast infections (oral or vaginal)
Persistent skin rashes or flaky skin
Pelvic inflammatory disease in women that does not respond to treatment
Short-term memory loss

The negative effects of AIDS are devastating, in terms of lives lost, human suffering, shattered families and communities, lower economic productivity and higher health care cost.

Some Common Fallacies

The disease does not spread by touching or living with infected persons or by using utensils and clothes of an infected person.

It is not spread by sneezing or coughing or by insect bites. The virus cannot survive very long outside the human body.

New technologies to prevent HIV transmission remain imperative. With nearly 7,000 people being infected with HIV each day, accelerating the research to find a vaccine for a complete cure of the disease is becoming a global health and development priority in the world.


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