Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (or AIDS) is a disease caused by the infection from HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). It affects our body’s natural defenses against illness. The way it affects is by destroying the infecting the body and killing a type of white blood cell known as T-helper or the CD4 cells. It ruins this and replicates itself within the organization. This renders the person infected to be utterly helpless as he/she finds it harder to fight off diseases and infections. It takes its time to affect the human body, sometimes even 15-16 years, until your body can’t defend against the most basic of viruses and bacteria. What’s worse is that symptoms don’t show up as a major upset but creep in like common daily illnesses.
Basic facts about AIDS
AIDS is not exactly a disease but a set of symptoms or syndromes which the human body experiences. Sometimes the symptoms are harsh, and might even lead to death. They develop over time as the HIV spreads within your body, killing off all your white blood cell (T-helper). There currently is no fixed cure for HIV, as it is still under study. However, with the right treatment, a person infected with HIV can live a longer and a healthier life, although it doesn’t ensure the removal of HIV from the system. The treatment to be taken is the ART (or the antiretroviral therapy). It helps in slowing and almost preventing the virus from developing.
Transmission of the disease
- Sexually – The disease can be spread through the exchange or contact of sexual fluids during any sexual behavior. It is recommended to use a condom to prevent HIV from transferring.
- Perinatal – A mother infected with HIV can transmit the virus over to her unborn baby during pregnancy or to her newly born child through breastfeeding.
- Blood transmission – Although the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion is extremely low due to extensive screening and checking of the blood, it still is a way HIV can be infected with others. However, sharing or re-using the same syringes which have been used on contaminated bodies is also a factor.
Myths regarding AIDS
- It cannot be transmitted through physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.).
- Using the same utilities like cutlery, towels, toilets, etc.
- It cannot transfer through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Any casual contact or touching unbroken skin are also factors not responsible for the transfer of HIV/AIDS.