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Today, 1 December marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day and this being one of the most serious diseases, it is time to get more awareness in the issue. This date has been observed by UN member states to support and commemorate people living with HIV and those who have lost their life fighting the disease.
Things you should know about HIV/AIDS:
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
What is HIV?
It is a lentivirus which means, it is a strain of virus that tends to have a long incubation period. This virus targets the body’s immune system by weakening body’s all defence systems against infections and some types of cancer.
The difference between HIV and AIDS
HIV have three stages of the virus: Acute Infection, Clinical Latency and AIDS.
Acute Infection have symptoms like fever, sore throat, swollen glands, rash, muscle and joint aches, and headaches.
In the Clinical Latency stage, the HIV reproduces at a very low level but it is active. In this stage, if you undergo ART (Antiretroviral therapy), one can love for several decades with treatment.
AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection and it can take from 2 to 15 years to develop. At this stage, the patient’s immune system is so badly damaged that one becomes vulnerable to catch up any opportunistic infections. Even with full treatment, people with AIDS typically survives about 3 years and if the illness is major, the life-expectancy falls to about 1 year.
How is HIV contracted?
• HIV is transmitted through exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected individuals.
• It can be transmitted through blood, breast milk, fluids exchanged during sexual relations that already carry the virus.
• Re-using needles of an infected individual can also lead to infection.
• Blood transfusion from an infected individual account for the majority of HIV contractions.
• As per World Health Organisation, unprotected anal or vaginal sex is the most common form of becoming infected.
• An individual is at a higher risk in unprotected sex if an individual already have another sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
Never shy away from getting HIV test.
Spread the awareness and stay healthy!
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Author: Srinanti Bagchi
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