AIDS Full Form is Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a severe medical condition where the immune system of an individual becomes extremely weak that the body is unable to fight any infection. The common cause of AIDS is HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus which attacks T-cells of the immune system in the body very gradually and when ignored – completely.
When the immune system of the body weakens it becomes easy for the viruses, bacteria, and fungi to attack the body and cause sickness. If the HIV is not detected and treated in very early stage, it gives room to AIDS. During the initial stage of HIV infection, a person will have the symptoms of common influenza-like illness.
AIDS is a term used to refer a condition when the HIV infection has reached its advanced stage. There have been huge steps taken by various healthcare centers and other associations to bring awareness among people all over the world on how to prevent oneself from AIDS/HIV. Ever since AIDS was first identified in 1981, over 30 million people are reported to have died.
AIDS Full Form – Important Information
The world is grappling with enemies that have become formidable with time. We are talking about diseases or illnesses, which have taken over the world and caused millions to suffer. It is impossible to find one place on the earth, which remains unaffected with the spread of dangerous, life-threatening illnesses. Sadder reality is that many of such diseases have recently emerged and there is a lack of adequate treatment or preventive measures so you end up with hopelessness till your death.
The present fraught conditions in respect of the treatment of such life-threatening diseases have become a major concern for world leaders, who are investing billions in R&D to foster advanced and quick research on this problem. Despite such efforts from world leaders towards the alleviation of the effects of such illnesses, many illnesses have visibly outwitted the scientific community and caused a great crisis in different parts of the globe, particularly underdeveloped and developing nations, which lack sufficient resources to tackle them with an effective measure. Even developed nations seem helpless to the virulent effects of these illnesses. One such example is Ebola outbreak that took away lives of many in the African continent.
Of such illnesses the world dreads, AIDS is the most commonly known illness, as much debate, and research have happened in the recent past and continues to happen till date. The nature and consequences of this illness are fatal to the individual, ultimately leading to death. Research institutes from across the globe are still grappling with the task of finding an absolute treatment to this problem.
AIDS is not a regional problem and therefore, everyone must actively participate in the process of understanding and prevention of AIDS. There are certain key points about this disease that need to be understood, as they highlight important aspects that are generally ignored by the public. To understand AIDS, one must know the following ten things about it.
Basics about AIDS:
Also known as Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), it refers to a series of conditions that are resultants of the Human immunodeficiency virus. When a person is affected by this virus, he suffers through a chain of health conditions that slowly deteriorate the immune system of the body. In the initial stages, a person often reports to suffer influenza but in later stages, the body starts becoming weaker and vulnerable to diseases like tuberculosis that generally do not occur in individuals with a healthy, responsive immunity system. The symptoms, which occur in the latter stages, are referred to as AIDS. In this stage, the person may suffer lung infections, weight loss, skin disorders, and other diseases.
Stages of AIDS:
AIDS occurs in stages, which are marked by certain conditions that differ with every stage. The more stages a person goes through, the weaker and more vulnerable the immunity system becomes to diseases. There are three stages: acute infection, clinical latency, and AIDS.
The first stage is the Acute Infection stage. It is the initial stage where individuals develop symptoms, which are akin to those of influenza or mononucleosis. Apart from these symptoms, there are fever, throat inflammation, and pain in the private areas. The symptoms observed during this stage are not certain and therefore, early detection of AIDS becomes difficult.
The second stage is Clinical latency, which is also referred to as Chronic HIV stage. The time duration of this stage depends on whether there were early treatments done in this respect and varies from three years to twenty years. The most common symptoms during this stage are weight loss, gastrointestinal complications, muscular pains, or unusual enlargement of lymph nodes, etc.
The final stage is AIDS, which is defined in terms of cell counts or occurrence of symptoms scientifically associated with HIV infections. If not treated at early stages, people develop AIDS within a span of ten years. The most common symptoms during this stage are specific and hence, clearer indicators of the virus. Some of the symptoms are lung tract infections, cachexia, pneumocystis pneumonia, etc. At this stage, almost every organ of the system is generally affected and weakened.
Causes of HIV infection/AIDS:
There are many prevalent stereotypes in respect of AIDS and its transmission like eating together, sharing rooms, etc. These are but ways to harass individuals with AIDS and to bar them from social interaction and other benefits of the community to which they belong. HIV infection is transmitted through sexual contact, body fluids, and vertical transmission (which is transmission from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding)
Sexual contact is the leading cause of AIDS. Having sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person can transmit the infection to the unaffected and that is why the condom drive became a worldwide phenomenon. Reports have indicated that unprotected sexual intercourse runs a high risk of contracting HIV infections and the statistics are higher in developing and underdeveloped countries, where public awareness is below the minimum standard and prevalent social constraints deny access to condoms.
Body fluids are the second highest leading cause of HIV infection, which occurs through blood and blood products. Needle sharing, needle stick injury, transfusion of infected blood, or use of unsterilized injections are the most common ways of transmission of HIV infections. Also, people who go for tattooing and piercing are also at high risk of being infected with the virus. Vertical transmission is the third cause of HIV infection transmission. It generally happens during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding and that is why it is recommended that women run tests of AIDS so as to ensure the safety of the child.
Prevention of AIDS:
There are many preventive measures available to curb the spread of HIV Virus. These preventive measures have become principle elements of the worldwide public awareness drive that attempts to make public aware of the causes and effects of AIDS and teach them about ways by which people can protect themselves from any such risks. The most commonly suggested preventive measure is the use of a condom during sexual intercourse. It has been reported that use of condoms can reduce the risk of infection by about 80%.
There have been many female condoms in the market, which are considered to be equally effective as male condoms. Antiretroviral treatment is an effective way of preventing HIV infection infecting your body system. Pre-exposure prophylaxis is considered effective if daily medications are taken regular health procedures are observed.
In order to prevent vertical transmission, certain measures have to be observed and regularly followed. For examples where children run the risk of contracting HIV infections, then mothers should opt for bottle feeding, instead of breastfeeding. There is no licensed AIDS drug but researches have been made in this regard and some success has been recently attained.
Treatment for AIDS:
Currently, there is no cure for AIDS but there are certain measures, which can be taken in order to treat it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a systematic diet for those who have AIDS. It has stated that AIDS patient must adopt a diet enriched with nutrients that provide effective treatment remedies to AIDS in early stages. Evidence shows that micronutrients have benefited AIDS patient and significant progress has been reported in many types of research.
Researchers recommend that opportunistic infections must be tackled, as they are majorly responsible for the weakening of immunity system in the first and second stage. Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT), the tuberculin skin test are some of the tests that are recommended to AIDS patient. These tests provide substantial protection from such infections.
Expanse of AIDS:
AIDS is a worldwide pandemic and has spread in almost every corner of the world and thus, it is one of the most serious concerns for the international society. In the year 2012, it was reported that the current statistics stand at approximately 35 million patients, who are affected with AIDS or HIV infection. The result shows that the number has gone down to a great level from the year 2000 and this success is credited majorly to public awareness programs.
South Africa has the world’s largest number of HIV-infected patients with an estimate of approximately 6 million. Sub-Saharan region, on the whole, is the worst affected with the majority of the patients being women. South East Asia or the Indian subcontinent the second most affected region in the world, with 2.4 million patients in India alone.
AIDS is, however, less prevalent in East Asia. In the European region, the worst affected are Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Latvia, and Portugal. There are signs of a decrease in the number of HIV patients from the last decade but the picture is still dismal and much is to be done in this respect.
Social stigma about AIDS:
HIV patients have to go through social isolation and bullying because of their health condition. Many stereotypes have come into existence, which have only added to the misery of these patients. There are States, which allow forced HIV testing without consent, violation of confidentiality, and violence against these individuals. Much of the stigma arise out of fear to contract the illness.
With the purpose of doing away with such stigmas that only aggravate the condition of the patient, worldwide campaigns have emerged that challenge the settled, orthodox notions about AIDS patients and spread awareness about the falsity in such notions. After years of campaigns, positive results have emerged as people have become more aware of the nature of the illness and started to shed off their stigma against AIDS patients.
Economic impact of AIDS:
AIDS impacts not only society but also the economics of a nation and this has been proved from various surveys and statistics. The loss of human resources due to the disease is palpable on the Gross Domestic Product and the underdeveloped and developing nations are most affected by it. There is a lack of health care and treatment facilities for AIDS patients, which have only worsened the situation.
Reports suggest that HIV infection reduces the taxable population, which then naturally puts pressure on the State to arrange for other means of financial resources. A study in Côte d’Ivoire showed that areas which house HIV patients have spend twice on health expenses. This clearly shows that AIDS have had a major impact on the global economy and that is why world leaders are investing so much to ensure that an early and effective solution is reached at before it is too late.
It is the most unfortunate case that criminal transmission is becoming rampant and hampering the efforts made by the States in curbing the disease. Criminal Transmission, as the name makes it clear, is the deliberate transmission of HIV infection. Many cases have shown that HIV-infected persons often undertake such activities out of anger and vengeance on the society but there are cases where such transmission is purely for abnormal reasons.
Public awareness programs have initiated caution campaigns against such transmission and advise people to take caution while dealing with doctors or medics. Most of the criminal transmission occur in clinics and therefore, patients must make necessary assessments before undergoing any treatment.
Misconceptions about AIDS:
Though should have been ordinarily dealt under the Social Stigma section but this requires a distinct head, as it indicates the astounding lack of awareness about the causes and effects of this illness. There are some shocking misconceptions regarding HIV infection; one being the belief that sexual intercourse with a virgin cures AIDS. This belief is largely prevalent in South Africa and is one of the root causes of the rise in the number of HIV patients in that region.
There is another belief that HIV only infects homosexuals and drug addicts. Another is that anal intercourse between two, uninfected persons causes HIV. Apart from these, discussion on AIDS in schools, kissing, sharing food or a toilet seat, etc are wrongly believed to cause AIDS. What is interesting to note that there exist conspiracy theories, for example, the United States has been accused of creating the disease. Public campaigns have taken up this issue and raised strong voices against such baseless misconceptions founded on idiotic theories and reasons.