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World AIDS Day – Facts About AIDS You Should Know!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), 37.9 million people are living with AIDS globally. In India alone, 2.1 million people are affected by HIV. Because there are so many people with AIDS, WHO started World AIDS Day (1st December) as an annual event to spread awareness about this condition.

The good news is that the spread of this disease has been slowed down in both India and the world. But we still have a long way to go to completely eradicate AIDS.  

With the goal of spreading awareness, we have created a factsheet on AIDS, which will help you learn more about the disease and prevent it.

A simple but often confused thing with HIV and AIDS is- HIV is a virus that weakens your immune system. AIDS is a condition that can happen as a result of an HIV infection when your immune system is severely weakened. You can’t get AIDS if you aren’t infected with HIV.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

1. It’s not just blood through which HIV spreads

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes AIDS spreads primarily through the exchange of blood (when you share a syringe with an infected person).

But, you can also contract HIV via-

  • Breast milk
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Semen
  • Anal fluid

2. You get AIDS in 4 ways

There are 4 ways you can get AIDS. They are –

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse. Use protection to minimize your chances of contracting AIDS.  
  • The mother can pass AIDS to her child if she is infected.
  • If you have undergone a blood transfusion or organ transplant and the donor had AIDS.
  • Using infected syringes or needles.

3. You DO NOT get HIV through these activities

Since a lot of confusion surrounds this illness, many myths have developed around it. Most of these myths focus on how you can contract AIDS. We will dispel some of the myths below.

You will not get the disease through-

  • Hugging
  • Sharing food
  • Using a toilet or a bathroom used by an AIDS patient
  • If you are near an infected person and he or she coughs
  • The sweat or tears of an AIDS patient
  • Swimming pools that an HIV infected person has swum in (HIV cannot survive in water)
  • Mosquito bites

AIDS is manageable if diagnosed timely. Once diagnosed serial CD4 counts should be monitored. Regular HAART( Highly active antiretroviral therapy) must be taken.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

4. AIDS can be managed

Though there is no cure for AIDS, the treatment ensures that a person can live a full, long and normal life. Antiretroviral drugs do not allow HIV to replicate and spread. These drugs also reduce the strength of the HIV virus.

5. Herbal remedies DO NOT work

Alternative forms of medication are very popular today. But there is no herbal remedy that can cure AIDS. And you should not take them if you are undergoing antiretroviral therapy because the herbal compounds will react with the drugs and make them ineffective.  

With proper treatment and support, a person with AIDS can stay healthy and live a normal life.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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