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 the 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.
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
- 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-
- 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
4. AIDS can be managed
Though there is no cure for AIDS, 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.