Every 24 hours, an estimated 6,800 people are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (nearly 50 every minute!) and more than 1 million contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS i
...and AIDS is NOT communicable
Every 24 hours, an estimated 6,800 people are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (nearly 50 every minute!) and more than 1 million contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS is the most common pandemic across the world.
You need to know
As the virus multiplies, it damages or kills White Blood Cells (WBCs) and other cells, and the body becomes prey to a wide range of disease-causing microbes. When HIV has destroyed enough white blood cells, the body is no longer able to fight off many infections, and a person begins to get sick. If a person with HIV infection has not had many white cells die, that person feels fine and looks fine.
How does HIV infection spreads?
HIV infection is spread in three ways:
- Sexual intercourse
- Direct contact with infected blood
- From an infected mother to her unborn child
Awareness is important
Although many awareness camps and workshops are being conducted but still majority of the people feel that AIDS is a communicable disease.
Lots of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have also introduced various pages and links related to AIDS awareness.
Prevention is the cure
We talked to Dr KK Aggarwal, consultant, Medicine and Cardiology who gives us an inside view of the disease and clears some facts. “HIV is no more incurable. It is a chronic manageable disease. It can be treated with anti-retroviral drugs. A person on treatment can live for 30-40 years. The main mode of transmission is unprotected sex,”
“The basic emphasis has to be on teaching intervention than on only spreading the knowledge. Things have grown more complicated as far as this disease is concerned. But one basic rule that must be kept in mind is A for abstinence, B for be faithful to your partner, C for using Condoms,” he adds.
Correct use of condoms is important
“It is not the use of condoms which prevents HIV but consistent and correct use of condoms which prevents HIV,” says Himani Singh, a consultant cum counsellor from Delhi.
Tests and their neccessity
“There are lots of tests available for AIDS,” suggests Dr Akshaya Bhalla, physician and HIV/AIDS consultant. One must get oneself checked if :
- If you have had unprotected sex without being sure that your partner was not HIV infected
- If you had unprotected sex with someone you know has HIV or AIDS
- If you had a sexually transmitted disease like genital herpes or syphilis. Having sexually transmitted diseases makes it easier to get HIV.
There is variety of tests available as far as the HIV AIDS test is concerned.
Anti body test: Antibody tests are inexpensive and very accurate. The ELISA antibody test (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent) also known as EIA (enzyme immunoassay) was the first HIV test to be widely used.
ELISA tests are very sensitive and so will detect very small amounts of HIV antibody. This high level of sensitivity however, means that their ability to distinguish HIV antibodies from other antibodies is slightly lowered.
Western blot assay: One of the oldest but most accurate confirmatory antibody tests.
Indirect immunofluorescence assay test: Like the Western blot, but it uses a microscope to detect HIV antibodies.
Cost of the tests :
The cost of these tests depend upon the laboratory charges. Suppose, western blot may cost you Rs 1000 where as another test may cost you Rs.1500. One must go for an HIV 1 and HIV 2 test first.
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