WHAT IS HIV?
With over 40 Million people presently living with the virus HIV has become a scourge that eats deep all over the world. About 28 Million of the infected population is said to be from sub-Saharan Africa, this is about 2/3 of the infected population.
HIV – Human Immune- deficiency Virus. “Human” because it exists in humans. Immune – deficiency because the immune system is weakened. “Virus” because it destroys the antibodies responsible for fighting foreign Antigens. HIV is a virus said to be retrovirus because it is capable of copying and multiplying itself in the body. The test for HIV antibody is called ELISA test. The test seeks to detect the presence of the antibody in the blood.
HIV has a viral protein called Vif, which disables and destroys antibodies. The virus is found in an infected persons’ body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.
HIV is contracted through:
1. Unprotected Sex
2. Blood Transfusion
3. Sharing of unsterilized skin piercing instruments such as clippers, razor blades, needles etc.
HIV is not contagious i.e. it cannot be contracted through casual contact such as touching an infected person, sharing clothes, dishes, toilet seat, and swimming pools. It cannot be contracted through hugging, shaking of hands, being near to an infected person.
HIV is not infections: - it cannot spread through air or water. Ordinarily HIV cannot be transmitted through
kissing. The kiss involving exchange of saliva is unlikely to transmit the virus. Saliva contains very little virus and it is believed that a glass full of saliva would be required to infect someone. However, the presence of sores in the mouth may increase the risk of transmission of HIV during kissing.
The period time between HIV infection and the development of antibodies is called the Window Period. It varies between 2 to 12 weeks on the average. However, the formation of antibodies depends on:
1. The immune response of infected person
2. The amount of virus transmitted
3. The frequency of exposure
In the case of infection through blood transfusion, HIV antibodies occur between 6 to 8 weeks. It may take 6 months in some people for AIDS to manifest whereas it may take as long as 15 years in some other persons. It could take 6 months or more for an infected person who has developed full blown AIDS to die.
WHAT IS AIDS?
HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. “Acquired” because it is passed from one person to another. “Immune Deficiency” because the immune system has been suppressed. “Syndrome” because it is characterized by combination of signs and symptoms. The period between HIV infection and the manifestation of symptoms and signs of AIDS is called Asymptomatic Period
Those whose HIV never turns into AIDS are called long term non progressors.
SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
The AIDS symptoms are: -
1. Rapid Weight Loss
2. Prolonged Diarrhoea
3. Enlargement of glands in the neck, groin and armpit
Other symptoms are pneumonia, persistent cough, persistent fever, skin infections (kaposi sarcoma); a form of skin cancer.
PREVENTION OF THE VIRUS
The A.B.C. approach can be used to stay away from the deadly scourge.
A - Abstinence is the best way of preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Abstain from pre-marital sex.
B - Being faithful to one uninfected partner will prevent HIV infection and other diseases.
C - Correct condom usage provides a high level of protection though not 100% safe.
Abstinence remains the only 100% safe practise. Should you choose to engage in sexual relations contact us on proper way to use a condom.
HIV/AIDS is for real and it kills. Spread the message; not the virus, prevent it or protect yourself before you wreck your life. BEWARE ...