AIDS: Definition, Transmission, and Prevention

AIDS: Definition

The Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, assaults and destroys particular white blood cells that are crucial to the body’s immune system, resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

When HIV infects a cell, it fuses with the genetic material of that cell and can remain dormant for years. The majority of HIV-positive people are still healthy and can go years without showing any signs or suffering from very minor ailments. They are HIV-positive, but they are not AIDS-positive.

The virus gets activated after a variable amount of time, leading to severe infections and associated symptoms that define AIDS. AIDS is a deadly disease, although there are medicines that can prolong life. The search for vaccines and, eventually, a cure continues. However, for the time being, transmission prevention is the only means of control.

HIV-AIDS Virus Disease

How does HIV spread?

There are only four basic mechanisms of transmission available at this time:

1. Sexual contact (including anal and vaginal); 

2. Infected blood, blood products, tissues, and organs; 

3. Infected needles, syringes, and other piercing devices; and 

4. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT).

Sexual Intercourse

HIV is spread through unprotected sexual contact, which includes any penetrative sexual act that does not involve the use of a condom. An HIV-infected man to a woman or another male, or an infected woman to a man, can transfer the virus through anal and vaginal intercourse.

The likelihood of contracting HIV through unprotected sexual contact is determined by four main factors: the likelihood that the sex partner is infected, the type of sex act, the amount of virus present in the infected partner’s blood or sexual secretions (semen, vaginal, or cervical secretions), and the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases and/or genital lesions in either partner. Young girls are physiologically more sensitive than older girls, therefore age may be a role.

Blood products, tissues, and organs have been contaminated.

Every year, blood transfusions save millions of lives, but in areas where a healthy blood supply is not guaranteed, those who receive transfused blood are at an elevated risk of contracting HIV.

The risk of contracting HIV from transfusions is quite minimal in most developed countries. This is due in large part to excellent recruiting of regular, volunteer blood donors; enhanced donor testing methods; universal screening of blood and blood products with extremely sensitive and specific tests for HIV antibodies; and proper blood use. However, the risk is substantially larger in developing countries. According to one estimate, transfusions may cause up to 5% of HIV infections in high-prevalence locations like Sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of integrated national blood transfusion networks, the absence of unpaid volunteer blood donors, a lack of testing, and the incorrect use of blood products.The HIV-infection status of the donor should be thoroughly assessed to prevent transmission by tissue and organ donation, including sperm for artificial insemination.

Contaminated needles, syringes or other piercing instruments

HIV can be spread via using HIV-infected needles or using other invasive tools. The rapid spread of HIV infection among injectable drug users is due to the sharing of syringes and needles by these individuals in many regions of the world.

Non-medical operations carry a risk if the tools used are not properly sanitised. Ear and body piercing, tattooing, acupuncture, male and female circumcision, and traditional scarification are examples of such operations. The actual risk is determined by the prevalence of HIV infection in the area.HIV transmission via injection equipment can also happen in healthcare settings where syringes, needles, and other devices, such as dental equipment, aren’t properly sterilised, or through the needle and other sharps injuries.

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT)

HIV infection in young children is primarily transmitted from mother to child (MTCT). The virus can be passed from mother to kid throughout pregnancy, labour, and delivery, as well as during breastfeeding after the baby is born. The majority of MTCT occurs around the time of delivery in infected infants who are not nursed (just before or during labour and delivery). Breastfeeding may account for more than one-third of all cases of MTCT transmission in populations where it is the norm. Some signs of HIV infection, such as diarrhoea, are also frequent in infants and children who are not infected, making paediatric AIDS difficult to diagnose. As a result, these signs and symptoms cannot be used to make a diagnosis. There are blood tests that can detect HIV infection in newborns at an early stage. In industrialised countries, these are widely utilised. These tests, however, are highly costly and not widely available in developing nations.

How HIV is not transmitted

Family, friends, and coworkers should not be concerned about contracting HIV from casual contact with an HIV-positive individual at home, at work, or in social situations. These behaviours will not spread the virus:

1. Handshakes, Hugs, and kisses

2. Sneezing or coughing

3. Calling from a public phone

4. paying a visit to a hospital

5. The act of opening a door

6. Sharing utensils for eating or drinking

7. Using Water Fountains

8. Using restrooms or showers

9. Swimming in public pools

10. Being bitten by a mosquito or other insect

If you have HIV, there are several things you can do to keep it from spreading

1. Don’t provide blood, sperm, or organs (kidney, cornea, etc.)

2. Sexual partners should be informed.

3. Do not share needles or syringes.

5. Think about pregnancy carefully

6. Use a bandage to cover any cuts or scrapes until they heal.

7. Don’t share toothbrushes, razors, or other sharp objects

8. Seek STD treatment as soon as possible.

Preventing transmission of HIV via contaminated needles

Needles and syringes should not be shared. In many parts of the world, injecting drug use is one of the fastest rising routes of HIV infection, owing to the frequent sharing of needles, syringes, and drug preparation equipment, which allows the virus to spread quickly.

Keeping children safe

Parents should make sure that their children are aware of the facts about HIV transmission and how to avoid becoming infected. Children should:

1. Be aware that HIV is transmitted through blood;

2. Avoid any skin-piercing procedures or accidental injury from unsterilized needles and other sharp instruments;

3. only have blood transfusions if medically essential and with appropriately tested blood;

4. Avoid the risk of traumatic injury necessitated by traumatic injury necessitated by

Older children require education and encouragement to assist them to avoid contracting HIV through unprotected sexual contact or sharing drug-injecting equipment. Children must also be assured that HIV cannot be spread in any way. They should be encouraged to sympathise with ill children and adults, and they should not be afraid of becoming infected through casual contact with them.

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