10 Facts on HIV and AIDS
Facts about HIV
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) impairs the functionality of the immune system cells by infecting them.
- HIV infection gradually deteriorates the immune system and impairs body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.
- In its advanced stages, the HIV infection grows to become Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). When a person is infected with AIDS, he or she is vulnerable to more than 20 opportunistic infections or related cancers.
- HIV is transmitted through unprotected oral and anal intercourse, transfusions of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments etc. It can also be transmitted from mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. With preventive intervention, mother-to-child HIV transmission can be completely avoided.
- AIDS is a leading infectious killer in the world. On an average, it claims about 2 million lives annually. An estimated 2.7 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2008. Until today, HIV is accountable for more than 27 million lives.
- More than 1200 children get infected by HIV every day. Most of them get the infection from their HIV-positive mother in the course of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
- Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is an effective way to prevent the multiplication of HIV in the body. It works by stopping the reproduction of HIV and helps the immune cells to live longer. Furthermore, ART also provides protection from other infections. Today, more than 5.2 million people in low and middle income countries have access to antiretroviral therapy. This is a twelve-fold increase since the year 2003.
- To prevent HIV infection, you need to either abstain from sex or practice safe sexual. Get yourself tested regularly and avail treatments for sexually transmitted infections; if you have to undergo tests that involve the use of blood, make sure that the equipments such as needles or syringes are new, disposable and others are tested for HIV.
- There are more than 33.4 million people with HIV/AIDS living across the world. Most of them are from low and middle-income countries. The 2010 guidelines by WHO have expanded the estimated number of people recommended for AIDS treatment from 10 million to 15 million.
- Fever-like illness with fever, rash, enlarged lymph nodes and joint pain are some of the symptoms of AIDS.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Nov 29, 2011
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