AIDS Awareness Programme – Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention
AIDS, known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is an advanced state of HIV. The HIV is short for human immunodeficiency virus that can affect anyone – the young or old, and people belonging to any community, culture, race, or gender. However, not all individuals having HIV advances to AIDS. A healthy lifestyle and timely medication can help a person to live numerous productive years with this disease.
Our body consists of specific cells comprising the immune system. These cells are helpful in combating several infections and diseases. The HIV virus attacks on these specific cells and weakens the immune system. The forensic experts are still finding cure for this disease, but there are medicinal methods and care programmes that can restrain the condition from becoming AIDS. Moreover, AIDS occurs when CD4 cells, known as lymphocytes, are reduced to under 220 cells per cubic meter of blood. These cells are responsible for coordinating the human body’s immune response.
How HIV is Caused –
Anyone can get human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – some get it through blood transfusion or other risky behaviours. Infants might have it from infected mothers during nine-months gestation (pregnancy), childbirth, or through breast-feeding.
Intoxicants & Drugs
Sharing sterilizing equipment or needles with a person having HIV rises the risk of spreading the virus. Please note that an HIV virus can live up on a used syringe, blade, or needle for up to 40 days.
The risk of catching an HIV virus is high when you regularly have unprotected sex or have multiple sex partners. When you are high or intoxicated, the drug overshadows your self-consciousness or shyness, forcing you to take major risks that you might inhibit yourself to take if you were sober. These risks include unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse or sex with multiple partners.
Symptoms of HIV –
It is possible that a person can have HIV and doesn’t show any symptom. However, regular testing is one of the best ways to identify this disease.
Phase 1 – Subtle Signs of HIV
During the initial stage, various flu-like symptoms can be seen within two to four weeks, such as –
- Mouth Ulcers
- Pain in Muscles
- Intense Sweating
- Tiredness & Drowsiness
These symptoms can persist from a few days to numerous weeks. However, it is also possible that a person might be suffering from Phase 1 HIV and not experience any signs.
Phase 2 – Chronic/Long-lasting Infection
Regardless of the Phase 1 symptoms, a person can still experience a chronic infection. This phase, just like phase 1, can go undetected for a long time. It is also seen that a person having HIV can also live up to a decade without getting any medical assistance; a warning – reportedly, if the disease has progressed quickly, a person might die within a few years.
Phase 3 – AIDS
As HIV attacks the immune system, the disease can eventually progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some signs of AIDS are –
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Rapid Weight Loss
- Long-Term Fever/Sweating at Night
- Unexplained Fatigue
How to Prevent HIV –
People can reduce their chances of HIV by taking the following healthy practices –
- Engage in safe sexual acts like always using a condom during the intercourse
- Stay monogamous – a fewer people you contact, reduces the risks of having sex with an infected person
- Get tested for any STDs or STIs
- Don’t indulge in drugs – it may lead to risky behaviour such as needle or syringe sharing
Naveen Kiran Drug Counselling & Rehabilitation Centre organized an overall awareness programme in collaboration with Uttarakhand State Aid’s Control Society, State Voluntary Advisory Board and Government District Hospital. The prime purpose was to let the suffering and recovering alcoholics and addicts learn for themselves the reasons behind this fatal disease, its symptoms and measures to be adopted for its control.
To add to the documentary shown and explained by our experts a service-oriented blood examination camp was also organized. This exercise was conducted to ensure that none of the in-house patients were suffering from this fatal disease.