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HIV and AIDS Awareness

HIV attacks the immune system, destroys the cells and makes the immune system weak to fight off against infections and diseases. Unlike other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV completely as the virus affects the immune cells. Hence, the virus stays in the body for lifetime after its primary entry. HIV and AIDS are not the same. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus which causes the disease Acute Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV may remain inactive in the body of an individual for years and hence it remains undetected till the advancement of the disease. Regular tests for the detection of the virus are suggested by the doctors. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, and not everyone who has HIV advances to this stage immediately. It is the stage of infection that occurs when the immune system is damaged to a level where it cannot tackle attacks by other infectious agents, thus making the body vulnerable to attacks by opportunistic pathogens.

There are myths that are associated with AIDS and these myths among the people make the lives of those affected by the chronic disease difficult. Here are few basic details that everyone needs to know so the myths associated with the disease can fade. How the disease is communicated:  HIV is spread only through certain fluids from a person infected by the virus. Exchange of only these body fluids is the cause of transmission of the virus from an infected individual.  Blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk are the body fluids that transmit the disease.  The most common transmission of the virus is through sexual intercourse or exchange of needles between HIV positive and negative individuals.  Transmission from an infected mother to the infant through placenta before birth or through breast milk post birth is also common but can be prevented if the infected individual is under regular medications.  Oral sex or deep kissing can also transmit the disease in cases where the saliva is contaminated with blood of infected individual and fuses with that of uninfected. Though the exchange of fluids is the primary method of transmission, the risk of transmission is lesser in cases where the infected individual is under regular medications. The disease is not communicated by:     

Air or water as the virus cannot survive long outside the human body. Sharing the restrooms or touching the same objects like linens, towels. Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat. Shaking hands, hugging or sleeping in the same bed. Sharing food utensils, swimming in the same pool or doing leisure activities together.  Bites of mosquitos or any other insect or animal.

So break the myths, those infected by the disease are not meant to have an antisocial life. Any HIV infected individual, with regular medications can lead a normal life. We need to empathize with those fighting the disease not sympathize.

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HIV and AIDS Awareness