HIV & AIDS are two much-talked about subjects. However, true awareness about this topic is very limited, with many people believing that HIV & AIDS are the same. Well, it is not! I would like to take the opportunity to use the podium of The Radiant Women’s Journal, to share my extensive work experience on HIV & AIDS with UNESCO & CARE. I hope this will be valuable and make you cognizant about HIV & AIDS on a reasonable note to take care of yourself & your loved ones.
HIV: Human ImmunoDeficiency Virus:
It is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defence system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV.
White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV infects and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If too many CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer defend itself against infection.
The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and are susceptible to infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be fatal.
However, having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDS- usually 10 to 12 years.
With treatment, many people with HIV can live long and active lives.
What causes HIV?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes HIV infection. You can get HIV from contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.
- Most people get the virus by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV.
- Another common way of getting it is by sharing drug needles with someone who is infected with HIV.
- The virus can also be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
HIV does not survive well outside the body. So it cannot be spread by casual contact like kissing or sharing food or drinks with an infected person.
Please share your thoughts or any question on the subject with me. It will be my privilege to spread the awareness of the right knowledge. In my next post, I will share “Symptoms, Prevention and Myths about HIV & AIDS”.
Written By Isha Sharma
Edited By Sana Arabi
Compiled By Humera Chowdhry