WHAT IS HIV/AIDS, SYMPTOMS, TRANSMISSION AND PREVENTION?AIDS: This means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
It is caused by a virus known as
HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV).
It was first reported in Los Angeles, USA in the year 1981. Since then, the disease has spread to all other parts of the world.
HIV is a serious blood-infectious organism which attacks the immune (defense) system that combats diseases in the body. When this virus gets into the blood stream, the body becomes defenseless and loses its ability to fight infections. The victim therefore becomes HIV-positive and their system is exposed to diseases which eventually lead to death as a result of general breakdown of the body system.
Human immunodeficiency virus is called a microscopic virusbecause it cannot be seen with the naked eye but with an instrument called electron microscope. This virus can be located in the blood and other body fluid.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is incurable. It is contracted mainly through sex.
TRANSMISSION OF HIV/AIDSHIV is spread (transmitted) through blood contact between a person who is HIV-positive and a normal person. This can happen in a number of ways; namely:
i. Through sexual intercourse.
ii. Through blood transfusion.
iii. Through breast-feeding.
iv. Through injection with an infected needle.
v. By using unsterilized sharp objects that has been infected e.g. razor, clippers, knives etc.
vi. Sharing toothbrush and chewing sticks.
vii. Practice of traditional surgery e.g. blood-letting procedures with unsterilized instruments.
viii. Artificial insemination i.e. an unnatural way of putting a male’s sperm into a female system.
WAYS BY WHICH HIV CANNOT BE SPREAD1. Eating with an HIV-positive person (carrier)
2. Sharing a bed with the carrier
3. Sharing a bathroom or toilet with the carrier
4. Mosquito bite
5. Touching a carrier
6. Sitting with a carrier
7. Sharing writing materials with a carrier
8. Handshake with a carrier.
SYMPTOMS OF HIV/AIDSWhen a person is contracted with AIDS virus, their immune system gradually breaks down and the following symptoms become noticeable.
1. Incurable fever
2. Fatigue that is not attributed to stress
3. Rapid loss of weight
4. Serious breath hazard that is not attributed to case history of lung problems.
5. Chronic diarrhea lasting for more than one month
6. Fast spreading itchy skin irritation and rashes.
7. Swollen or tender nodes over a period of three months
If the above symptoms manifest in a person’s body, he should see a doctor.
EFFECTS OF HIV/AIDSEffects of HIV/AIDS devastating and far-reaching
EFFECTS OF AIDS ON AN INDIVIDUAL1. Complete breakdown of the victims health system
2. Suffering from serious agony and pains.
3. Self-pity, emotional depression, psychological trauma.
4. Inability to work.
5. Financial crisis
6. Marital problems
7. Regular high medical bill
8. Gradual reduction in life expectancy
9. Sudden, untimely death.
EFFECTS OF AIDS ON THE FAMILY1. Increase in dependency ratio
2. Financial crisis
3. Rising number of children-headed households
4. Increase in number of AIDS orphans
5. Increase in number of AIDS-widow and widowers
6. Possibility of rising number of carriers in the family
EFFECTS ON THE COMMUNITY1. Lowering of the productive work force
2. Hindrance to rapid growth and development
CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF HIV/AIDSAt present,
there is no cure for the HIV/AIDSbut it seems the cure for HIV is available which i cannot verify right now. It can only be controlled from spreading through preventive measures in the following ways.
1. Sex education and public enlightenment campaigns against the spread of HIV/AIDS
2. Do HIV/AIDS screening before marriage.
3. Avoid sharing a blade, toothbrush, clippers etc.
4. Blood donors should be screened before their blood is donated.
5. HIV nursing mothers should be discouraged from breast feeding their babies.
COPING WITH HIV/AIDSAs said earlier on, at present, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS and no vaccine to prevent it. The only palliative measures are drugs and known herbal immune boosters that can weaken the virus. To cope with HIV/AIDS, the victim should:
1. Always eat an adequate diet.
2. Use the prescribed drugs regularly.
3. Visit the doctors regularly.
4. Be loved and cared for.
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