Aids Information

By: Juliet Cohen

Aids is a very serious illness. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. AIDS may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth. The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go a month or two after infection. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later. HIV is genetically variable and exists as different strains, which cause different rates of clinical disease progression.
HIV/AIDS stigma is more severe than that associated with other life-threatening conditions and extends beyond the disease.

The symptoms of AIDS are primarily the result of conditions that do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems. Most of these conditions are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that are normally controlled by the elements of the immune system that HIV damages. Opportunistic infections are common in people with AIDS. HIV affects nearly every organ system. People with AIDS also have an increased risk of developing various cancers such as Kaposi's sarcoma, cervical cancer and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) increase the risk of HIV transmission and infection because they cause the disruption of the normal epithelial barrier by genital ulceration and/or microulceration.

There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. Current treatment for HIV infection include of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. Daily multivitamin and mineral supplements have been found to decrease HIV disease sequence among men and women. Various forms of alternative medicine have been tried to treat symptoms or alter the course of the disease. Reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors medicines interfere with a critical step during the HIV life cycle and keep the virus from reproducing. Protease inhibitors medicines interfere with a protein that HIV uses to produce infectious viral particles. Other drugs can prevent or treat opportunistic infections (OIs). In most cases, these drugs work very well. The newer, stronger ARVs have also helped reduce the rates of most OIs.

Aids Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Clean the needle before using.

2. Don't have sex with prostitutes.

3. Do not share needles or syringes.

4. Get professional help for terminating the drug habit.

5. Antiretroviral treatment for HIV infection consists of drugs

6. Fusion Inhibitors, such as enfuvirtide are blocking HIV entry into cells.

7. Don't have sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms of AIDS.

8. Avoid having sex with anyone who has multiple and/or anonymous sexual partners.

9. Avoid sexual contact with anyone who has had sex with people at risk of getting AIDS.

10. Avoid oral, genital and anal contact with partner's blood, semen, vaginal secretions, feces or urine.

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