AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome which is a fatal disease caused by a virus known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus of AIDS attacks human white blood cells and thus weakens the immunity system. Since the AIDS virus reduces the natural immunity, patients become more prone to many other infections or diseases, in fact, most patients with AIDS die from what are known as secondary infections. Death occurs because the body cannot repel the pathogens of secondary infections since the natural defence mechanism has been destroyed by the AIDS Virus.
The AIDS disease spreads through the following ways:
- Through unprotected sex with a person infected with the AIDS virus.
- Through the transfusion of blood infected with the AIDS virus.
- Through the use of infected needles for injections.
- Through an infected mother to her child either during pregnancy or during child birth.
AIDS in India was first detected in 1986 and in the USA was detected five years earlier in 1981. The disease is said to have taken the form of an epidemic in Africa and some other Western countries basically due to undesirable sexual practices. Also, in India the disease has started spreading to taking alarming proportions.
It is important to understand the symptoms of this disease, which are usually as follows:
- swollen lymph node
- regular fever
- sweating at night
- weight loss
The Aids virus causes severe damage to the brain and may lead to loss of memory, concentration and the ability to speak.
Prevention and Control-
At present there is no medicine or vaccine that can cure AIDS, so once a person gets it, they are sure to suffer from all the complications related to the disease. The following steps may prove helpful in controlling the infection of the dreaded disease:
- People should be well educated about the transmission of AIDS.
- Disposable syringes and needles should be used for injections.
- High risk groups should refrain from donating blood.
- Before receiving blood for transfusion, one should ensure that it has been screened for HIV.
- The common razor at the barber’s shop should not be used.