December 1 is marked as World AIDS Day and the whole world comes together to mourn those 35 million people, who have succumbed to the condition ever since its identification in 1984. Despite awareness campaigns undertaken all over the world, we have not been able to conquer Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS and this day is a reminder that it's a still long way to go before the world becomes free of AIDS. The condition is such that it does not show any symptoms in the early stages, and reduces the patient's immune system drastically over time.
What are the early symptoms of the disease?
The early symptoms of the disease include - fever, sore throat, skin rashes, nausea, general body aches and pain, headaches and stomach upset etc. As the infection progresses, the disease further weakens the immune system of the individuals and they undergo weight loss and can have diarrhoea and swollen lymph nodes. This makes early detection and treatment extremely important for HIV patients.
Ways of Transmission
- Transmission through blood: reusing syringes contaminated with HIV infected samples is a very potent cause of transmission
- Sexual transmission: unprotected sexual activities with multiple people and exposure of a person to sexual fluids during physical intimacy
- Perinatal transmission: during pregnancy, childbirth and even breastfeeding, a mother can transmit the infection to her child
Tips for Prevention
- Contact with body fluids: by reducing the risk of exposure to contaminated blood, HIV can be prevented. It is as easy as washing that part of the skin thoroughly that u think might have come in contact with contaminated blood/ fluids.
- Do not share any intravenous drugs (through needles and syringes): Sharing needles exposed to HIV and other infections can not only cause HIV AIDS but also conditions like hepatitis C.
- Unprotected sex exposes a person to the risk of contracting STD's (sexually transmitted diseases)
- HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 36.3 million [27.2–47.8 million] lives so far.
- There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
- There were an estimated 37.7 million [30.2–45.1 million] people living with HIV at the end of 2020, over two thirds of whom (25.4 million) are in the WHO African Region.
- In 2020, 680 000 [480 000–1.0 million] people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million [1.0–2.0 million] people acquired HIV.
- To reach the new proposed global 95–95–95 targets set by UNAIDS, we will need to redouble our efforts to avoid the worst-case scenario of 7.7 million HIV-related deaths over the next 10 years, increasing HIV infections due to HIV service disruptions during COVID-19, and the slowing public health response to HIV.
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