Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as the name implies is a Immune Deficiency syndrome. The bad news is that the disease is fatal. 25 million people throughout the world have died from the AIDS virus since the epidemic began. Today, Aids has reached epidemic proportions (worldwide spread).
The disease is a virus that is passed along from one person to another through exchanging body fluids such as blood or semen (sperm & fluid from a male). The virus is called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus attacks the patient’s white blood cells.
Our white blood cells are what our bodies use to fight off infections. This is why so many AIDS patients die from various types of infections; because they lack the ability to fight off the infection.
The Aids virus is thought to have started in Africa and made it’s way to America in 1981. It was first noticed among the homosexual population and through shared contact like with needles it started to make it way through the heterosexual population as well.
Scientists hope to discover more new drugs to help AIDS victims manage their disease better and perhaps even stem the flow of fatalities.
In U.S.A., AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 25 through 44.
The AIDS virus can be passed from one person to another through various ways:
- By having sexual contact that includes anal sex, oral sex, or vaginal sex.
By way of blood either through a blood transfusion (which is rare now in the U.S.A. because of precautions taken) or by sharing a needle, or being stuck by a needle accidentally (as in medical personnel)
A mother can pass on the Aids virus to her unborn baby because of the shared blood circulation in utero.
A mother can pass on AIDS virus through her breast milk.
It is rare for AIDS to be transmitted through artificial insemination (donor sperm) or organ transplants due to precautions taken, but it is possible.
You cannot contact the HIV virus merely by casually contact: hugging, touching the person in passing, or when playing alongside them in sports, or by being bit by a mosquito.
The following people are at highest risk for contracting the AIDS virus:
Those who engage in unprotected sex
Those who have multiple sexual partners
Those who participate in activities that are considered “high risk” such as having anal sex, sharing used needles with others.
Infants who are born to mothers who have the HIV virus and have not taken the HIV therapy during the pregnancy are at high risk.
Those people who may have received blood transfusions between 1977 and 1985. Also at high risk are those who received clotting products during those same years.
Someone who has been infected with the AIDS virus may not show any symptoms for up to 10 years and during that time be contagious and capable of passing the virus on to others. This is why it is so important to know who is in the high-risk group and how to protect yourself as much as possible from being exposed to the AIDS virus.
It has been shown that most people experience the following symptoms approximately two weeks from the initial exposure to aids and may or may not realize that what they are experiencing are actual AIDS symptoms:
Swollen lymph nodes
Most people contract the virus and then go on for up to ten years not knowing they have the AIDS virus and then start experience symptoms.
The major way to recognize “symptoms” is to watch out for reoccurring infections and infections that do not normally occur in those who are healthy (opportunistic infections).
Someone who has been infected by aids and not yet diagnosed may experience and seek medical treatment for:
- Night sweats
Unexplained weight loss