AIDS is a viral infection. A person having HIV/ AIDS can transmit the infection to a healthy individual. The HIV virus may be present in the blood, semen, rectal fluids of infected men and blood, vaginal fluids and breast milk of infected women.
The different modes of transmission are:
a. A healthy man can get HIV /AIDS if he does or receives sexual intercourse from an infected man through rectal or oral route.
b. A healthy woman can acquire HIV/AIDS if she does sexual intercourse with an infected man through vaginal, rectal or oral route.
c. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, labor or by breast feeding.
d. Sharing syringes with HIV infected drug addicts.
e. In hospitals HIV can be transmitted through contaminated needles, dental and surgical instruments.
f. Transfusion of blood and blood products without proper screening for HIV.
g. HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, sharing personal objects or eating and drinking in same utensil
Once a person is infected with HIV, he usually does not develop any major illness in the beginning . The virus keeps on multiplying in his blood and after a period of 7 to 10 years destroys his immune systems, leaving him defenseless against a number of infections and cancer. If he does not receive appropriate treatment at this stage, he suffers from serious infections and some types of cancer and eventually dies. The treatment of HIV is difficult and expensive. The treatment continues throughout the rest of life of patient
Even if a person does not die of the disease, he is socially cut of from society, friends and relatives. He is deprived of employment and also suffers financially.
Prevention Measures for AIDS
- The best way to prevent having HIV/AIDS is to have sex with spouse only.
- As the highest risk of transmission HIV/AIDS is a man having sex with man so such a relation should be avoided .
- The risk of getting HIV/AIDS is more if there are multiple sex partners so it is better to have one sex partner.
- It is better to know the HIV status of partner before having sex.
- Latex condoms should be worn whenever sex is done with someone other than spouse.
- Proper technique of using condoms must be ensured.
Post Exposure Prophylaxis
Post exposure prophylaxis means giving anti –HIV drugs to someone who is seriously exposed to the risk of acquiring HIV, such as health worker accidentally pricked by a syringe used for injections in HIV infected patient, or someone having sex with a person who turns out to be patient of HIV.
Post exposure prophyalxis should be started immediately and there is little or no benefit of giving it after 3 days of exposure. It should be continued for one month.