Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major global health challenge that has affected millions of lives. Despite significant advances in its research and treatment, misconceptions and stigmatization of the virus persist. In this blog, we dive into the basics of HIV, debunk common myths, and explore advances in prevention and treatment.

What is HIV?

It is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells (T cells), which play a vital role in fighting infections. As the virus replicates in the body, it gradually weakens the immune system, leaving a person vulnerable to various infections and diseases. If left untreated, it can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is the final stage of the infection.

 

Transmission:

Understanding how it spreads is critical to preventing new infections. It can be transmitted by:

 

a) Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person.

b) Sharing contaminated needles or syringes for drug use.

c) From an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

d) Less often through blood transfusion or organ transplantation from an infected donor (rare due to strict screening procedures).

 

It is important to remember that it is not transmissible through casual contact such as hugging, shaking hands or sharing utensils.

 

Myths and misconceptions:

Unfortunately, misinformation and stigma persist. Some common myths include:

a) HIV is transmissible through kissing or sharing food and drink. False – It is not transmissible through saliva.

b) Only certain groups are at risk. False – HIV can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or race.

c) HIV positive individuals always look sick. False – Many people with HIV can live healthy lives for years with no visible symptoms.

d) It can be cured with over-the-counter drugs or alternative therapies. False – It cannot be cured, but effective treatment can help control the virus and improve quality of life.

 

HIV

 

Prevention:

Prevention of new infections is critical to controlling the epidemic. Effective prevention strategies include:

a) Practicing safe sex, such as consistent and correct use of condoms.

b) Avoiding sharing needles or syringes and seeking help for drug addiction.

c) Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in individuals at high risk.

d) Ensuring that pregnant women with HIV receive appropriate antiretroviral treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Progress:

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the cornerstone of HIV treatment. ART involves a combination of drugs that suppress the virus, allowing the immune system to recover and prevent disease progression. With proper adherence to ART, people living with HIV can lead healthy lives and have life expectancies comparable to those without the virus.

The importance of HIV testing:

Early detection is essential for early initiation of treatment. Regular testing is essential, especially for individuals who engage in high-risk behaviors or live in areas with high HIV prevalence.

 

Understanding HIV is critical to effectively combating the epidemic. We need to challenge myths and stigma to create a supportive environment for infected people. By promoting awareness, promoting prevention and advancing research, we are moving closer to a world where it is no longer a threat to global health. Together we can work towards an HIV-free future where everyone can live with dignity and fear.

To get tested for HIV from the comforts of your own homes, call Sparsh Diagnostic Centre’s helpline number 9830117733.

#BhaloTheko

 

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

 

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5 Replies to “HIV”

  1. […] immune system: Conditions such as diabetes or HIV that weaken the immune system can make individuals more susceptible to […]

  2. […] immune system: Individuals with a weakened immune system due to illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, certain medications, or other illnesses are more susceptible to […]

  3. Hi, I find the blog informative, though… nice work… do share such information. I’ll bookmark your website.It was such a wonderful and useful article about the HIV infection. It is a must-readable blog to know the brief details of HIV infection.This information is so helpful for me.

  4. Siddharth 11 months ago

    Very good Centre, takes care of the patient religiously

    1. Dear Sir,

      Thanks for the kind words of appreciation.

      Regards,
      Team Sparsh

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