Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: Symptoms, and Prevention

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is also known as AIDS which is a chronic life-threatening disease. Actually, it is a special type of serious infectious disease of the human immune system. It is defined as the HIV post infection condition. Total immunity of the body is damaged by the infection of the HIV. So a patient died easily by any kind of infectious disease.

In 1983, French Scientist  Luc Antoine Montagnier and American Scientist Robert Charles Gallo separately described the virus of the AIDS. Montaguier gave the name of this virus as Lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV). But Gallo proposed the name for this virus as Human T. cell Lymphotropic virus, stain III (HTLV-III).

Later in 1896, International Committee of Nomenclature of Virus finalized the name as Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. This is a retrovirus which destroys the T-helper cells (lymphucytes) which are essential component of body immune system.

During the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, HIV originated in west-central Africa.

At the end of 2019, thirty-eight million of people were living with HIV. Among them, the majority are the people of sub-Shararan Africa. About 700000 people died from AIDS and 17,0000 people became recently infected by HIV in 2019. At present, AIDs is a pandemic and it is vigorously spreading.

Image of AIDS
Global Symbol of AIDS (Red Ribbon)

Transmission of AIDS

The HIV virus is not spread by:

  • Accidental contact such as hugging;
  • Mosquitoes bite;
  • Participating in sports;
  • Touching items that were touched by a person infected with HIV;
  • Sharing clothing items and food;

The virus is transmitted person to person in any of the following ways:

  • Through blood via blood transfusions or needle sharing;
  • From mother to child through her shared blood circulation or through her breast milk;
  • Using same blade in saloon;
  • Who received dental surgery;

Risk Factors

High risk of HIV includes:

  • Injection drug users clients who offer needles;
  • Infants destined to moms with HIV who didn’t get HIV treatment during pregnancy;
  • People who have unprotected sex, particularly with individuals who have other high-chance practices, are HIV constructive or have AIDS;
  • People who got blood transfusions;
  • Sexual accomplices of the individuals who engage in high-chance exercises;

Symptoms of AIDS

In many cases, some people do not show any symptoms if they first get infected with HIV. This asymptomatic phase often lasts for years. HIV infected people should take treatment otherwise they will develop AIDS.

They are susceptible to infections that do not normally develop in people with a healthy immune system. These infections are called opportunistic infections. If the person is infected with AIDS, immune system will be damaged by the HIV.

The following symptoms gradually expressed in infected person:

  • Early HIV symptoms include fever, headache and tiredness. Unexpectedly fever continue long time;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Fatigue;
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the different parts of the body;
  • Decreasing the body weight;
  • Pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis which causes wheezing;
  • Yeast infection of the esophagus which causes pain with swallowing;
  • Muscle firmness or aching;
  • Lymphoma in the brain which can cause trouble thinking and fever;
  • Mouth sores;
  • Repeated vaginal yeast infections;
  • Different types of rashes are seen such as seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis;
  • Sore throat;
  • Cough;
  • Night sweats;
  • A cancer of the soft tissues called Kaposi`s sarcoma, which causes brown, reddish or purple spots that develop on the skin or in the mouth;
  • Finally patient lost his/her all immunity and died out;

Complications of AIDS

  • Cancers;
  • HIV dementia;
  • Weight loss due to HIV infection;
  • HIV lipodystrophy;

Diagnosis of AIDS

HIV infection is commonly diagnosed by blood tests. There are three main types of tests that are commonly used:

  • HIV antibody tests;
  • RNA tests and
  • You can detect both antibodies and a piece of the virus, known as the p24 protein by using a combination test ;

Person with AIDS usually have regular blood tests to check their CD4 (T-helper cell) cell count. A CD4 cell count that is lower than normal may be a sign that the virus is damaging the immune system.

Treatment of AIDS

At this time, there is no treatment for AIDS. But treatments are available to manage symptoms. Treatment can also improve the quality and length of the life for those who have already developed symptoms. Now a days, two groups of medicines are used for treating AIDS.

The first group is Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors which delay the infection of HIV and the second group is Protease inhibitors which resists the replication of HIV. A combination of these antiretroviral drugs also known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), is very effective in reducing the amount of HIV in the bloodstream.

HIV Prevention

At present, effective vaccine is not discovered against HIV. To prevent AIDS you should take the following some strategies:

  • Give up from unprotected sex.
  • You should do sex with uninfected persons that do not have AIDS.
  • Mutual monogamy between uninfected partners eliminate the risk of sexual transmission of HIV;
  • Always use condom when you do sex with persons who take injected drug;
  • You should not sex with people that have many sexual partners;
  • Use a condom. In this case, you should use condom properly then it will give you some protection against AIDS.
  • Never share inject illicit drugs or needles.
  • To inject drug, you should always use new needles or you may boil or clean it using alcohol for making safe and sterile.  
  • You should avoid anal, vaginal or oral contact with semen from AIDS infected people;
  • If you work in a medicinal services field, at that point you need to follow the suggested rules for ensuring yourself against needle sticks and presentation to tainted liquids.
  • If you have occupied with hazardous practices, get tried to check whether you have HIV.
  • The danger of HIV transmission from pregnant ladies to her infant is essentially reduced if the mother takes drugs during pregnancy, labour and delivery and her infant takes prescriptions for the initial a month and a half of life.
  • You should not eat foods that are at risk of contamination;
  • Lake or river or tap water in certain foreign countries should not be drunk. In this case, you should drink bottled water;