AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, which is the final or late stage of HIV infection. HIV is a virus that damages the immune system and makes it vulnerable to various infections and cancers. AIDS is diagnosed when the immune system is severely damaged or when certain opportunistic infections occur.
The main modes of transmission of HIV are unprotected sex (vaginal or anal), blood transfusion, sharing needles for drug use, and mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact, such as hugging, kissing, or sharing utensils.
How can AIDS be treated?
There is no cure for AIDS, but there is a treatment called antiretroviral therapy (ART) that can slow down the progression of the disease and prevent complications. ART involves taking a combination of drugs that suppress the replication of HIV and reduce its impact on the immune system. ART can also reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
People with AIDS need to take ART for life and follow a regular medical check-up. They also need to treat any opportunistic infections that may arise, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, or fungal infections. Some holistic treatments, such as Ayurveda, may help to improve immunity to some extent.
What are the signs and symptoms of AIDS?
The signs and symptoms of AIDS vary depending on the stage of the disease and the type of opportunistic infection. Some common signs and symptoms are:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Oral thrush
- Skin rashes
- Recurrent infections
- Neurological problems, such as memory loss, confusion, or seizures
How can AIDS be prevented?
The best way to prevent AIDS is to prevent HIV infection. This can be done by:
- Practicing safe sex, such as using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners
- Avoiding sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment
- Getting tested for HIV regularly and knowing your status
- Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you are at high risk of exposure to HIV
- Getting treatment for HIV as soon as possible if you are infected
- Avoiding breastfeeding if you are a mother living with HIV
Why is World AIDS Day important?
World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1 to raise awareness about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of AIDS. It is also a day to show support and solidarity to people living with HIV and AIDS and to remember those who have died from the disease. World AIDS Day aims to end the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV and AIDS face and to promote human rights and dignity for all.