AIDS - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

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What is AIDS?

The term AIDS refers to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome caused by the HIV virus. AIDS is a condition in which the person’s immune system weakens to an extent where it is unable to fight any infection. AIDS is commonly considered to be the last stage of HIV infection; the body completely loses its defense system and this further causes  illnesses. Loss of immunity causes organ failure and ultimately death. HIV is a type of retrovirus. Its genetic material is RNA and is called human immunodeficiency virus.


Causes of AIDS

HIV is held responsible for affecting the macrophages present in the blood of a human body. HIV instigated in non-human primates and eventually spread to hominids over the aeons. So, what accurately is the distinction concerning AIDS and HIV? Principally, HIV is the virus that sources AIDS. It causes destruction on the body’s immunity up until it is incompetent of fending off diseases on its own. It is a retrovirus and has RNA as the genetic material.

  • On infection, the RNA of the virus enters the host cell.

  • Through reverse transcription, the DNA production is carried out.

  • This DNA is integrated into the genome of the host here it multiplies exponentially to form RNA copies

  • These RNA copies turn into virus copies and infect the bloodstream.

  • HIV also does the same in T lymphocytes thereby decreasing the immunity of the body

  • Even minor infections do not get treated because of an immunocompromised system.

  • Apart from this, significant weight loss, fever bouts and diarrhoea are also observed.


Symptoms of AIDS 

The symptoms of HIV typically fluctuate from individual to individual and in several cases, a patient festering with the HIV infection may not undergo any indications at all. The common signs and symptoms of HIV include:

  • Fever

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Red rashes on the body

  • Fatigue 

  • Chills

  • Headache

  • Joint pains

  • Sore throat

  • Nausea 

  • Shortness of breath

  • Blurred vision

  • Muscle aches

  • Sweating during the night

  • Enlarged Glands


Mode of Transmission of HIV-AIDS

The HIV infection spreads in the course of the following ways: 

  • Unprotected sexual interaction with a previously infected person.

  • Reusing needles used up by an infected individual.

  • From a deceased mother to the baby through the placenta.

  • Blood transfusion from an infected individual.

The incubation period of this virus is relatively large and it takes ample time to attack the system, sometimes even 10 years. HIV makes it hard for the patient to ward off any illness. 


Prevention of AIDS

HIV infection can be uncovered with the help of an assessment termed ELISA which is the full form of ‘Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay’. AIDS is fatal; thus, HIV prevention is the most reliable option. For example – Using one-use needles, practising protected sex, i.e., use of safety like condoms, regular health check-ups and regulating blood transfusion and pregnancy can help in prevention of AIDS. One more imperative influence is the awareness of AIDS. As it does not spread by simple physical contact, the infected individuals ought to not be distinguished and must be preserved in an approachable way.


Side-Effects of AIDS

As discussed, AIDS is an advanced HIV infection or late-stage HIV. Someone with AIDS may acquire a wide range of health disorders like – pneumonia, thrush, fungal infections, TB, toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus. There is also an amplified danger of obtaining a medical illness like cancer and brain illnesses. 


Cure for AIDS

There is no precise or absolute cure for AIDS, but with appropriate diagnosis, management and facility, one can combat it and live a comparatively hale and hearty and happy life. One must take treatment appropriately and deal with any conceivable side-effects. Medications are used to discontinue the virus from reproducing. One major treatment for HIV/AIDS is called antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Remaining on effective ART with an undetectable HIV viral load in the blood is the best way for you to stay healthy. For ART to be operative, it's significant that you take the drugs as prescribed, without missing or avoiding any doses. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is AIDS?

The term AIDS refers to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome caused by the HIV virus. It is a condition in which the person’s immune system weakens to an extent where it is unable to fight any infection.

2. How Transmission of the AIDS Infection is Possible in the Body?

The HIV infection spreads in the course of the following ways

  • Unprotected sex

  • Reusing needles 

  • Blood transfusion from an infected individual.

3. What is the Incubation Period of AIDS Infection?

The incubation period of this virus is relatively large and it takes ample time to attack the system, sometimes even 10 years. HIV makes it hard for the patient to ward off any illness.  

4. How HIV-AIDS Can be Prevented?

With the help of an assessment termed ELISA which is the full form of ‘Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay’.