There are many critical illnesses present in today’s world. Cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are some of them. However, none have been as stigmatised as AIDS. The stigma around AIDS can end up making those affected by it feel isolated and unwanted. People with AIDS are often ostracized and shunned by society to illogical fears and unnecessary misconceptions. More education about AIDS is important among the general masses. As we approach World AIDS day, here is some important information you should know about AIDS.
AIDS is the abbreviation for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is considered to be a critical illness due to its nature and impact on your health. AIDS is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). When you are infected by HIV, it starts to attack and impact your immune system. Over time, HIV weakens and breaks down your immune system. This makes you highly susceptible to not just common diseases, but to severe complications as well, which are associated with the disease.
Causes of HIV
HIV infections commonly occur transmission of bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, semen, breast milk, or vaginal secretions. Here are some of the common ways that could contribute to the spread of HIV infections.
- Unprotected sexual intercourse can lead to HIV infections and AIDS. It is advisable to always use protection.
- Sharing hypodermic needles could also lead to HIV infections. Ensure that fresh and clean needles are used and that they are disposed of safely. Avoid sharing contaminated needles, syringes, and other such equipment.
- Blood transfusion from an infected donor could also cause HIV infections.
- HIV or AIDS can be passed on from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
Unsafe medical procedures could also put one at risk of contracting an HIV infection. Ensure that safe practices are followed.
Symptoms of HIV and AIDS
As the disease begins with HIV and ends with AIDS, the symptoms are in phases:
- If you have acute HIV, symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph glands
- Night sweats
These symptoms may last for 3-4 weeks
2. These same symptoms carry on in the chronic HIV stage.
3. In the symptomatic HIV stage, your body’s immune system would have been destroyed by more than 50% by HIV. This can cause infections such as:
- Yeast infection
4. The last stage is AIDS. As your immune system is no longer capable of fighting the virus, it becomes more vulnerable to infections related to AIDS. Symptoms of AIDS include:
- Chills all the time
- Night sweats
- Lesions on your body
- Constant fatigue
The progression from HIV to AIDS is caused by the destruction of a type of white blood cell known as CD4 T cell. These cells play a vital role in fighting infections in your body. If the estimated number of T-cells in your body is lower than 200, you are diagnosed with AIDS. If you have been diagnosed with HIV at an early stage, you can prohibit its growth with proper timely treatment. If you have a health insurance policy
, such as critical illness insurance, the cost of treatment will be covered under it.
Infections related to HIV/AIDS
Listed below are a few infections related to HIV/AIDS:
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Motor degenerative diseases
Prevention and precautions
The following are the preventive measures which can be implemented to combat HIV/AIDS. These treatments may be covered by your medical insurance provider:*
- Take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)- This combination of oral drugs reduces the chances of getting infected by HIV. This includes having unprotected sex or using a needle.
- Taking these same medicines if you have been infected with HIV can help in keeping the virus under the control. This also ensures you do not pass it on to your partner.
- After you are infected with HIV, you can opt for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which reduces the impact of HIV immediately.
It is best to consult your doctor about these measures. If you believe you are at risk of an HIV infection or think that you may have been exposed to the virus, consult your healthcare provider so they may guide you about testing, prevention, and care.
You can also take the following precautions:
- Use protection, such as a condom when having sex, especially with a stranger.
- Avoid the usage of used needles and use a sterilised needle.
- If you are pregnant and infected with HIV, get routine checks done to check the condition of your baby to avoid infecting it with the virus.
- Disclose your condition with your partner.
What is World AIDS day?
Started in 1988 to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS around the world, this movement has made a positive impact on those who are living with the disease and on those as well who are unaware of its severity. It is estimated that about 38 million people globally are infected with HIV.
Most of those infected may end up living a life of isolation due to stigma and illiteracy when it comes to the disease. However, you can live a happy life even with the disease if it is managed well.
Having AIDS does not mean it is the end of the world. Getting the proper help and treatment might allow you to continue living your life just like you were living it before the infection. With the help of a health insurance premium calculator
, you can buy the right insurance to combat this disease.
As sexual experimentation begins in the teenage years, there is a high risk of college students getting infected with HIV due to lack of sex education. Best health insurance plan for college students
can help them get the healthcare they deserve if someone has been infected.
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