HIV / AIDS
AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is a disease in which the body's immune system breaks down and is unable to fight against certain infections, known as "opportunistic infections," and other illnesses that take advantage of a weakened immune system.
HIV is transmitted through four modes :
- • Unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is HIV-infected.
- • Sharing needles or syringes with someone who is HIV-infected.
- • Infection during blood transmission.
- • Infection during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast-feeding ( mother-to-infant transmission ).
When a person is infected with HIV, the virus enters the body and grows in multiples in the white blood cells. These white blood cells strengthen body’s resistance power against diseases. As the virus grows, it gradually kills these and other cells, weakens the immune system and leaves the individual vulnerable to various opportunistic infections and other illnesses, ranging from pneumonia to cancer. The characteristic of HIV infection is the consistent loss of a specific type of immune cells as which is termed as CD4 cells. In healthy individuals, the CD4 count normally ranges from 450 to 1200.
- • As per the UNAIDS estimates there are now over 34 million people living with HIV /AIDS worldwide. Out of this, 8 to 12 million people in Asia are living with HIV / AIDS. Most of them do not have knowledge about their being HIV infected and so may be spreading the virus to others. Worldwide, 60 million people have been infected since the AIDS epidemic began.
- • The first AIDS case in India was detected in 1986. Around 6 million people are living with HIV / AIDS in India.
- • Since beginning of the epidemic, AIDS has killed nearly 19 million people worldwide. AIDS has become world's deadliest infectious disease among adults and is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
- • Over 13 million children have been orphaned by the epidemic !
- • Roughly 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in the developing countries, where there is virtually no access to antiretroviral treatments!!
- • AIDS carries a pervasive stigma in many societies. HIV positive people are often rejected by their families, fired from their jobs, and even denied care and treatment at hospitals.
- • AIDS cripples the economic development of entire country, as it often strikes people during their most productive working years.
- • AIDS can be treated with antiretroviral drugs that stop the virus from replicating, but do not kill it. This treatment is still not widely available in developing countries.
- • The ratio of adults and children of working age group is much higher out of the total number of people living with HIV / AIDS.
- • Maharashtra in the west, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry in the south and Manipur in the north-east are worst affected states.
- • In Gujarat around 8,432 people are registered having AIDS.