HIV – Perhaps the Most Deadly Disease
HIV is perhaps the most deadly disease that the world has witnessed in a century, especially before Corona hit the Earth. For Corona, vaccines are coming up at a fast pace, but it is a sad mystery why HIV has still not got a vaccine. Thus, we may say that HIV is the most deadly disease to which the human population has still not found a cure or a precaution.
Why is HIV a deadly disease?
HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency disease, destroys the immunity system of a human body. Thus, a person with HIV will not be able to resist simple diseases like cough and cold and will gradually become weaker. The body will degenerate more and not be able to produce the required antibodies.
The antibodies are created in the human body by the white blood cells. These antibodies are the weapons with which the human body resists the smallest of infections. During our daily life, we may eat food with germs on them. But in most cases we don’t have to undergo medication as the body produces the antibodies on its own that are required to fight these germs. For common diseases, some of these antibodies are already existing in the human blood. They just need to multiply in case there is infection. This whole process is carried out by the white blood cells.
Now, in HIV, what happens is that the white blood cells, also known as CD4 T cells, are directly affected. The existing white blood cells are destroyed and also the new ones are no more produced. As a result, one can imagine what may happen.
The existing antibodies will get exhausted in some time, after which no more antibodies will be left in the bloodstream. Hence, the body will become sick more frequently and for the most common diseases as well. Definitely, this will degenerate the body over time. The white blood cells who control this process will also no longer be available as their generation over time will also come down to nil.
How is a person affected by HIV?
HIV spreads with the help of blood. When the disease was new during the last three decades of the century bygone, it was observed that HIV was spreading mostly due to unprotected sexual interactions. In those days, the use of condoms was limited. Also, good quality condoms that would be safe were also not available. The hippie culture of the 1970s added to the problem as well.
During sexual interaction, the exchange of body fluids also has components of human blood in them. Thus, during such acts, the virus could transmit from one human body to the other. Thus, initially it was diagnosed that HIV is a sexually transmitted disease, often abbreviated as STD. Later on, it was found as a result of prolonged and intensive research that HIV can transmit through blood, and sexual interaction is not necessary for the same.
Thus, transfusion of the affected blood stream into an individual can help transmit HIV. If an injection syringe is used for an affected person and then for a healthy one, there can be a chance that the healthy person can get affected by HIV. The disease can also spread from a mother to her child in the womb. Whether it can also spread by breastfeeding is not yet very clear.
How to protect from HIV infection?
Once we know how it spreads, we can be proactive in protecting ourselves against the spread of HIV. The foremost rule is not to have unprotected sex at any point of time, unless it is with a negatively tested partner. Besides that, one must be very cautious while using an injection syringe even for the simplest of blood tests. A syringe should be used only once and trashed. A person should find out by herself or himself if a sterilized and new syringe is being used, for any sort of a blood test.
One should be very cautious when she or he comes in touch with the blood stream of any other person. For instance, if someone has a cut and an individual wants to nurse the affected person, it is very important to make sure that the bloodstream from the cut does not contaminate the blood of the nursing individual. In order to ensure that, gloves must be used, and hands should be washed with soap thoroughly right after nursing.
Similarly, if someone needs a blood transfusion, the individual, or people with her or him, must make sure that the blood is tested negative for HIV. Even if someone attends a blood donation camp as a donor, it must be checked that the syringe used is sterilized and new. Also, a donor must make sure that a used syringe is thrown away immediately after one usage.
In case of pregnant ladies, the HIV test of the mother has to be done. For IVF treatments, this test becomes very important and a gynae would go ahead with the process only after both the parents test negative for this.
Why is there still no cure for HIV?
Intense research has been on since almost fifty years in the attempt to find a cure for this deadly disease that kills slowly but surely. So far, no positive result could be achieved, indicating that it will be a really mammoth task for the researchers to find a cue. At present, it is only advisable to remain protected and not risk yourself to getting infected by the disease.
How is a person affected by HIV treated?
As there is hardly any medicine for HIV today, there is no cure to people affected. We can only ensure very good diet for the affected individuals so that the immunity keeps on building up as much as possible. Also, the social stigma that falls upon the affected needs to be looked into. We should not socially boycott a person affected by HIV and rather stand by her or his needs.