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acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).[This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk. This transmission can involve anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.
Genetic research indicates that HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. AIDS was first recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1981 and its cause, HIV, identified in the early 1980s.[
Although treatments for AIDS and HIV can slow the course of the disease, there is currently no known cure or vaccine. Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but these drugs are expensive and routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries.Due to the difficulty in treating HIV infection, preventing infection is a key aim in controlling the AIDS pandemic, with health organizations promoting safe sex and needle-exchange programmes in attempts to slow the spread of the virus
SYMPTOMS OF HIV
Symptoms Early After Infection - Acute HIV - In emergency departments and family practice offices, people come in with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, rash and diarrhea. In response to these symptoms, physicians diagnose the flu and send the patient on their way. In the majority of cases, their diagnosis proves correct. But unfortunately, a number of people with these vague, indistinct symptoms have a more serious illness than the flu.
By Sajani Mayadunne
A healthy body is equipped with CD4 helper lymphocyte cells (CD4 cells). These cells help the immune system function normally and fight off certain kinds of infections. They do this by acting as messengers to other types of immune system cells, telling them to become active and fight against an invading germ.
HIV attaches to these CD4 cells, infects them, and uses them as a place to multiply. In doing so, the virus destroys the ability of the infected cells to do their job in the immune system. The body then loses the ability to fight many infections.
Because their immune systems are weakened, people who have AIDS are unable to fight off many infections, particularly tuberculosis and other kinds of otherwise rare infections of the lung the surface covering of the brain , or the brain itself . People who have AIDS tend to keep getting sicker, especially if they are not taking antiviral medications properly.
AIDS can affect every body system. The immune defect caused by having too few CD4 cells also permits some cancers that are stimulated by viral illness to occur — some people with AIDS get forms of lymphoma and a rare tumor of blood vessels in the skin called Kaposi's sarcoma. Because AIDS is fatal, it's important that doctors detect HIV infection as early as possible so a person can take medication to delay the onset of AIDS.
By Madhavi Bandara
One of the reasons that HIV is so dangerous is that a person can have the virus for a long time without knowing it. That person can then spread the virus to others through high-risk behaviors. HIV transmission can be prevented by:
By Madhavi Bandara