Nagpur: AIDS which probably seen as the deadly disease could be dealt with right treatment. Proper awareness and no discrimination could help the patient take treatments and respond it with more positivity. Consultant of Infectious Disease in Wockhardt Hospital Dr. Nitin Shinde MD, FID clears various misconceptions about AIDS and puts light on living healthy and long life with proper medication
1. What are the Symptoms of HIV?
Some people newly infected with HIV will experience some “flu-like” symptoms. These symptoms, which usually last no more than a few days, might include fevers, chills, night sweats and rashes (not cold-like symptoms). Other people either do not experience “acute infection,” or have symptoms so mild that they may not notice them. Given the general character of the symptoms of acute infection, they can easily have causes other than HIV, such as a flu infection. For example, if you had some risk for HIV a few days ago and are now experiencing flu-like symptoms, it might be possible that HIV is responsible for the symptoms, but it is also possible that you have some other viral infection.
HIV is transmitted through Unprotected sexual contact, Direct blood contact, including injection drug needles, blood transfusions, accidents in health care settings or certain blood products, Mother to baby (before or during birth, or through breast milk).
HIV does not get transmitted through shaking hands, hugging, using a common toilet, drinking from the same glass as the patient, or even sneezing or coughing by an infected person say the doctor. HIV is also not transmitted to others by day-to-day contact at home, the workplaces, schools, or social settings. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets.HIV is a fragile virus that does not live long outside the body. HIV is not an airborne or food borne virus. HIV is present in the blood, semen or vaginal secretions of an infected person and can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex or through sharing injection drug needles.
If I test HIV positive; does that mean that I will die: No! Testing positive for HIV means that you now carry the virus that causes AIDS. It does not mean that you have AIDS, nor does it mean that you will die. Although there is no cure for AIDS, many opportunistic infections that make people sick can be controlled, prevented or eliminated. This has substantially increased the longevity and quality of life for people living with AIDS.
How long can people live with HIV or AIDS: Medicines that fight HIV have helped many people with HIV and AIDS live years and even decades longer than was possible in the past, before effective treatment was available. HIV treatments are not a cure, and they do not work equally well for everyone, but they have extended the lives of many people with HIV and AIDS.
Is there a cure for HIV or AIDS: No! There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, there are medicines that fight HIV and help people with HIV and AIDS live decades longer, healthier lives.
If one of the spouse or both the spouses are HIV positive, can the women give birth to a HIV negative child: Yes! A HIV positive woman if treated appropriately can give birth to a HIV negative child. However it is important that both of them should be on effective treatment at least for 6 months.
2. Apart from sexual route of transmission what are other modes of transmission of HIV in our country?
Use of contaminated / Re-used needles is an effective source of HIV transmission in our country. Use of untested blood bags can also be a source of HIV transmission in limited resource setting.
3. What are the chances of development HIV in homosexual men / Transgenders / gay population?
This population is at very high risk of developing HIV amongst themselves. Since these are closed communities, these groups should come forward for self awareness initiatives and education.
4. What to do if somebody develops an exposure which has potential to develop HIV (example sexual activity or Needle prick)?
There is no need to panic. Please consult your physician as soon as possible. There is an effective preventive drug regimen available and which can be started after proper counseling and education. In case of needle prick injuries, wash the wound with soap and water immediately and report to the physician to do a risk assessment.
5. What are the most important part of treatment methods for effective control of HIV?
Effective anti HIV medicines, Nutritional support, counseling, empathy, hand holding and unbiased attitude towards patients is an important key to management of HIV patients.
Homosexual or gay population should come forward for education and awareness on AIDS. Zero discrimination in the society, empathy and non- judgmental attitude could prove as a key to defeat HIV.