Origin of HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS is said to have its origin in Africa. Hunters acquired the disease from apes after coming in contact with the animal’s blood while hunting. Though this disease had crossed species and infected humans in the 1920s, it had not taken the shape of an epidemic until the mid-1970s.
Global statistics reveal that today there are over 38.1 million people across the globe; who are infected with this deadly disease and the number has been exponentially increasing ever since.
While this disease has impacted people from across the globe, Sub-Saharan Africa is known to have the highest number of infected people. The Asia-Pacific region ranks second when it comes to number of HIV positive people while the Caribbean region is known to have the least number of infected patients.
What causes AIDS?
When the human immunodeficiency virus enters the human body via blood, semen, vaginal fluids or via placental exchange between the mother and the child in the womb, it starts destroying the CD4+ or white blood cells in the body. These white blood cells form the backbone of the body’s immune system. When they are destroyed, the body loses its ability to fight infections and gets impacted with various diseases. Therefore, when HIV is left uncontrolled and untreated, it results in AIDS.
Treatment for AIDS
There is no known cure for aids but the condition can certainly be managed to prolong the life of the infected patients. The most important step in the management of this disease is getting tested for the status of the infection.
The treatment is basically focused around controlling the virus from becoming more potent and spreading out to others and is known as anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
Since this therapy helps in keeping the HIV count down, it gives the body strength enough to fight other diseases. As a result, it prolongs the life of the infected person.
However, for this treatment to be effective, the patient needs to take the medications just as advised by the health care provider.
Medications that form a part of the Treatment
Based on their action on the virus, six drug classes have been identified for the management of HIV. Therefore, a patient infected with HIV is recommended to undergo the antiretroviral therapy (ART) along with intake of about three medicines belonging to a minimum of two different drug groups.
Factors that determine the HIV Management Regimen
Since the HIV management regimen involves a lot medications and lifestyle changes, before deciding on the same; the following factors need to be kept in mind:
- Financial condition of the patient
- Diseases other than AIDS that the person may be suffering from
- Possible reaction between the other medicines the patient may be taking and the HIV medicines
- Socio-Economic condition of the patient that may make adhering to the regimen difficult
- Drug-resistance test results that help in establishing whether the given medicines will be effective or not
While the focus till now had been on developing compositions that help in completely destroying the virus; researchers have now shifted their attention towards alternative therapies. Amongst all others, the Gene editing therapy has proved to be the most promising one. Pharmaceutical houses and researchers are investing on this in a big way.
Protection from HIV/AIDS
The thumb rule of prevention in case of AIDS is ensuring that body fluids are not transmitted from any infected person. The following cautions should be exercised in order to prevent the spread of the infection:
- Wearing gloves when attending to injuries of infected patients
- Avoiding sexual intercourse with infected patients
- Avoid the sharing of other daily use objects like razors and nail cutters
- Avoiding the use of sharps unless required and immediately disposing off the same after use
Healthy living is the key to a healthy future. There is no known cure for aids, so before anything else; human beings should be conscious about their immediate surroundings in order to ensure that in the course of events they do not acquire deadly diseases like AIDS.