HIV: New Hope

What are the terms HIV, AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

a) It is deadly virus which infects cells of the immune system and impairs their function.

b) The virus attacks ‘cd4 cells’ which are white blood cells that play an important role in the immune system. The virus replicate itself at fast pace.

c) It reduces the ability of a person to fight infection and it can’t be removed from the body.

d) HIV itself doesn’t necessarily kill a person but make immune system so weak that body can’t fight infections.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

a) It is a term which applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection.

b) It is defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.

c) If HIV virus is untreated for long time i.e. around 10-13 years, the patient is likely to develop the AIDS.

d) It is a lifelong infection and increases the opportunistic risks of causing cancers.

Major differences

a) A person can have HIV without having AIDS but vice versa is not possible.

b) HIV is comparatively mild form and AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV.

When was the HIV discovered?

a) In early 19th century, ‘Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)’ was originated in the central Africa.

b) Around 1920, HIV was believed to have originated in Congo. However, the first known case of HIV in human was confirmed in Congo.

c) AIDS term was used for the first time in 1982 and virus causing AIDS was named as ‘HIV’ in 1986.

Who is the ‘Berlin Patient’?

a) Timothy Ray Brown is the first person in the world to be cured of HIV.

b) He is known as the ‘The Berlin Patient’ because he was treated in Berlin.

c) Recently second person in the world is believed to be cured of HIV AIDS.

d) He was treated with stem cells transplant from donors carrying genetic mutation. Genetic mutation prevents the reception of HIV receptor ‘CCR5’ gene.

e) ‘CCR5’ is the most commonly used receptor by HIV.

Why is HIV considered as a global concern?

HIV in the world

a) HIV is the most serious public health challenge.

b) According to ‘Global HIV and AIDS Statistics’, around 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV. Only 59% of them are receiving the ‘Anti-retroviral treatment’.  

c) Out of 37 million, 1.8 million are children under 15 years of age.

d) Till this year, almost 35 million HIV positive patients are dead.

e) Around 1 million people die out of HIV annually.

f) African countries have registered the highest number of HIV cases.

HIV in India

a) Around 21.4 lakh people are living with HIV in India.

b) However, around 85% is recorded in new HIV cases since 1990s in India.

c) HIV prevalence rate is also 0.22% in India.

These statistics show the how big the footprint of the HIV is. So, it is considered as a global concern.

How is HIV transmitted?

a) HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and oral sex with an infected person. Semen and anal fluids contain viruses.

b) Transfusion of contaminated blood sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, surgical equipment or other sharp instruments.

c) It may also be transmitted between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Which factors cause AIDS?

a) Age of the individual

b) HIV Patient’s ability to defend against HIV

c) Lack of access to high-quality sanitary healthcare

d) Presence of other infections

e) Individual’s genetic inheritance resistance to certain strains of HIV

f) Drug-resistant strains of HIV

Where the solutions lie?

a) Promotion of safe sex methods e.g. condoms

b) Testing and counseling for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

c) Testing and counseling to tuberculosis care.

d) Voluntary medical male circumcision.

e) Comply to a course of ‘Antiretroviral Therapy’. Antiretroviral drugs are used in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection.