AIDS

AIDS

 

  •  HIV enters macrophages, replicating its RNA genome into viral DNA with reverse transcriptase. 
  • Viral DNA integrates into the host cell's DNA, instructing infected cells to produce virus particles. 
  • Macrophages act as a continuous source, resembling an HIV factory. 
  • Concurrently, HIV infects helper T-lymphocytes (TH), leading to replication and the release of progeny viruses into the bloodstream. 
  • Continuous attack on helper T-lymphocytes causes a gradual decrease in their numbers. 
  • The declining immune system results in recurrent bouts of fever, diarrhea, and weight loss. 
  • Reduced helper T-lymphocytes render the individual susceptible to infections by bacteria (especially Mycobacterium), viruses, fungi, and parasites like Toxoplasma.

  

 

Mode of HIV infection   

  •  HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 
  • Transmission commonly occurs through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. 
  • Infection can result from the transfusion of blood or blood products that are contaminated with HIV. 
  • Intravenous drug abusers who share needles are at high risk of acquiring HIV. 
  •  HIV can be transmitted from an infected mother to her child during childbirth or through the placenta. 
  • Individuals with multiple sexual partners are susceptible to sexual transmission. 
  •  Intravenous drug abusers, due to needle-sharing practices, face an increased risk. 
  • Those requiring repeated blood transfusions and children born to HIV-infected mothers are also at high risk. 
  • HIV/AIDS is not spread through touch or casual physical contact; transmission occurs exclusively through body fluids. 
  •  Isolation of infected individuals is not recommended for the sake of their physical and psychological well-being.

 

Treatment and Diagnosis of AIDS             

  • A widely used diagnostic test for AIDS is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). 
  • ELISA detects specific antibodies or antigens associated with HIV infection. 
  • Confirmatory tests, such as Western blot and PCR, may be employed for validation. 
  • Treatment primarily involves Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). 
  • ART aims to suppress viral replication, maintain immune function, and manage symptoms. 
  • While ART can prolong the patient's life, it cannot prevent the eventual progression to AIDS-related complications. 
  •  Anti-retroviral drugs are only partially effective. 
  • They provide symptomatic relief, extend life, but cannot prevent the inevitable progression of the disease leading to death.

 

Prevention of AIDS

  •  Prevention is paramount as AIDS has no cure, making conscious behavior crucial in limiting its spread. 
  • Unlike diseases like pneumonia or typhoid, HIV transmission often results from intentional actions rather than inadvertent exposure. 
  • Infections in blood transfusion patients, newborns (from mothers), etc., can occur due to inadequate monitoring, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness and vigilance.Organizations like the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), NGOs, and WHO conduct extensive educational programs to raise awareness about AIDS. 
  • Programs focus on dispelling ignorance and encouraging responsible behavior, adhering to the principle of "don't die of ignorance.”Ensuring the safety of blood in blood banks by screening for HIV. 
  • Mandating the use of disposable needles and syringes in public and private healthcare settings. 
  • Free distribution of condoms to promote safe sexual practices. 
  • Controlling drug abuse to mitigate a significant risk factor for HIV transmission. 
  • Advocating and promoting safe sex practices.Regular check-ups for HIV in susceptible populations are encouraged to identify and address infections promptly.Encourages open discussion and disclosure of HIV/AIDS status, as hiding it can lead to further transmission. 
  •  Calls for society to provide support and sympathy to those infected instead of stigmatizing or shunning them. 
  • Emphasizes the need for a collective approach by both society and the medical fraternity to effectively tackle and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. 
  • Recognition of the disease as a shared concern is crucial to curb its wider dissemination.