Ques. 1 What is AIDS?
Ans. Few diseases in recent times have aroused as much fear and attention as AIDS. Though scientists have succeeded in isolating and ‘figer-printing’ dreaded virus HTLV III as probable killer – direct evidence of causality has yet to be produced. Over 17,000 cases have already been reported in US, half of which have been fatal. France has reported 300 cases, Great Britain 184, and West Germany 160. In Central Africa it is widely prevalent in Zaire, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In Aisa AIDS has yet to made its appearance. The news of AIDS being detected in our country (india) has created an unnecessary & unwarranted fear in minds of people. The six cases detected in Madras are not full blown cases of AIDS. In fact, none of six patients seen to have developed any sings and positive for AIDS virus antibodies.
AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is an illness in which the body’s immune system is destroyed to a great extent. Body has an army to cope with germs form outside as well as from those who have turned against body like Cancer cells. Because of ‘AIDS’ the body is not able to fight against disease & he comes defenseless. Such a person becomes susceptible to ‘opportunistic infection’ with those organisms which do not cause disease in normal healthy persons & may develop diseases such as pneumonia, white patchs inside mouth and nodules in the skin.
Ques. 2 What causes AIDS?
Ans. Very few get full-blown disease only about 10 out of 100 persons on the average who have the virus develop syndrome, about 25 persons have mild symptoms and remaining are free from symptoms.
AIDS is caused by a virus (probable Virus HTLV III (Human T-cell Lymphoma Laukaemia Virus.) which infects cells in blood.
Not everyone with virus develops AIDS or even falls sick.
Ques. 3 How do you diagnose AIDS?
Ans. AIDS is difficult to diagnose. The diagnosis is based upon a spectrum of signs, symptoms and various laboratory parameter. Blood tests is a complex one.
Ques. 4 What are the early signs and symptoms of AIDS?
Ans. The early signs and symptoms of AIDS are:-
- Fever and night sweats and malaise.
- Persistent watery diarrhoea.
- Oral or/and oesophageal candidasis.
- Significant and unexplained weight loss.
- Swollen glands.
They may occur in other diseases as well.
Having any of these signs and symptoms necessarily confirm the diagnosis of AIDS.
Ques. 5 What is the Incubation period?
Ans. The incubation period is the time before the entry of germs and appearance of symptoms and signs of diseases. The mean incubation period is about 29 months in adults and about 12 months in children, however, some cases with shorter incubation periods or longer incubation periods upto five years have been reported.
Ques. 6 Who are the Group “at risk”?
Ans. The Group “at risk” are :-
- People who receive transfusions of blood or blood products i.e. haemophiliaes and person with coagulation disorders.
- Babies born to mothers with AIDS.
- Homosexual men having a large number of different sexual partners.
- Drug users who use common syringes of injecting drugs.
Various medicines have been tried in treatment of AIDS but relatively little success. Antiboitics used to treat specific infection, are only treatment that ameliorate symptoms of AIDS. Scientist are now investigating the definite causes of this disease and its proper treatment.
There is no magic bullet for treatment of AIDS, however, we must inform citizens that our great enemies are “The Virus, Ignorance and Blatant Prejudice”.