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H. I. V. – An untreated disease?

Dr. Shareek P.S., Consultant – Infectious Disease, SUT Hospital, Pattom, Trivandrum.

The fact is that despite the progress of time, the views of society are still outdated. One of them is society’s awareness of HIV infection. Various misconceptions about AIDS or HIV still exist today. Like, it is an untreatable disease and society still holds the false misconception that seeing or touching a patient or staying in a room together can spread the disease. To make a difference in society, the World Health Organization observes December 1 as World AIDS Day.

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is caused by the weakening of the body’s immune system. Gradual weakening of the body’s immune system causes infections such as TB, which can lead to death in the manner of HIV.

The ways in which the disease is transmitted are by receiving the blood of an infected person, transmitting it from an infected mother to the baby during pregnancy, having sex with an infected person without proper precautions, and getting punctured with completely non-sterile needles. Rare fungal infections, cancers, and tuberculosis suddenly affect the patient as the body’s immune system weakens.

There is a general misconception that this disease is untreatable. But the fact is that if the treatment starts at the right time can ensure the patient gets the same life expectancy as a normal person. In the past, patients had to take a lot of pills. But today it has been reduced to just one pill a day and the side effects have been greatly minimised. The disease is not transmitted to another person by sitting in a room with an infected person, touching the patient, or eating in a bowl together. It is a fact that people with this disease are marginalized due to such misconceptions. Studies show that they do not transmit the disease through saliva.

Although there is no effective vaccine against the virus, HIV is a disease that can be completely controlled if detected early. With the help of modern technology, the transmission of blood-borne diseases has been prevented to some extent. Free treatment is also available to patients in government hospitals. With so many advances in treatment, it is now possible to completely prevent mother-to-child transmission. So let’s change the misconceptions and can bring together ones who have this disease.