Saturday, August 26, 2006

World's Fight Against AIDS by Subhash kumar

Today, I thought I'd put in an article in relation to AIDS considering the huge death toll that it inflicts upon Africa and other areas of the world, I think it is something that we should remind ourselves of, and help us (those who are non sufferers) to realise how lucky we all are not suffer from this devastating disease. It helps you realise how much we often take our health for granted, and why we should do our best to keep in shape and healthy, and do everything we can to stay that way! For health and fitness tips, visit
World's Fight Against AIDS
What is AIDS? : a serious (often fatal) disease of the immune system transmitted through blood products especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles.Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the final and most serious stage of the disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. Symptoms begin when an HIV-positive person presents a CD4-cell (also called T cell, a type of immune cell) count below 200. AIDS happens concurrently with numerous opportunistic infections and tumors that are normally associated with the HIV infection.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. A member of a group of viruses called retroviruses, HIV infects human cells and uses the energy and nutrients provided by those cells to grow and reproduce.
Transmission of HIV
A person who has HIV carries the virus in certain body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. The virus can be transmitted only if such HIV-infected fluids enter the bloodstream of another person. This kind of direct entry can occur through these ways a. Through the linings of the vagina, rectum, mouth, and the opening at the tip of the penis. b. Through intravenous injection with a syringe.c. Through a break in the skin, such as a cut or sore.
* Unprotected sexual intercourse (either vaginal or anal) with someone who has HIV. Women are at greater risk of HIV infection through vaginal sex than men, although the virus can also be transmitted from women to men. Anal sex (whether male-male or male-female) poses a high risk mainly to the receptive partner, because the lining of the anus and rectum is extremely thin and is filled with small blood vessels that can be easily injured during intercourse.
* Unprotected oral sex with HIV Positive partner . There are far fewer cases of HIV transmission attributed to oral sex than to either vaginal or anal intercourse, but oral-genital contact poses a clear risk of HIV infection, particularly when ejaculation occurs in the mouth.
* Sharing HIV infected needles or syringe. Laboratory studies show that infectious HIV can survive in used syringes for a month or more. That's why people who inject drugs should never reuse or share syringes, water, or drug preparation equipment. This includes needles or syringes used to inject illegal drugs such as heroin, as well as steroids. Other types of needles, such as those used for body piercing and tattoos, can also carry HIV.
* Infection during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast-feeding . Any woman who is pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and thinks she may have been exposed to HIV-even if the exposure occurred years ago-should seek testing and counseling. In the U.S., mother-to-infant transmission has dropped to just a few cases each year because pregnant women are routinely tested for HIV. Those who test positive can get drugs to prevent HIV from being passed on to a fetus or infant, and they are counseled not to breast-feed.
Treatment Since the early 1990s, several drugs to fight both the HIV infection and its associated infections and cancers have become available, including:
* Reverse transcriptase inhibitors: They interrupt the virus from making copies of itself. These drugs are AZT (zidovudine [Retrovir]), ddC (zalcitabine [Hivid], dideoxyinosine), d4T (stavudine [Zerit]), and 3TC (lamivudine [Epivir]). * Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIS): These medications are used in combination with other drugs to help keep the virus from multiplying. Examples of NNRTIS are delavirdine (Rescriptor) and nevirapine (Viramune). * Protease inhibitors: These medications interrupt virus replication at a later step in its lifecycle. These include ritonavir (Norvir), a lopinavir and ritonavir combination (Kaletra), saquinavir (Invirase), indinavir sulphate (Crixivan), amprenavir (Agenerase), and nelfinavir (Viracept). Using both classes of drugs reduces the chances of developing resistance in the virus. * Fusion inhibitors: This is the newest class of anti-HIV drugs. The first drug of this class (enfuvirtide [Fuzeon]) has recently been approved in the United States. Fusion inhibitors block HIV from entering the human immune cell. * A combination of several drugs called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART): This treatmsent is not a cure. The virus still persists in various body sites such as in the lymph glands.* Truvada (tru-VAH-dah) a combination of two anti-HIV medications, Emtriva (emtricitabine 200 mg) and Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg), into one pill that is taken once a day with or without food.
Your Role in the fight against HIV/AIDS Everyone can play a role in confronting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here are just a few suggestions for how you can make a difference: * Volunteer with your local AIDS service organization. * Talk with the young people you know about HIV/AIDS. * Sponsor an AIDS education event or fund raiser with your local school, community group, or religious organization. * Urge government officials to provide adequate funding for AIDS research, prevention education, medical care, and support services. * Speak out against AIDS-related discrimination. * Support continued research to develop better treatments and a safe and effective AIDS vaccine by making a donation to amfAR. For more details Click here.
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