HIV & AIDS
HIV(human immunodeficiency virus); a virus (retrovirus) that invades and destroys cells of the immune system. HIV infection results in lowered resistance to other infections and some cancers.
FRQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Initial infection with HIV may produce no symptoms.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Recurrent respiratory and skin infections; fever.
- Swollen lymph glands throughout the body.
- Genital changes
- Enlarged spleen.
- Mouth sore.
- Night sweats.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Sexual contact with an infected person. Homosexual men are at the great risk.
- Multiple heterosexual partners.
- Use of contaminated needles for intravenous drug use.
- Transfusion of blood or blood products from a person with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (rare).
- Children born to HIV infected mother.
- Exposure of hospital workers and laboratory technicians to blood, feces and urine of HIV positive patients. Greatest risks is with an accidental needle injury.
- Note: Usual nonsexual contact does not transmit the disease, so a person with HIV infection is not a risk to general population.
- Avoid sexual contact with affected person or known intravenous drug users.
- Sexual activity should be restricted to partners whose sexual histories are known.
- Use condoms for vaginal and anal intercourse(effectiveness is not proved, but their consistent use may reduce transmission).
- The risk of oral sex is not fully known. Ejaculation into the mouth should be avoided.
- Avoid intravenous self-administered drugs. Do not share unsterilized needles.
- Avoid unscreened blood products (some foreign countries may not test the blood as the USA does).
- Infected people or those in risk groups are advised not to donate blood, sperm, organs or tissue.
This condition is currently considered incurable. However, symptoms can be relieved or controlled and scientific research into causes and treatment continues. AIDS may not develop for years following a positive HIV test. Once ill, survival averages vary.
The disease AIDS is the end result of infection by the HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) which can damage the body’s defense system so that it cannot fight infection.
- Laboratory blood studies of blood cells and HIV antibodies test (may not become positive for 6 months after contact) can confirm the diagnosis. Newly diagnosed patients should be checked for other sexually transmitted diseases and infections, such as TB.
- Obtain psychotherapy or counselling to cope with anxiety and depression about having the disease and the likelihood of death.
- Hospitalisation may be required when there are complications.
- Some patients join in research programs (working to find improved treatments or vaccines) which may provide free care.
- Early diagnosis is helpful. If you are at risk, obtain a medical evaluation even if you feel well. If you plan to be, or are pregnant, HIV testing can be helpful. If infected, special treatment during pregnancy can reduce risks of infecting the newborn.
- Avoid exposure to people with infections, e.g. colds.
- Contact social agencies in your area about AIDS support groups.
- An infected woman can give the HIV virus to her baby before is born, during birth or possibly after birth related to breasfeeding. If a woman is infected her child has about a 40% chance of being born with the virus. If a pregnant woman has the virus, then this is not seen as an indication to terminate the pregnancy. It is for the parents to decide. It they want the pregnancy to continue this is in order.
- We therefore recommend that every patient and her husband who enter the infertility program, be tested for HIV (AIDS) before they start treatment. We also advice pregnant patient to be tested but this is not compulsory it if for the patient to decide. For pregnant patient if positive treatment can be given to decrease the chance of the baby being infected.