HIV is a dreaded ‘word’ for most people. The short name of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which has swept across the globe since the past four decades, creates fear in the minds of the general population due to its ability to kill the affected patient. The general impression is that the person dies soon after the entry of the virus into the human body. Fortunately for us, that is NOT the case.
HIV enters the body and lodges itself into certain white blood corpuscles. This ‘hijacked’ cell acts according to the invader’s orders. Gradually, the immunity keeps dropping allowing common germs and dangerous ones like tuberculosis to enter and create havoc. It takes many years for the immune system to get completely paralysed leading to a state of AIDS – the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
By periodic assessment and attention to minor illnesses, these individuals will be able to lead a fairly healthy life for 10-15 years. People who discover their HIV positive status early are able to take care of their health better than others who understand it late. It is only when the later stages of AIDS is reached that the quality of life deteriorates. Till then people with HIV are able to lead a fairly healthy life. Today, the good news is that, even advanced states of HIV are treatable with antiviral drugs which keep the virus under control allowing the patient to carry out his daily activities.
Other than unprotected sexual activity and donating blood, HIV patients can continue with all their social, professional and economic commitments like any one of us. Thus, they get to plan their life and lead a socially useful life for many, many years unknown to anyone around them.
So, take heart, AIDS today is NOT death tomorrow.
BDST: 1525 HRS, Oct-05, 2013