TOPIC: GS PAPER III SOCIAL ISSUES
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Every year, December 1 is observed as World Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Day. Since 1988, this day has been dedicated to raise awareness about the syndrome, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes it and also remember and mourn the people who lost their lives to the disease. It is one of the eight public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) and since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day.
What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus is passed from one person to another through blood, using shared needles and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Most of these people develop AIDS as a result of HIV infection.
These body fluids have been proven to spread HIV, blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, other body fluids containing blood. Other additional body fluids that may transmit the virus that healthcare workers may come into contact with are cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, synovial fluid surrounding bone joints and amniotic fluid surrounding a foetus.
What is AIDS? What causes AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. An HIV-infected person receives a diagnosis of AIDS after developing one of the CDC-defined AIDS indicator illnesses. An HIV positive person who has not had any serious illnesses also can receive an AIDS diagnosis on the basis of certain blood tests (CD4+ counts). A positive HIV test result does not mean that a person has AIDS. A diagnosis of AIDS is made by a physician using certain clinical criteria (e.g. AIDS indicator illnesses). Infection with HIV can weaken the immune system to the point that it has difficulty fighting off certain infections. These type of infections are known as “opportunistic” infections because they take the opportunity a weakened immune system gives to cause illness. Many of the infections that cause problems or may be life-threatening for people with AIDS are usually controlled by a healthy immune system. The immune system of a person with AIDS is weakened to the point that medical intervention may be necessary to prevent or treat serious illness.
What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus leads to infection and it attacks the immune system. While HIV can be transmitted between people, AIDS is a condition that is acquired only after a person has contracted the HIV infection. AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection.
How can HIV be diagnosed?
Serological tests, such as RDTs or enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), detect the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1/2 and/or HIV p24 antigen. No single HIV test can provide an HIV-positive diagnosis. It is important that these tests are used in combination and in a specific order.
How long does it take for HIV to cause AIDS?
Why the AIDS epidemic is considered so serious?
AIDS affects people primarily when they are most productive and leads to premature death thereby severely affecting the socio-economic structure of whole families, communities and countries. Besides, AIDS is not curable and since HIV is transmitted predominantly through sexual contact, and with sexual practices being essentially a private domain, these issues are difficult to address.
How can children and young people be protected from HIV?
Children and adolescents have the right to know how to avoid HIV infection before they become sexually active. As some young people will have sex at an early age, they should know about condoms and where they are available. Parents and schools share the responsibility of ensuring that children understand how to avoid HIV infection, and learn the importance of tolerant, compassionate and non-discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS.
Does male circumcision prevent HIV transmission?
Male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by around 60%. A one-time intervention, medical male circumcision provides life-long partial protection against HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections. It should always be considered as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package and should never replace other known methods of prevention, such as female and male condoms.
QUESTION ARISING FROM THIS NEWS:
Q1) Parents and schools share the responsibility of ensuring that children understand how to avoid HIV infection, and learn the importance of tolerant, compassionate and non-discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Comment.
Sources: ASSAM TRIBUNE, 26 Nov.
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