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FAQ's about AIDS

FAQ's about AIDS

Q: What does HIV stand for?

A: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Q: What does AIDS stand for?

A:  Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Q: What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?

A: HIV is the virus that causes the disease AIDS. AIDS is the group of illnesses acquired when the immune system is unable to defend against infection. AIDS is the terminal stage of infection by the HIV. In the early stages of HIV infection, infected person look and feel totally well. Only when the immune system gets impaired do they begin to feel ill. The time between infection with HIV and becoming ill with AIDS may range from 2-10 years or even longer.

Q: Can donating blood put you at risk of HIV infection?

A: When you donate blood, blood is removed from your body not put into it. Remember you cannot get the HIV unless infected blood enters your body. You can easily avoid this by ensuring that only disposable needles and IV sets are used during blood donation.

Q: What is ‘Window period’?

A: The blood test to detect HIV in the body (ELISA TEST) doesn’t become positive immediately after the entry of virus into the body. It takes between 1-3 months (maximum 6 months) for this test to become positive. This time between entry of virus into the body and the blood test becoming positive is known as ‘Window period’. The person is infectious i.e. able to transmit the virus during window period.

Q: Can I get AIDS virus in a barbershop?

A: Chances of getting infected with HIV in a barber’s shop are extremely rare. However, it is best to ensure that the barber uses a new blade while shaving you. Also make sure all his equipment- scissors, razors etc. are clean and dry before he uses them.

Q: Can I share a toilet with someone who has AIDS?

A: Definitely. You cannot get and HIV infection from a toilet, public or private, clean or dirty. The AIDS virus cannot survive outside the bodily fluids or in the hope for very long.

Q: Can I get the AIDS virus through kissing?

A: While dry kissing in which there is no exchange of body fluids is safe, there is some risk of HIV infection being transmitted through deep kissing particularly if some has got bleeding gums or cuts and sores in the mouth.

Q: Can I get HIV from a mosquito bite?

A: No, it is not possible to get HIV from mosquitoes. While sucking blood from someone mosquitoes do not inject blood from any previous person. The only thing that mosquito injects is saliva, which act as a lubricant and enables it to feed more efficiently.

Q: Can I become infected with HIV through biting?

A: Infection with HIV in this way is unusual. There has only been couple of documented cases of HIV transmission resulting from biting. In these particular cases severe tissue tearing and damage were reported in addition to the presence of blood.

Q: Is there a risk of HIV transmission when having a tattoo?

A: If instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilized between clients there is a risk of HIV transmission. So, one should insist on use of sterilized or disposable needles only before tattooing.

Q: Am I at risk of becoming infected with HIV when visiting the doctor’s or dentist’s?

A: Transmission of HIV in a healthcare setting is extremely rare. All doctors are supposed to follow infection control procedures call universal precautions when caring for any patient. They are designed to protect both patients and doctors from the transmission of HIV. Insist your doctor or dentist to follow these precautions while giving care to you.

Q: If an employee has HIV, should he or she be allowed to continue work?

A: Yes, HIV remains dormant in an infected person’s body for many years. Workers who have no symptoms associated with AIDS should continue to work, and should be treated no differently from other workers. Those with AIDS or AIDS-related illness should be treated in the same way as any other employees who are ill, In fact, this attitude will go far in helping curb the menace of AIDS.

Q: Can oral sex cause AIDS?

A: Oral sex (mouth or tongue touching genitals) may carry risk of HIV infection especially if there are cuts or sores present in the mouth or on the genitals.

Q: Are condoms the only answer to safe sex?

A: No. While good quality lubricated condoms reduce the risk of HIV and STD infections, no condom can be said to be absolutely safe. Condoms can tear or Ave. microscopic holes which make them ineffective. The only safe sexual behavior is to have a mutually faithful sexual partner, who is not infected with HIV, or to practice sexual abstinence.

Q: How will I be sure that my future marriage partner is not infected with HIV?

A: In India, where most marriages are "arranged" and future partners have little interaction before marriage, this is a difficult predicament. The only way to be certain of a person’s HIV status is through a blood test. So nowadays it is advisable to do an HIV test before marriage as a common consent between the would-be couple.

Q: How should an HIV – infected person cope with his / her condition?

A: While testing HIV positive is a traumatic experience, it is important to learn how to cope. A good counselor, friend or family member with whom one can share anxieties and fears is helpful. One should follow a healthy lifestyle and eat nutritious, balanced meals. Responsible sexual behavior is critical – remember condoms are not 100% safe. An HIV positive woman should know the risks of getting pregnant. Financial planning for the future will reduce stress.

Q: Why do people who are infected with HIV eventually die?

A: When people are infected with HIV, they do not die of HIV or AIDS. These people die due to the effects that the HIV has on the body. With the immune system down, the body becomes susceptible to many infections from the common cold to cancer. It is actually these particular infections and the body’s inability to fight the infections that cause these people to become so sick, that they eventually die.

Q: Are all the children born to HIV infected mother infected with HIV?

A: No. about one-third of children born to HIV positive mothers become infected with HIV. However nowadays if one gives anti HIV drug AZT to these mothers during pregnancy and labor and then to newborn child this risk of infection can be reduced considerably.

Q: What is the truth about the AIDS cure claims published daily in the newspapers?

A: Traditional medical practitioners tend to believe that they can cure AIDS by giving immuno-potentiating drugs. Due to lack of knowledge about conducting clinical trials scientifically, hasty conclusions are drawn on simple outcome measures such as weight gain or feeling of well being. Such improvements are dubbed as AIDS cure claims. Many AIDS cure claims tend to get published in the newspapers in India. Unfortunately, these claims are not based over adequate scientific evidence and they are just made to extract money from these poor sufferers. HIV / AIDS patients in search of hope tend to get easily attracted towards such claims and take the treatment. However there is no scientifically documented approach to AIDS cure as of today in any of medical sciences as yet in the world. HIV infected individuals should not get mislead by such claims.