AIDS is the most important venereal disease of the 1980s and 1990s. What is AIDS and how can people become infected with it?
Aids, an abbreviation for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is caused by a virus. This virus, the HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, causes an overall weakening of the defenses of the infected patient. A large number of people who are infected do not yet have any symptoms of the disease, they are referred to as carriers or HIV-positive people, after the positive reaction to the AIDS virus, which in that case can be obtained in the serum. It has been found that the symptoms of AIDS are revealed in 50% of adult carriers within ten years. These carriers of the virus can infect others while they themselves do not yet have any symptoms of disease. An important group of victims is hemophilia patients who have been infected by blood at a time when no tests have yet been carried out to check whether the blood has been infected with AIDS.
Infection usually takes place through sex. Initially, gay men in particular formed a risk group. Later the shift became visible to more heterosexual patients. In addition, the disease can be transmitted through infected injection needles, making drug addicts a second risk group. Before the disease was known, AIDS was also transmitted via blood transfusions. Until the end of the 1980s, a few dozen people were the victims of this. Since then, all blood has been checked for blood transfusions for the virus.
The symptoms of AIDS can always be traced back to a weakened defense. Lung infections are often seen with a bacterium very rare in others, the Pneumocystis carinii. Another very typical phenomenon is the Kaposis sarcoma. Here you can see small raised, purple-blue spots on the skin, but also on the hairy head and palate. These are proliferation of connective tissue cells below the skin surface. Inflammation of the nervous system such as encephalitis (brain inflammation) and meningitis (meningitis) are also common. Sometimes AIDS starts with fungal infections of the momnd and throat. Fungal infections of the esophagus, especially due to the Candida albicans fungus, are seen almost exclusively in AIDS. Diarrhea and eye infections can also be an indication of AIDS.
Good treatment has not yet been found. The medicine AZT can, if given in time, postpone the serious problems and alleviate the disease. We are still eagerly looking for better solutions. With a cocktail of various means, the best results are currently being achieved, which can also be found in the mortality rates and in an increase in the average age at which the victims die.
Prevention is of the utmost importance. The disease can be prevented in various ways. A substantial contribution can be made through the use of condoms. Limiting the frequent change of partner also has a beneficial effect. The disease comes from those who are used to switching partners regularly. The provision of clean syringes to drug addicts is also a measure to prevent the spread of AIDS as much as possible.
Video: Straight Talk about Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Leena Nathan, MD. #UCLAMDChat Webinar (April 2020).
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