How much do we really know about HIV/AIDS?
We all know something about AIDS and HIV. Hopefully we all at least know that they are sexually transmitted diseases. We also know that as of right now we have not found a cure and that they cause death of the infected.
But similar to many other diseases, we are not aware of some important facts regarding HIV and AIDS. Here are some facts and answers to questions that we believe you should be aware of:
1) What do AIDS and HIV stand for?
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and is also called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
- HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
2) How many people are affected by it?
- Circa 36.7 million people live with HIV/AIDS.
- Approximately 17.1 million people living with HIV are unaware of it.
3) Does it affect children?
- Yes. There were 150,000 newly infected children, as of the end of 2015.
- There are approximately 1.8 million children are living with HIV.
- Children with HIV are usually born with it through mother-child transmission.
4) Can it cause death?
- Yes. HIV/AIDS was the cause of around 1.1 million deaths in 2015.
5) How can it be detected?
- Since 1985, when the HIV/AIDS test was developed, people have had access to detecting such diseases through a blood test.
6) What are the stages when you are infected?
- Acute infection or acute retroviral syndrome. This manifests in flu-like symptoms usually within the first month of infection.
- Clinical latency, or asymptomatic HIV infection. During this stage HIV reproduces slower and there are usually no symptoms.
- AIDS, in which the amount of CD4 cells fall below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (the usual level is of 500-1,500). This is the most dangerous stage because the CD4 cells are in charge of protecting your body from infections. With such a low count, your body is unable to fight against infections.
These are just some of the many facts about HIV/AIDS. It is easy to prevent getting yourself infected by being careful: use protection when having sexual relationships and be safe when encountering blood that is not yours. However, it is harder in the mother-child transmission. But it is possible!
Thanks to the PMTCT programs we can control the transmission of HIV/AIDS to children, which will help avoid over a million children being born with the disease. This is one of the causes for which the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority is raising funds. In 2000, Alpha Epsilon Phi officially started a partnership with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. This foundation is a nonprofit that focuses on pediatrics with the goal to eliminate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs.