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AIDS



-AIDS is an abbreviation for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Your natural immune system protects you against infection and some cancers and when this system fails because of AIDS then death comes about because of infections and cancer.

The cause of AIDS is a virus called H.I.V. which is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. A virus is the smallest germ cell yet discovered, very difficult to discover and treat. In the case of AIDS, at present there is no known cure. The AIDS virus is found mainly in the bloodstream but it has also been found in breast milk, semen and saliva. Any human contact with the above sources exposes you to the risk of infection. Blood borne transfer of the virus is the commonest means of catching the disease.

Approximately 87% of sufferers are homosexual or bisexual men who have caught the disease through anal intercourse. 7% are people who have received contaminated blood in blood transfusions.4% are drug addicts where the infection is due to the use of shared , contaminated needles.1% are people with hemophilia who received the contaminated blood extract called Factor 8.Less than 1% are heterosexual people who have caught the disease from persons infected with the AIDS related virus.

What are the risks of catching AIDS?

Passive receptive anal intercourse carries a very high risk.Anal bleeding exposed to infected semen is the common risk factor to the receptive damaged anal passage.There appears to be a lessened to medium risk to the active partner in anal intercourse.Drug addicts who share needles run a very high risk. In vaginal intercourse there is a very high risk to the female from an infected male but a low risk to the male in the case of an infected female.In pregnancy, if the mother is infected, approximately 50% of the new born babies will be infected.Oral sex is said to have a low risk factor but the risk is there.

The symptoms of the disease include extreme tiredness, a significant weight loss, persistent swollen glands in the neck, the armpits or groin, a heavy, continual , dry cough of unknown origin, a chronic sore throat with a creamy patch or patches on the tongue, cold sores which persist for well over a month, recurring fever and night sweats, purple or discoloured growths on the skin or inside the mouth, nose or anus, persistent diarrhea or blurred vision. These symptoms donít all appear at once. The early symptoms appear to copy the common flu which just doesnít settle and gradually lead on to some or all of the symptoms described.

Recent studies show that the AIDS virus can live in the human body undetected by AIDS testing for months or even years after the initial infection. This indicates the need for repeated testing in suspected cases.

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