Immune deficiency is a condition where body loses or compromises with the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease. Generally, an immune deficiency is acquired although some people can have it from birth itself. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (or AIDS) is a secondary form of immune deficiency which can cause acute damage to the immune system.
Causes Of AIDS
AIDS, which is major reason for death among the 25 – 44 year old Americans, was once the number one killer. It is caused by the Human immunodeficiency virus (in short, HIV) which attacks the body and puts it at risk for many life-threatening illnesses.
Such is the severity of infection of the HIV that the common bacteria and viruses, that generally do not result into chronic illnesses in people with healthy immunity, can cause life-threatening outcomes in AIDS sufferers.
Outlook For AIDS
AIDS is the last stage of HIV disease. The HIV virus destroys body’s capability to fight infections by targeting the T cells of the immune system (responsible for appropriate response to infections). Initially, HIV infection may not produce symptoms. Thereafter, the infected person can experience persistent generalized swelling of the lymph nodes. However, severe symptoms can appear months or years later.
Later, HIV infection can cause progressive depression of T cells and lead to repeated infections occurring even while the patient is administering an antibiotic therapy for another infection (super infections). There is no cure for AIDS. However, treatment measures can enable effective control of AIDS improving quality and longevity of life.
Risk For AIDS
Although anyone having a weak immunity can be at risk for getting AIDS, certain factors can increase the risk for getting infected. People indulging in unprotected sexual activities and having multiple partners are among the highest risky ones. High risk activities during sex, like injecting drug or performing anal sex, can also increase the risk for getting HIV/AIDS. Injections sharing needles can also transmit the virus from an infected person to a healthy person.
Contact with infected blood may also cause the virus to spread to a healthy person. Mothers can transmit the virus to their unborn children who do not receive HIV therapy during pregnancy and childbirth. However, AIDS does not pose risk to a person who donates blood or organs as they are not in direct contact with people who receive them. The use of sterile needles and instruments ensure protection.
Spread Of AIDS
The virus can transmit through semen, vaginal secretions, blood and breast milk. It can spread through sexual contact, including anal sex. It can also spread through blood during blood transfusions or through sharing of an infected needle. A mother can infect her child through breast feeding breast milk. A pregnant woman can also transmit HIV to the fetus.
There are some uncommon methods of spreading HIV like implantation of infected organs. HIV can infect a person receiving blood or organs from an infected person. Blood banks and organ donor programs screen donors for infection.
Treatment For AIDS
There are two important components of treating AIDS – Medications and Healthy Living. AIDS is treated through antiretroviral therapy medicines. These aim at reducing the infection by stopping the virus from reproducing itself. The medicines can work to reduce the amount of HIV considerably to enable the immune system achieve healthy levels.
Healthy living is crucial to people having HIV/AIDS. A healthy lifestyle can serve a long way in managing the illness. Healthy choices should essentially be implemented each day and includes several aspects like visiting the health care providers on a regular basis, taking medications, taking care of the body and protecting and enhancing immunity. A good diet, abundant rest and sufficient exercising are other vital components of healthy living. People with AIDS should prevent themselves from getting illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.