Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a condition that gradually destroys the body’s immune defense system and makes the body vulnerable to opportunistic diseases. It is caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).People who are infected with HIV can be asymptomatic, looking and feeling well for ten years or even longer. That is why the practice of safer sex is vitally important, even with people who seem to be well. As more and more white cells die, the HIV-infected person begins to get sick and is then said to be symptomatic.
How does someone get infected with HIV?
By having sex without a condom with someone who is infected;
By injecting drugs with needles you are sharing with someone who is infected;
By having a blood transfusion with blood from an infected donor. However, blood donated for trans-fusions in is now tested for HIV, so people are almost never infected through blood transfusions.
There is a fourth way in which the virus can pass from one person to another: It can pass from an infected woman to her baby in the womb, during birth, or during breast feeding.
You can’t be infected any other way?
Millions of people in the world have been infected with HIV, so by now we would know if there were any ways to get the infection other than through unprotected sex, shared needles, blood transfusions, or mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy, birth, or while breast feeding. Globally, most HIV infections have resulted from unprotected sex.
No one has ever been infected by a shared coffee cup, spoon, or fork, or by the use of a water fountain or a toilet seat. No one has ever been infected by a mosquito or another insect. No one has ever been infected by hugging people with AIDS or by eating dinner with them or by dancing with them or by keeping them company and listening when they need to talk to someone.
How Should We Act Around People with AIDS?
We don’t know how to act around people with AIDS. We’d rather avoid them. AIDS forces us to confront parts of life we are uncomfortable with, like sexuality, sickness, and death. People with AIDS know all of this. They know that their friends avoid certain subjects with them. They notice that people stop touching them. They hear us talk about “innocent victims of AIDS” and wonder if they are among the guilty. we should be aware of some basic health issues and special sensitivities people with AIDS might have, there is no need to learn any special new kind of behavior to use with them. We only need to treat them with the same respect and humanity with which, ideally, we treat everyone.
Understand that anyone can have AIDS:-
If you know someone who has AIDS-if not a friend, perhaps a friend of a friend, a friend’s family member, and so on-you may wonder if your relationship with that person will change. Remember, a person’s personality doesn’t change when disease strikes. They still have the same likes, dislikes, and sense of humor. Also, like anyone who is facing a terminal illness, a person with AIDS wants and deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and, most importantly, without pity. It’s important to keep this in mind when relating to people with AIDS.
Pity is an emotion that may seem loving or kind to the one who feels it, but which feels very different to the person on the receiving end. It is kinder to ask “May I help you?” than to say “Do you need help with that?” No one wants to feel patronized or condescended to; no one likes feeling powerless or like a burden.