Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that has raised public health concerns all over the globe. World was no longer the same since Human immunodeficiency virus got detected in the early 1980s. Today, AIDS is a companion to many and its symptoms are constant reminders of their inevitable end. The only way to bring the disease under control is to know more about it. The word ‘incurable’ still remains pasted on the pale faces of AIDS victims. However, medical world has not lost all its hope. Constant efforts are being taken to find an ultimate cure. We all need to be updated on every piece of information that comes out on the subject, which is the greatest challenge this century has posed before the medical world.
Since people infected with HIV show no or rather a very few trivial symptoms during the early stages, chances are that it might go unnoticed. Only a blood test can declare whether a person is infected or not. Early symptoms of the disease include headache, fever, sore throat, joint pain, diarrhoea and rash. Most of these symptoms are similar to that of flu. This results in many AIDS patients being treated for flu during this initial stage. Infected body fluids transmit the disease from person to person. Unprotected sexual contact, needle sharing during injections, blood transfusion and breast-feeding can all be reasons for HIV transmission.
Symptoms of HIV are actually the results of the failure of body’s natural defence mechanism against the invasion of microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. HIV thus makes its victims easily vulnerable to any infection. Gastrointestinal symptoms include poor appetite, diarrhoea, severe fatigue that results in rapid weight loss etc. Neurological, rather, emotional symptoms include depression, perplexity and weak mental state. Respiratory symptoms are comparatively more serious. Breathing trouble and other respiratory problems including dry cough are usually seen during the later stages of the disease. It should also be noted that many of the AIDS symptoms are actually caused by infection by other viruses. Mucous membranes and skin are easily prone to such attacks. Skin rashes, white patches on tongue etc are such examples.