AIDS: Awareness and care; pregnancy implications
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which attacks white blood cells or CD4+ cells. HIV symptoms gradually develop as and when white blood cells get destroyed. The initial stages of HIV are acute, showing symptoms of cold and flu, while the last stage, AIDS being the deadly stage. It takes around 10 years or more sometimes to develop AIDS once HIV has attacked a human body.
What causes HIV to enter the body & how can you take precautionary measures?
HIV is a virus, that enters the body through body fluids; semen, blood, rectal fluids or breast milk.
The initial stage of HIV causes sore throat, cold, flu and it gradually spreads and worsen the condition of the patients over a few months, a few years or maybe decades.
- Unprotected Sex: The most common reason of getting infected with HIV is having an unprotected sex with a partner, who is infected with HIV.
Casual kissing doesn’t cause HIV infection.
- Pregnancy: Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. And, if the mother is infected with HIV, chances are likely that the baby will also get infected with the virus. Doctors need to take precautionary measures to protect the baby from getting attacked by HIV Virus.
- Body fluid exposure: Infants can get infected with HIV if they are exposed to breastfeeding by HIV infected women. Any kind of contaminated body fluid can harm the baby.
Treatment of HIV & AIDS for Pregnant Women
Make sure to start your medical treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. HIV progress weakens the immune system causing AIDS, which may cause the death of the patient.
- The foremost important treatment of AIDS is Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), which slows down the growth of the virus and thus, reducing the risk of development of AIDS and reducing the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to baby. This medical treatment can be taken during and after pregnancy. It is safe to medicate the babies too with ART. Avoid breastfeeding to the child if the mother is HIV infected.
- The higher risk is involved during delivery when the baby comes in direct contact with mother’s body fluids and infected blood. Hence, doctor must immediately medicate the infants to avoid the infection to spread.
- Post-delivery from a HIV positive woman, the babies should be treated with zidovudine (AZT) with 2-3 weeks after birth.
- If the patient becomes aware of getting infected with HIV, after coming in contact with a HIV infected partner then he/she must immediately take PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) within 72 hours to stop the infection.
- It is important to always educate oneself about such deadly diseases and to avoid the risks and chances to get infected with the virus.
- People sometimes do not realise that they are infected with this virus, hence get a check-up done if you have recurring fever/cold and feelings of anxiety and depression.
AIDS is the last stage after being attacked with HIV. A right doctor with correct medical treatment can reduce or eliminate the chances of development of AIDS.