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AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a condition that develops against the background of HIV infection. With this disease, the number of lymphocytes decreases, which contributes to the occurrence of many diseases. In the early 80s of the 20th century, scientists were faced with a new disease, which later became known as AIDS. Already at the end of the 20th century, due to its spread, this disease was dubbed the plague of the century.
To date, more than 20 million people have died from the virus, and more than 40 million have been infected. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because these are the official figures. This rapid spread of the disease causes fear among the population, exacerbated by the fact that people often believe rumors about this phenomenon. Let's consider the main ones.
AIDS and HIV are one and the same. People often confuse these concepts. AIDS is an acquired immunodeficiency. In this case, the body's defense system is unable to fight disease. Immunodeficiency itself may well be congenital, in addition, it appears during aging, as well as due to serious illnesses. AIDS is associated with virus activity. HIV is just such a virus. For its reproduction, the virus uses foreign cells, in this case, just the cells of the immune system. Without a timely response to the disease, the defense system weakens, as the virus captures more and more new frontiers. Immunodeficiency sets in, that is, AIDS. It is incorrect to express "being infected with AIDS" or "being tested for AIDS." The analysis identifies the virus, that is, HIV. It is he who is the cause, and AIDS is the effect.
HIV tests are often wrong. Sometimes we hear that an HIV test may not detect a virus for several years. It is not true. AIDS may not appear for several years, but HIV can be detected within a few weeks after infection. In 95% of the infected, the analysis gives a disappointing result after 3 months, and in the rest - within six months. It happens that the result of the first analysis can be false positive, therefore, it is usually checked by another, confirming analysis. It is of a different nature and is more accurate. If both tests are positive for HIV, the doctor makes a cruel diagnosis - "HIV infection".
HIV spreads through accidental injections (traffic, crowded places). Scary stories are often heard about how you can get this virus by accidentally injecting yourself in a club, public transport, or other crowded place. That it is even spread so maliciously. However, in 25 years of the epidemic, there have been no such cases of intentional HIV transmission. And the needles in the railings or pillows, like injections in clubs, are just the intrigues of hooligans, competitors, and a drunken fool. The facts indicate that an accidental injection with a medical needle (for example, a doctor) carries a risk of infection of no more than 0.1%. According to polls, more than 90% of people after the news of the infection immediately begin to think in fright: "Who could have been infected from me?" Infected people are just like us, just as a normal person will not have the idea of stabbing friends, so HIV-infected people will not have such an idea. This myth is spread by uneducated, limited people who are willing to listen to their prejudices.
Condoms do not protect against HIV. According to this myth, rubber products contain small holes through which HIV can enter the body. However, the virus "floats" in the body fluids, by itself it does not penetrate anywhere or seep. Since the condom does not allow the passage of liquid, it prevents the penetration of the virus. Naturally, this type of protection cannot be 100% reliable, since the condom can come off or break. Studies have confirmed the reliability of using this tool. So, out of 171 couples in which one of the partners was HIV-infected, the virus was transmitted only in 3 cases. That is, in 98% of cases, a condom protected a person from infection.
HIV is passed from a pregnant woman to her child. An HIV-positive pregnant woman is a source of prejudice. They say that HIV can be transmitted during childbirth, during feeding, and the very bearing of a child by a sick mother already makes him infected. In fact, even without the use of protective equipment for the baby during breastfeeding, the risk of infection is 20-30%. Artificial feeding and the use of a special antiviral drug reduce this risk to 1-5%. In countries with developed medicine, the level of HIV infection among children in such cases has long been less than 1%. Therefore, during pregnancy, women undergo appropriate tests in order to prepare and take measures to ensure the protection of the baby.
HIV infection is fatal. A person has chronic diseases, that is, those that he cannot get rid of. For example, hypertension, diabetes. Such diseases include HIV. Despite the appearing reports of new medicines, remedies, healing by miracles, prayers, not a single case of a real cure was documented. Most often, such news is the product of the fantasies of newsmakers, bad translators, or greedy crooks. However, no one says that HIV cannot be fought at all. In 1996, a special combination antiviral therapy was developed that suppresses the multiplication of the virus in humans. And this tool is quite effective. The goal of such treatment is to stop the development of HIV and prevent the emergence of AIDS. This therapy should be used regularly, like insulin in diabetic patients. Early detection of HIV can ensure successful treatment. It is no secret that there are infected people who have been living with this virus for many years.
AIDS is a disease of drug addicts, prostitutes and people of non-traditional sexual orientation. It is convenient for society to think so, because then this disease has nothing to do with the normal majority. However, the numbers tell a different story. Currently, 30% of those infected are heterosexual people, and the number of affected women exceeds 40%, which in the future may lead to an increase in the number of sick children. So this is a problem of the whole society, you cannot relate it only to certain segments of the population.
It is possible to become infected with HIV in the home. This is the most common misconception about this virus. And it, alas, leads to the rejection of infected people by society. Of course, they can defend their rights, films are being made about this ("Philadelphia"), but most people "just in case" try to limit their communication with HIV-infected. Medicine, however, clearly explains this, reporting that the virus does not transmit by airborne droplets, through handshakes, saliva and the use of shared utensils. In fact, it is safe to eat one food with an infected person and use one piece of clothing and paper. There is nothing dangerous in visiting HIV-infected public places, educational institutions.
The virus can be carried by animals and mosquitoes. A big wave of discussion was at one time caused by the news about who HIV can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Today every fifth Russian is afraid of getting AIDS from a mosquito bite. But this is just another myth. First, outside the human body, the virus dies quickly. That is, there is a chance of infection if a cat or dog, having scratched an infected person, immediately scratches a healthy person. Secondly, with regards to mosquitoes, if there was such a possibility, the geographical spread of the virus would be very different. Yes, and when bitten, the mosquito injects its saliva into the body, and not the blood of the previous victim, HIV is not able to multiply in the insect's body. Interestingly, cats can also get AIDS, this type of disease is called FIV (feline AIDS). For humans, this type of virus is absolutely safe, since it has a different structure.
HIV came from Africa. Other rumors attribute the virus to the CIA or KGB laboratories. But by the time the epidemic began, scientists did not have the biotechnological tools with which to create a virus. Researchers have many indirect factors suggesting that the virus originated in Africa. The HIV species are descendants of the monkey immunodeficiency virus. Mutating gradually and passing from one species to another, he got to man. Another pros are that many of the earliest diagnoses of AIDS (from 1959 to the early 1980s) occurred with people with connections to Africa rather than Europeans without African connections.