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AIDS


AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which affects the body's ability to fight infection, making the victim prone to life-threatening infections and diseases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are now 3 million people in the world with AIDS, and a further 14 million people who are HIV positive.

By the year 2006, WHO estimates that the number of people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, will be between 30 million and 40 million HIV carriers who have not developed full-blown AIDS do not show the typical signs. Instead, they may have swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, weight loss and tiredness. Many show no signs at all.

AIDS is the end stage of HIV infection, and practically all HIV-infected people develop full-blown AIDS usually within five to ten years after being infected. The body's immune system is so damaged that infections which are usually mild become severe and fatal. AIDS does not just affect homosexuals (gays), it affects heterosexuals (straights) too. Anyone who engages in casual sex or visits prostitutes is at risk.

Diseases Associated With Full-Blown AIDS

Lung Infection

Parasitic lung infections are common and patients complain of cough, fever and shortness of breath.

Kaposi Sarcoma

This is a cancer of the blood vessels. It appears as dark blue/purple raised patches on the skin. It is not itchy or painful.

Brain Infection

Fungi or parasites can cause this infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, blurred vision and fits.

Persistent Diarrhea

This is caused by infection of the gut by parasites. The diarrhea lasts for weeks and months and is very difficult to treat.

Skin Infection

This can occur around the mouth, genitals or anal area.

Widespread Tuberculosis

TB germs infecting AIDS patient are very aggressive and attack many organs not usually affected by the disease.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases is a general term that refers to as many as twenty different illnesses. These are transmitted by sex - usually through the exchange of bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, and blood. STD's such as herpes, can be acquired by kissing or close contact with infected areas - not just intercourse. If left untreated, STD's can cause permanent damage that leaves you blind, brain-damaged, or sterile. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) disease, often leads to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), which can cause death.

The most common STD's are chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, genital warts, syphilis, hepatitis B, crabs, and trichomoniasis. STD's can be prevented, most can be cured. They infect men, women, and children. Mothers can also be give STD's to their babies. Anyone at any age can be a victim. It is not true that having had an STD once and having been cured, you will not get it again. This section will describe STD's and some simple steps for protection of both partners.

Who Gets STD's:

Anyone who has sex can get a sexually transmitted disease and millions do. More than 4 million people get chlamydia each year. Genital herpes affects an estimated 30 million Americans, with as many as 500,000 new cases reported each year. There are over 1 million cases of gonorrhea each year. And syphilis, once thought to be on the decline, has made a rising comeback in the last four years.

Only a qualified medical professional can identify and treat a sexually transmitted disease. The information provided in this section only serves as a general guideline. Your healthcare professional must decide whether a symptom indicates the presence of an STD, and which one. Do not attempt to make this decision alone. Waiting to seek guidance and treatment can also be detrimental.

Since many STD's are treatable, the sooner they are identified, the easier it is to effectively treat the disease with the least amount of damage to your body. Also remember that there is always a partner that will require treatment. Without it, reinfections and new infections will continue to rise.

Remember, it is easier to prevent STD's than to treat them. And some of the diseases can only be treated, not cured. In light of the HIV disease, are you willing to bet your life on it? It is important to protect yourself and your partner every time you have sex.

 

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