Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Initially, a person may not notice any symptoms or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is followed by a prolonged period of no symptoms. If the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of developing common infections such as tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumours which are otherwise rare in people who have a normal immune function. These late symptoms of infection are referred to as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This stage is often also associated with unintended weight loss.
HIV primarily spreads through unprotected sex, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
To date, there is no treatment or cure for AIDS. Thus, it is a life-threatening disease. As a practice by medical practitioners, the best way to curb its spread is antiretroviral therapy or ART. It is a drug therapy that prevents HIV from replicating and hence slows down its progress. It is always advisable to start the treatment at the earliest to minimize the damage to the immune system. It is just a measure and doesn’t guarantee the cure for AIDS. There are some preventions of HIV: using condoms during sexual intercourse and by avoiding multiple partners, avoiding sharing needles, syringes, and other injecting equipment. It doesn’t spread through bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, and tears. A person should know if their partner is HIV positive or not. It is not like common cold and cough, it’s a life-threatening disease which has no cure.
Mariana was 19 years old when she was tested HIV positive. At that time she used to live with her parents. When the doctor brought her the test results, she was mentally prepared for the possible outcome. She already counselled herself about the worst scenario. She was not completely shocked but she obviously felt something weird when the doctor told her that she was HIV positive. The doctor couldn’t counsel her as she didn’t show any signs of being scared. She just told him that it’s okay, god planned it that way. When she got home, she didn’t share it with her parents but at work, she told her boss who guided her to take the antiretroviral treatment from the right place. Her parents got to know about her when her father found her medications. Her parents were disappointed about the fact that their little firstborn was HIV positive. She used to take her medicines as told and her treatment was going pretty well.
Later on, she got a boyfriend whom she didn’t tell about her status. They lived together and became pregnant. Sadly, they lost their baby in the third month. That was the time when her boyfriend came to know about her status. At first, he didn’t react, but later on, he ended the relationship. At that point, she felt more stigmatized than ever. However, they got back together and she got pregnant again. She is thankful to God that she didn’t transmit HIV to her boyfriend as well as her baby. She is continuing the medicines and her treatment. Her health is good now. She still worries about her responsibilities towards her daughter and her boyfriend, but taking the medicines on time is the best thing she could do now to stay healthy, look after her baby and move on in life.
She was strong through her journey. She accepted the news very sportingly. She got proper treatment. She is enjoying her life now even when she knows that she has AIDS which isn’t curable.
We should learn that bad news is not the end of the world. There are chances of getting even worse bad news which may be very tough to overcome. So, accept and enjoy your life. How many days will you mourn bad news? Get on with life and enjoy the days which you have rather than thinking that the days in your life are less.
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon.