What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. AIDS occurs when the HIV infection is very advanced, and your immune system is too weak to fight off infections. This is the last stage of HIV where your body is too weak to fight off or defend itself and may develop various infections and diseases. If left untreated the probability of death is high.
What is HIV?
HIV is a disease that gradually attacks our body’s natural defense against illnesses-the immune system. The HIV virus attacks and destroys a type of white blood cell known as the T- helper cell. While destroying the T- helper cell, it makes a copy of itself and places it inside it. The HIV virus makes it extremely difficult for your body to fight off illnesses and diseases.
There are two types of HIV:
- HIV-1: The most common type found worldwide.
- HIV-2: Mainly found in Western Africa, with some cases in India and Europe.
There is currently no cure for AIDS or HIV, but with the right treatment people who are infected can live long, healthy lives.
At the end of 2015 there were 36.7 million people who were living with HIV, with 9% of those people living in Nigeria. That means that there are 3.5 million people living with HIV in Nigeria alone. Globally, 15% of women that are living with HIV are between the ages of 15 -24 years old with 80% living in Sub-Saharan Africa. 400,000 children in Nigeria are currently living with HIV. Most of these children become infected by mother-to-child transmission which includes pregnancy, giving birth, and breast feeding. Other instances include sexual transmission, children who inject drugs and infection through medical/healthcare settings (though this is rare).
UNAIDS says that of the 36.7 million people that are infected with HIV, 19 million of them do not know their HIV-positive status and that adolescent girls and young women make account for one in four new HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Though in recent years the numbers of AIDS related deaths and new HIV infections have been on the decline, it is still very much a major issue around the world. It is important for everyone to be educated, practice safe sex and to get themselves tested.
Please join us in raising awareness on AIDS and the impact it has on people, their families and our world on December 1, 2016 for World AIDS Day.
Sources:[1.] UNAIDS – http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet [2.] World AIDS Day – https://www.worldaidsday.org/ [3.] Avert – http://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/nigeria#footnote1_koph3hb [4.] UNAIDS Gap Report – http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_Gap_report_en.pdf [5.] WHO – http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/ [6.] Avert – http://www.avert.org/about-hiv-aids/what-hiv-aids