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Part 4: Keeping Your Child Healthy  >  The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses  >  AIDS

AIDS

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Due to this infection, the person acquires a deficiency in his immune system, which normally helps him fight infections. A person with AIDS may thus even fail to fight ordinary infections, and often dies from serious ones.

The disease is spread by:

  • Sexual contact with a male or female having the AIDS virus
  • Blood transfusions of infected blood
  • Sharing needles infected with the blood of an infected individual

Sex with more than one partner and homosexuality increase the risk. Drug users sharing the same needle are at a high risk.

A pregnant mother with AIDS can pass the infection to her baby. Delivery by Caesarean section may reduce the risk.

SYMPTOMS: The disease is suspected in children who fail to grow normally, get frequent diarrhoea and skin infections, persistent white patches in the mouth due to a fungal infection called thrush, have generalised enlargement of the lymph glands, rapid spread of tuberculosis, repeated pneumonias and develop certain types of cancers.

But it is also important to remember that most children who suffer from the above symptoms in our country are more likely to be suffering from common childhood illnesses, malnutrition and tuberculosis rather than AIDS. It is important to educate yourself and your children and adolescents about AIDS and HIV. After the AIDS virus enters the system of the person, it may take months or years before the symptoms become apparent. Yet this person can spread the disease by donating blood or having sex or sharing needles with another person. By the same count, a person can get AIDS from an individual who may otherwise look completely fit and healthy. Hence, it is important to be careful before developing an intimate relationship with another person. Premarital sex must be avoided. Some potential partners get themselves tested for HIV before getting engaged.


Myths About AIDS
It is also equally important to know that AIDS IS NOT SPREAD by casual contact such as playing, studying, eating, touching, or even living together with an AIDS patient. It also does not pass to another person through food, water, mosquitoes or sharing the same toilet. Do not ostracise an AIDS patient, but take the precaution of wearing rubber gloves if you have to ever handle his blood or soiled clothes. Ask an expert for advice on living with someone with AIDS.

It is not true that using a condom will safeguard you from getting AIDS; the use of a condom for sex with an infected person significantly reduces, but does not completely eliminate the risk of getting AIDS. 

PREVENTION: The best way to prevent AIDS is to prevent HIV. The best way to prevent HIV in children is to prevent HIV infection in men and women.

Have sex only with a faithful married partner, avoid using unsterilised needles (insist that your medical practitioner opens a new needle in front of you, or carry your own sterilised pack with you when you travel), and do not agree to transfusions of blood that has not been tested for HIV. If this testing is not possible in an emergency, only accept blood from a known close friend or a relative. Antiretroviral drugs, taken by the mother before and during delivery, can reduce the risk of HIV being passed on to the child.

HIV is transmitted through breast milk, with about 1 in 7 breastfed infants born to HIV-positive women acquiring HIV in this way (See FEEDING INFANTS, YOUNG CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS).

At the community level, we must spread awareness of this disease among young people, work for moral and spiritual regeneration, create such socio-economic conditions that husbands and wives do not have to separate to find work and individuals do not have to sell their bodies for sex. 

Schools are an ideal forum for creating awareness about HIV and AIDS. Support your childís schoolís sex education programmes, especially since these will allow your child to gain broad-based, multidimensional and age-appropriate information on responsible sexuality. Also make time to talk to your child about growing up and sexuality.

When infants are born, they have their motherís antibodies. A baby may have a positive HIV antibody, but not have the virus. Although this does not always happen, the motherís antibodies may disappear when the child is approximately 15 months old and leave the baby HIV-negative.




7 March, 2016

 
Part 4
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses

Abdominal Pain
Abrasions or Scratches
Acute Glomerulonephritis
Acute Nephritis
Acute Watery Diarrhoea
Addictions
Adenoids
AIDS
Allergies
Anaemia
Anorexia (Poor Appetite)
Asthma
ADHD
Autism
Backache
Bed-Wetting (Enuresis)
Birth Deformities
Bites and Stings
Bleeding
Bone, Joint and Muscle Injuries
Bowlegs and Knock-Knees
Breathlessness
Bronchiolitis
Burns
Calcium Deficiency
Cancer
Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Chickenpox
Choking
Circumcision
Cleft Lip and Palate
Common Cold
Congenital Heart Disease
Constipation
Convulsions or Fits or Seizures
Cough
Croup
Crying
Cuts
Dengue Fever
Diabetes Mellitus
Diarrhoea, Dysentery ...
Diphtheria
Down's Syndrome
Earache, Ear Infections ...
Electric Shock
Encephalitis
Eye Problems
Fears
Foot Problems
German Measles (Rubella)
Glands in the Neck ...
Headache
Head Injury
Hepatitis
Hydrocephalus
Hypertension
Hypospadias
Influenza (Flu)
Jaundice
Joint Disorders
Kala-Azar
Leptospirosis
Limp and Pain in the Legs
Malaria
Malnutrition (Undernutrition)
Measles
Meningitis
Meningomyelocele
Menstrual Problems
Mental Retardation (MR)
Mouth To Mouth Breathing
Mumps
Nephrotic Syndrome
Nose-Related Problems
Obesity
Pneumonia
Poisoning
Poliomyelitis
Premature Baby
Prolapse of the Rectum
Rabies
Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rickets
Short Child
Skin Conditions
Sleep and Sleep Problems
Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
Splinters
Stammering
Stridor (Noisy Breathing)
Teething and Care of Teeth
Tetanus (Lock Jaw)
Thrush
Thumb-Sucking
Tics
Torticollis
Tracheoesophageal Fistula
Tropical Eosinophilia
Tuberculosis (TB)
Typhoid
Umbilical Problems
Undescended Testis
Urinary Infection
Vaginal Discharge
Vomiting
Wheezing
Whooping Cough (Pertusis)



Part 4
Keeping Your Child Healthy
Choosing A Paediatrician
Proper Use of Medicines
Home Remedies
A First Aid Kit
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses
Psychological Concerns
Managing A Hospital Stay
Emergencies
Prayer And Your Child's Health
The Role of Nature Cure
Homoeopathy
Ayurveda and Child Care
Congenital Heart Disease FAQ
 
Guide to Child Care
Home
Introduction
1 Pregnancy, Childbirth ...
2 The Growing Years
3 Feeding Infants, ...
4 Keeping Your Child Healthy
5 Keeping Your Child Happy
About Dr. R. K. Anand
Testimonials

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