30 August, 2006

HIV-AIDS: MYTHS and FACTS-I

Recently I have received a forwarded mail which stressed the need for creating awareness among the public about HIV and AIDS. The mail was from "Mayank, Brand Manager (Product Manager) handling anti HIV/AIDS portfolio (called as Antiretroviral Drugs) in Ranbaxy...". Here I go with more details and clarifications from Dr. Ismail who is doing research on HIV and TB in New jersy.
I am grateful to Trivikram, Bangalore and Vidya Sagar, hyderabad who forwarded this mail to me and also to Dr. Ismail who responded to my mail despite his busy schedule.

MYTHS:


As per the mail, "There was a story on junk some days back where it is said that a boy got infected by HIV virus by eating pani-puri.

Dr. Ismail says: Not true...virus will not survive and no transmission is reported through ingestion.

And there have also been rumours where people are affected by the HIV virus when they got pricked by an HIV infected needle in theaters..."

Dr. Ismail says: Maybe, if it is a fresh prick and the chance is 0.3% only even then.

NOW THE FACTS:


HIV (virus) requires *ONLY* *Blood or Semen* as medium to transmit from one body to another.

Dr. Ismail says: Even contact of mucous membranes is enough for transmission , saliva does contain virus but transmission is negligible....

HIV *can not* transmit even through *Saliva* (mucous) i.e. even if HIV-infected patient coughs and another person is exposed to his sputum (cough), the virus still can not transmit because concentration of virus particles in sputum is almost NIL & exposure to air anyway kills virus in fraction of seconds.


Dr. Ismail says: last sentence is true but not in seconds though!

In case HIV-infected person got an injury (like the cut in below mentioned story) and he is bleeding, the virus can transmit to another person only if another person has a cut/wound in his body & that too when *blood from both person comes in contact with each other* (this is also very very rare unless bleeding is very high) and not otherwise.

Dr. Ismail says: True but when blood contacts a breach in mucous membrane infection is possible theoritically!

HIV can never survive in any liquid medium other than blood or semen (& please for God sake ... never in Pani Puri wala's pani).

Dr. Ismail endorses: Not in pani-puri but HIV is found in varying concentrations or amounts in blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, saliva, and tears.

Even if one drinks an HIV infected blood (or semen) of someone (ingest through Gastro Intestinal track), the virus can not survive in the acidic pH of stomach. Highest extent of acidity is 0 (practically not possible) so imagine 1 as pH which is in our stomach.

Dr. Ismail says: True.
(Note: pH levels in our stomach may go as low as 1.0. This is a very acidic level. Solutions at a pH of 1.0 are strong enough to burn through fabrics, injure eyes or irritate skin. When food comes into the stomach, the pH may rise to 3.0 to 4.0)

there have also been rumours where people are affected by the HIV virus when they got pricked by an HIV infected needle in theaters..."

Dr. Ismail says: Maybe, if it is a fresh prick and the chance is 0.3% only even then.

Exposure of less than 1 second in AIR KILLS the HIV virus (story of needle pricks in Cinema theatres goes down the drain) .. Even if blood from a wound (of infected person) dries up (*blood clot*), *the virus dies* and can not infect anyone else.

Dr. Ismail says: True but as I mentioned earlier if that guy can make a prick on himseld and again prick other person and if the needle enters a vein or bloodvessel there is a risk of transmission.

HIV transmission is *ONLY* an *INFECTION* i.e. entrance of virus in one's body. It *DOES NOT MEAN AIDS*.

Dr. Ismail says: True AIDS is a later stage in the spectrum of illness caused by HIV and as a matter of fact people die of other infections like TB and diarrhea caused by lowering of immunity by HIV and not by HIV perse.

An HIV-infected person (after entrance of virus) can progress to condition of AIDS usually after *8 to 10 YEARS* (not in 15 days as in the mentioned story)

Dr. Ismail says: It may take from few months to 10 years depending on the viral load and innate immunity of the individual

It is *not HIV (virus) nor AIDS that kills a human* ..... the virus attacks immune cells (cells that fight against foreign pathogens/antigens) and hence a person's ability to fight against infections & diseases slowly diminishes and the person ultimately dies of a disease which is most likely TB.

Most importantly, HIV is no longer a dreadful disease .... it is "* CHRONIC MANAGEABLE DISEASE*" just like Diabetes or Hypertension.

Dr. Ismail says: It can be managed with practising healthy methods and antiretrovirals but can't be compared to Diabetes or Hypertension.

If there is anything you need to be careful from to prevent HIV, it is *Unsafe Sex*, *Blood transfusion* (check before taking) / Blood donation (use sterilized needles only) and any *blood contact during an accident *or so where amount of bleeding is very high.

(See the next post: HIV-AIDS: II)

5 comments:

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Leviana said...

IO need to see miths and FAQ about Medicine Without Prescription

Anish said...

Really Good. Clears many doubts.

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