The human immunodeficiency virus, better known as the HIV virus, is arguably the deadliest virus on the planet now. The virus attacks the immune system of the subject’s body and completely destroys it, rendering the subject defenceless against simple of attacks by any form of bacteria, germs etc. Many failed attempts have been made to make a vaccine to cure AIDS (caused by HIV). The HIV virus disables the subject’s ability to protect itself from infections and attacks against the body, and in doing so, it passively causes harm. A simple cut on the hand may prove to be fatal for a patient suffering from HIV/AIDS. All it does is destroy the immune system, the rest is done by any common infection, as simple and common as tetanus.
While the HIV/AIDS virus spreads through a plethora of mediums – sexual intercourse is the most common. However, it may also spread through blood infections or via a mother to her child. One medium of infection is the use of syringes infected with the virus. Generally, all rectal and vaginal fluids along with semen and breast milk can cause the spread of the virus. Due to the most likely causes of HIV seem to spread in somewhat sexual acts, it is classified as a sexually transmitted disease. Since a majority of the humans on earth do not have access to protected sex, this disease has found its way to the top to become one of the deadliest diseases of the world. However, this virus cannot spread through a medium of air or water, insects, saliva, tears or even the physical touch of a handshake or a hug.
HIV and AIDS are often confused to be the same thing, However, it is not the case. HIV is the virus itself and AIDS, on the contrary, is the status of a patient in the later stages of infection from HIV where his immune system is damaged to the extent where fighting disease and certain cancers is almost impossible for it. The most unfortunate part of the disease is that it does not show any symptoms to make one suspicious. Once the virus hits the body of the subject, it completes its incubation period and then starts damaging the immune system of the subject. By then, no medication in the world is enough to heal them of the infection.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are over 35 million people on the planet which were tested to be HIV positive. The scary part is that out of those, almost 40 percent had no idea of their disease and were unaware of being infected with one of the deadliest diseases of all time. Approximately 1.1 million people died worldwide in 2015 due to AIDS related illness. Had there been a vaccine to protect these people, they would be saved. Since the beginning of the disease, there have been almost 76 million people who were infected with the virus, out of those 35 million have died.
The infection seems to be the most deadly in the continent of Africa. Africa records the highest number of AIDS patients in the world. Countries like India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar collectively account for a huge portion of the total number of AIDS patients in the whole world. India faces almost 2.1 million AIDS patients recorded in 2013 which is the third highest in the world. However, there was a 38% decline in the rate of death due to AIDS between 2005-2013 which is commendable. As a developing nation, India’s National AIDS Control Organisation did a remarkable job in controlling the disease and spreading awareness among the people. At the end of 2013 more than 7,00,000 people received antiretroviral therapy which is the second largest in the world for a single country. NACO made efforts to curb the situation working with sex workers and that has yielded results, but it has been unable to tackle the grim situation. Therefore, the situation still needs a lot of efforts and funds to completely relieve the country from HIV.
As a matter of fact, the world is haunted by this virus, but the real threat is the discrimination the people face from others after being exposed to the effects of HIV. It has been proved that a handshake or hug will not spread the virus but the masses fail to understand this. Patients are not allowed to have a life as they used to because of the discrimination that is meted out to them. We need a major breakthrough in the research to produce a vaccine which would prevent and kill HIV enabling those who are affected, to lead a normal life. Until then, protected sexual intercourse, regular tests, awareness and prevention will boost our chances of tackling the deadliest disease in history.