HIV/AIDS
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HIV/AIDS

Health Scenario: HIV/AIDS Mrs. Ayanfe's marriage (not real name) broke up 6 years ago after she tested positive for HIV. Her angry and embarrassed husband took away their only child. Three months later, when the one year old boy tested positive, the husband returned and dumped him with her and then absconded.

He abandoned us as if we had committed a crime, I have not committed a crime. You see, I don't have a job and have become a beggar to cater for Junior. My husband loved me and we were very happy until that day when I told him the news."

The runaway man who abandons his HIV positive wife and children is a common feature in Nigeria; “Fathers withdraw their support because they feel there is no need to invest in a child that is likely to die young.” (IPS News Agency, August 2014)

Facts about HIV

Recap on HIV/AIDS

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome, a disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This virus attacks the immune system (which is the body's defence mechanism against disease and infections). When the immune system is broken down, the person becomes susceptible to serious and deadly infections. These infections take advantage of the body's weakened defences.

Symptoms

When infected, some people develop flu-like symptoms for a short term. But infected people usually show no other symptoms until when the disease progresses. People with a progressed form of the disease can develop swollen lymph nodes (small, soft, round or oval structures found throughout the body, they help in fighting infections), weight loss, fatigue, diarrhoea, anaemia and thrush as well as opportunistic infections, e.g, pneumocystis pneumonia.

Risk Factors

HIV is spread in the following ways:
- Sexual contact with an infected person
- Needle sharing among injection drug users
- Transfusions with infected blood
- From HIV infected mothers to their newborns before or during birth or through breast feeding after birth
- Healthcare workers can become infected if stuck by infected needles

Prevention

People can protect themselves by not engaging in unprotected sex with those whose HIV status is unknown. The gold standard in sexual protection is the male latex condom. When used correctly and consistently, they offer 98-100% protection. The female condom also offer some protection. Protection is also important during oral sex, either with a male condom or dental dam. People who inject drugs should use a clean needle each time. Anti-HIV drugs for infected pregnant women can reduce the risk of mother-to-infant transmission. (WHO)

HIV IN NIGERIA IN DETAILS

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. While compiling this information, Drkay used all reasonable care but makes no warranty as to its accuracy.

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