cdn mobile

HIV: 5 every minute!

By: Dr. Philip S. Chua November 22,2015 - 11:00 PM

SINCE Charlie Sheen, 50, star of the hit TV series “Two and a Half Men,” revealed for the first time on November 17, 2015 in his interview on TODAY with Matt Lauer, that he had tested positive for HIV infection 4 years ago, this scary and eventually deadly virus is once again in the spotlight.

Worldwide, almost 6,300 persons are infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) each day, 262.5 every hour, or almost 5 every minute. Today, there are roughly about 42 million (combined statistics) cases of HIV or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) around the globe, more than 5 million children. Thirteen million children today are orphans because of AIDS. Globally, 1.2 million died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2014.

In the Philippines, between 1984 to 2014, there were 22,527 reported cases of HIV infection, 93.2 percent (20,994) from sexual intercourse, 4.7 percent (1,068) from contaminated needles among drug users, 0.3 percent (67) from mother-to-child transmission, <0.1 (20) percent from contaminated blood transfusion and accidental needle prick, 1.7 percent unknown mode. Twenty percent of all HIV/AIDS victims in the Philippines were overseas workers (domestic help, seafarers, etc.)

Those figures above are conservative estimates globally and nationally since not everyone knows they are
infected with this incurable and deadly disease and the stigma alone discourages people (51 percent) to come for diagnosis. Seventy percent of cases are in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the United States, of the 1.1 million with HIV infection, one person in eight does not even know he/she has the
infection, hence remaining untreated, doomed to die, without a chance. The same is true in developing countries where 35 percent of infants born to mothers with HIV tested positive in the first 2 months of life in 2012, millions undiagnosed and/or untreated because of poverty, lack of awareness and access to medical care.

While there are now drugs that could help manage and slow down the progression of HIV, the disease it causes, AIDS, still remains a killer.

When was HIV found in the USA?

In 1981, Kaposi Sacrcoma and pneumocytes were found among homosexuals in New York and California, which gave rise to the name GRID (gay-related immune deficiency).

Today, it is clear that these conditions were AIDs. Although thought to have started in the 1980s, HIV infection, in retrospect, began about 57 years ago. In 1959, a man died of a mysterious illness in Africa, which now appears to be AIDS.

How does the virus cause the disease?

Most of those infected with HIV would develop AIDS within 12-15 years from the time they were first infected, according to the World Health Organization. HIV attacks the immune system of the infected person and destroys the CD4 cells (the “generals” in our immune system army), rendering the body’s “security force” without its “commanders,” weak and defenseless to fight off infections, even simple ones. The virus uses these CD4 cells to make copies of itself, exponentially, enabling it to spread. When the immune system breaks down, opportunistic infections set in, even non-fatal common infections develop into serious and deadly illnesses, including certain forms of cancer, all complications of AIDS.

How is AIDS transmitted?

The virus can be transmitted through the following body fluids: blood, pre-ejaculate fluid, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. The virus enters the bloodstream through mucous membranes, like the lining of the rectum, the walls of the vagina, the urethra (tubular channel in the penis), nose, mouth and throat, or by intravenous transfusion of any infected fluid, like blood, plasma, etc., or use of a contaminated needle. Oral sex with an infected partner can transmit the HIV.

There is no evidence that HIV is transmitted through sweat, tears, urine or saliva, since the concentration in these body fluids is so small. However, if, say the saliva is contaminated with blood from bleeding gums or a cut in the mouth of an AIDS patient, that saliva can transmit HIV. Kissing, in this situation, is risky. The virus cannot penetrate the skin, unless the skin is cut, bruised, or broken, in which case transmission becomes possible. Shaking hands with an infected person is safe.

The virus cannot be transmitted through the air by sneezing or coughing either. These are the reasons why casual contact with people with HIV infection is absolutely not dangerous. Among pregnant mothers with HIV or AIDS, maternal-fetal transmission in utero inevitably happens. The virus must get into the blood stream to cause AIDS. The most common primary and active mode is sexual intercourse with a person with HIV.

Does bleach kill the HIV?

Yes, Chlorox (bleach), with high concentration of chlorine, kills HIV. This is what “smart” or experienced drug addicts use to “sterilize” their needles and other paraphernalia used in “pushing” narcotics and other illegal drugs. However, there is no guarantee that this practice is effective, since the sterilization technique could be flawed. Bleach is not for oral intake, since it would kill the patient first before it kills the HIV. Putting bleach in condoms is not effective and would only cause chemical burns.

Are condoms effective?

The use of latex condoms has been proven to be effective in the prevention of pregnancy and HIV infection and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). However, some reports stated about 2 percent have holes in them (manufacturing or packing defect). Also, condoms are known to develop holes or tears during rough handling or during the actual sex act, which will then allow disease transmission. Incorrect use is also a factor. The best practice is not to have sex with someone who could be exposed to HIV or other sexually-transmitted diseases. Those with multiple partners have been shown to be at a greater risk, compared to partners who are both monogamous.

What are the early signs of HIV?

Not all have early symptoms, but many can have flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks of infection, like fever, headache, sore throat, swollen glands, rash, muscle and joint aches and pains. This is the acute retroviral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection. Clinical latency period follows, with no symptoms at all. As it develops into AIDS, there will be rapid weight loss, fatigue, frequent diarrheas, depression, blotches under the skin, inside the mouth, nose and eyelids, severe emaciation and a deadly pneumonia.

Bottom line: Since an infected person may not even know he/she has HIV infection, everyone must be extra-cautious, because AIDS is indeed a death sentence, one that is preceded by a horrible stage of existence, humiliation, pain and suffering, not only for the patient but for the entire family–all for a brief moment of pleasure.

For a gift of health, visit
E-mail: [email protected]

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: AIDS, GRID, HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, virus

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.