It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
World’s AIDS day is today, and despite living in a country with 10% of the world’s HIV/AIDS population, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the deadly disease that attacks the immune system.
Thanks to the efforts of countless NGOs, government officials and people doing their best to create awareness, HIV/AIDS numbers are on the decline, but still the statistics as they currently stand are extremely frightening. Here are 10 things you never knew about HIV/AIDS:
Fact One: AIDS first became widespread in the 1980s, and when it did, the Soviet Union immediately tried to use it as ammunition in the Cold War. They started a programme of mass misinformation and informed their citizens that the U.S. had intentionally created the HIV virus to harm their enemies. While it was proven to be a terrible lie, many former Soviet citizens still believe this to be the origin of HIV!
Fact Two: Currently, there is still no known cure for AIDS, but pharmaceutical companies are constantly working on over 100 different drugs and vaccinations at any given point in time. These new treatments include medications that work to stay a step ahead of the virus by attacking affected cells while leaving healthy ones alone.
Fact Three: The Sub-Saharan region of Africa has the largest population of HIV infected people. The numbers are estimated at anywhere between 21.6 and 27.4 million people and out of them 2 to 3 million are children younger than 15 years of age.
Fact Four: HIV and AIDS are not the same thing, but they are interrelated. HIV is the strand of virus that causes the disease and AIDS is the fourth and final stage of the disease that leads to the patient’s death.
There are also 2 different types of HIV viruses--HIV-1 and HIV-2. The former is more infectious, while the latter has a lower infection rate.
Fact Five: Over the last 2 decades, scientists have discovered that there are in fact people who are immune to the disease and were able to fight it off for decades. This immunity has been traced to a certain type of immune cell known as CD8+T. These cells attack and inject poison into any AIDS-infected cells they find. Now that scientists have been made aware of this, they hope to understand how they work and finally create a usable vaccine.
Fact Six: It seems cats might deserve the upgrade to man’s best friend because they might just hold the key to the curing to HIV. Cats suffer from a very similar disease known as FIV, which has been extensively researched. Scientists have discovered an FIV vaccination, and are hoping this could lead to a breakthrough in treating HIV infected patients.
Fact Seven: 95% of the world’s HIV-infected population lives in the world’s poorest countries, indicating a definite correlation between poverty, lack of education, lesser development and the contraction of the disease.
Fact Eight: The HIV virus is fairly large in size. To add to this, it has a unique structure that gives it an advantage over all other viruses--making it difficult to kill. This is especially due to its ability to quickly attach to a host cell.
HIV is also known as a mutant supervirus thanks to its incredibly fast replication system that helps it mutate faster. This makes it easier for the virus to become immune to antiretrovirals.
Fact Nine: HIV is not transmitted by any and all fluid contact. Numerous misconceptions exist about how it is transmitted but most are unsubstantiated. For example, there is still no concrete evidence that HIV can actually be transmitted via piercings, tattooing or through bodily fluids other than blood or sperm.
Fact Ten: Here are some scary facts about HIV/AIDS:
-Every minute, 11 people are infected with this terrible disease.
-Women are 8 times more likely than men to contract this disease through one-time sexual intercourse.
-75% of the world’s infected population do not even know they are infected!
-HIV symptoms can remain dormant for up to 10 whole years.
-HIV can survive up for to 6 Weeks in syringes used by intravenous drug users or in bio-hazardous waste material from a medical facility.
-Pictures courtesy Thinkstock-
you might also like
With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes mixes the old an...
If Bollywood ever went down the 007 agent route, w...