is HIV and AIDS?
Irish Examiner 28/02/2007
By Conor Kane
Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which slowly
destroys CD4+ white blood cells in the body. These
cells help to fight infections and diseases caused
by viruses and bacteria. When somebody's immune
system is no longer working properly, because of
HIV's destruction of the CD4+ cells, they may be
diagnosed with AIDS.
How is HIV contracted?
Blood, semen and vaginal fluids can spread HIV during
sex, in the sharing of needles or syringes contaminated
with HIV-infected blood; through blood transfusions
where blood is not screened (it has been screened
in Ireland for many years), and, in some cases,
from a HIV positive mother to her unborn child.
How is it diagnosed?
HIV antibodies can be detected in blood, saliva,
and urine. How is it prevented? AIDS is preventable
through precautions like not sharing needles or
syringes; avoiding unprotected sex with anyone of
an unknown sexual history and using condoms.
What are the gender issues?
Myths that men are more likely to be infected with
HIV than women were exploded by the World Health
Organisation (WHO), which found that, worldwide,
approximately as many women as men suffer from HIV.
Biological factors mean that "women are probably
more susceptible than men to HIV infection in any
given heterosexual encounter", the WHO has said.
Customs allow men in some cultures to have more
sexual partners than women and to have sexual relations
with much younger women. This, and biological factors,
mean that, rates of heterosexual infection of HIV
are "much higher" globally among young women than
AIDS: Some Global Realities
" Someone, somewhere is infected with HIV every
8 seconds. " 39.5 million people worldwide are living
with HIV. " About 4.3 million people were newly
infected in 2006. " 2.9 million people died of AIDS
last year. " Every day, 8,000 people die of AIDS-related
illness - equivalent to half the population of Ireland
each year. " About 65% of new infections occurred
in sub-Saharan Africa