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Q.9 Is there a connection between HIV infection and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) ?
  • Presence of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV, about 3 to 10 times, depending upon the nature of STI.
  • STIs may cause discharge from the genitals or sores/ulcers on the genital areas. These conditions provide easy entry point to the HIV.
  • STI’s can be cured while HIV infection can not be. So timely treatment of STIs is essential.
  • People have several myths about STIs. They need to know the symptoms of STIs and take treatment from registered medical practitioner.
  • Use of condoms protects from both STIs as well as HIV infection.
Q.10 What are the symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in men and women ?
Ans. STI symptoms in men
  • Discharge or pus from the penis.
  • Sores, blisters, rashes or boils on the penis.
  • Swelling in the genital area.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Itching in and around the genital area.
STI symptoms in women :
  • Unusual and foul smelling discharge from the vagina.
  • Sores, blisters, rashes or boils around the genitais.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Lumps on or near the genital area.
  • Pain or burning sexual intercourse.
  • Itching in and around the genital area.
  • It is important to know these symptoms and take immediate treatment. Self medication needs to be avoided.
  • It is important to take the full course of prescribed treatment, even if the symptoms disappear.
  • As sexual partner(s) may also have the same infection, it is important to get the partner(s) treated as well.
Q.11 How can we protect ourselves from getting infected through infected blood?
  • In case of injury requiring blood transfusion blood should be taken from a licensed blood bank.
  • All blood collected for donation in now tested for HIV also;
  • Hospitals/nursing homes, doctors and paramedical staff need to make sure that the equipment for injections and operation is properly sterilized. Unnecessary blood transfusion needs to be avoided.
  • People should also insist on use of sterilized syringes/disposable syringe for injections.
  • Injection drug users should avoid sharing of needles/syringes.
  • To prevent HIV infection through blood, both individuals as well as health care providers must take precautions.
  • There is no risk in donating blood.
Q.12 How can the HIV infection from mother to child be prevented ?
  • There is 25-40% chance that an infected pregnant mother would pass on the infection to her child.
  • If the couple knows their status, they could decide whether or not to have the child.
  • In case couple wants to have the child or it is a should receive information and counseling, and explore the following option.
    - Mother could take the available treatment both for herself and the new born child.
    - Couple could opt for the caesarian delivery instead of the normal delivery.
    - Couple could decide not to breast feed, if it is affordable and discuss options available in consultation with the doctor/counselor.
  • Mother to child transmission of HIV can also be prevented.
  • The couple needs to know the available options and act upon them.
Q.13 What are the symptoms of AIDS ?
Ans. AIDS is a condition of weakened immune system caused by HIV infection. In this condition symptoms of various opportunistic infections appear causing certain cancers, tumors, tuberculosis, pneumonia, brain and skin related problems.
According to WHO, main signs/symptoms are;
(A) Major Signs:
  • Weight loss(<10% of body weight)
  • Persistent fever for longer than a month.
  • Chronic diarrhea for longer than a month.
(B) Minor Signs;
  • Persistent cough
  • General itchy skin diseases
  • Thrush in mouth and throat
  • Recurring shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Long lasting swelling of the lymph glands
  • Only on the basis of symptoms, HIV/AIDS cannot be confirmed. A blood test is necessary.