Dawaai Blog

AIDS –The Deadliest Disease


Medically reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Shera.

After cancer, if there is any disease that will scare the intestines out of you, it’s AIDS. We have all heard about it, yet the fact that it will only lead to death is enough for us to not even want to know. Or the fact that it’s sexually transmitted makes us believe that it’s not that common and will be encountered by us or any of our loved ones.

However, that’s not the case. It isn’t just a sexually transmitted disease, but can pass through most or all the fluid of the body. Therefore, it’s important to know everything there is to know about this dreadful disease.


First of all, what we need to understand is that HIV and AIDS are different. HIV is a virus and AIDS is a disease that is caused by the respective virus. HIV which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus is transferred from one person to another through body fluids which are semen, rectal and vaginal fluids, and blood and breast milk.

When the HIV virus infection has become advanced, AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is caused. The virus mainly attacks the disease fighting cells of the immune system. The loss of these cells then gradually destroys the immune system, making it prone to all kinds of infections, diseases and cancers. When the ratio of HIV to infection fighting cells is 10x more, it turns into AIDS which sadly means, ‘too late’.

It’s tricky to judge the symptoms

Within 2 to 4 weeks of an HIV infection, the infected person may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and rash. As these symptoms are just normal signs of flu or an allergy, it’s likely that HIV will be overlooked.

However, since the mode of transmission is body fluids, anyone with multiple sexual partners, and sharing injection drug equipment should be tested for HIV once these symptoms show up.

In terms of progression and when the HIV infection has advanced to become AIDS, symptom such as long-lasting fever, weakness and sudden weight loss indicate the advancement. It will reach the epitome of severity when opportunistic infections (such infections or infection related cancers that are more severe in people with a weak immune system caused by bacteria that would otherwise not be harmful)

Saving yourself

To be able to lower down the risks of HIV, make sure that you are having protected sex and do not have multiple sexual partners. Conversely, never ever share injection drug equipment.

Diagnosing AIDS

To be able to figure out whether the HIV positive individual has progressed to AIDS, a blood test to measure the number of CD4 cells is carried out. If the number of these cells is less than 200 cells/mm², AIDS is confirmed. Apart from that, the presence of certain opportunistic infections is also a good enough diagnostic tool.

Is treatment even an option?

If the HIV infection is diagnosed in time, and before it has progressed to AIDS, the antiretroviral therapy or ART can help a great deal. It is a combination of several HIV medicines that stop the virus from multiplying and advancing to AIDS.

However, if the person already has AIDS, the odds are very little. The doctors would still put the person on ART, but all the acquired infections need to be taken care of as well. Since the immune system is at its weakest, the prognosis is also very poor.

All in all

AIDS is a disease that is surprisingly common in Pakistan. Therefore, it’s important to educate the masses about it. This article is our way of doing so.

Guest Credits: Dr Maleeha Syed



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