PROTECTING HOUSEHOLD FROM HIV/AIDS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

Publish by: Inanna Women Empowerment Foundation (IWEF)

PROTECTING HOUSEHOLD FROM HIV/AIDS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES…From the Inanna Mothers Handbook on “Protecting Household from HIV/Aids and Its Consequences”.

HIV/AIDS is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. Is one of the deadliest pandemic diseases enveloping the world; Extreme care is taken to prevent the contraction of HIV as cure is not exactly possible. To a large extent, prevention revolves round sexual responsibility and how we handle our sexual behaviors. Although stringent measures has been taken to prevent its spread and curtail its negative effect on man and the economy at large, the awareness program has been the major help line in managing the epidemic.
On its own, HIV, which infects a vital immune system cell called the CD4 cell (CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Another name for them is T-helper cells), doesn’t produce many life-threatening symptoms. What makes it so dangerous; however is that the virus ultimately destroys CD4 cells, weakening the immune system and making the body vulnerable to deadly opportunistic infections and diseases; a sign that AIDS has taken hold.

ROTECTING HOUSEHOLD FROM HIV/AIDS AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

Likely HIV/AIDS infections:

People living with HIV/AIDS are at a high risk of becoming infected by a wide range of different viruses and microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The most common opportunistic infections that people with HIV/AIDS experience include:
1. Candidiasis: an infection by yeast in the genus Candida, which in serious cases can affect the esophagus, trachea, bronchi, and the deeper lung tissues.
2. Herpes simplex: This can cause bronchitis, pneumonia and esophagitis.
3. Histoplasmosis: a lung infection by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum that causes a flu- and pneumonia-like symptoms as well as progressive disseminated Histoplasmosis, a disease that can affect other organs.
4. Isosporiasis: a chronic intestinal infection by the parasite Isosporabelli.
5. Tuberculosis: This is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
6. Pneumonia: caused by Streptococcus pneumonia.
7. Septicemia: (blood infection) by the bacteria Salmonella.
8. Toxoplasmosis: a brain infection by the parasite Toxoplasma Gondi.
9. Cryptococcosis: an infection by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which first affects the lungs (causing pneumonia) and the brain (causing swelling), before spreading to the skin, bones, and urinary tract.
10. Cryptosporidiosis: an infection and diarrheal disease caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium.

Abstinence and Preventions tips
Today, more tool than ever are available to prevent HIV.
A. Limit your number of sexual partners,
B. Never share needles,
C. Use condoms correctly and consistently, you may be able to take advantage of newer biomedical options such as pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.
D. Abstain from oral sex
E. Treat open or healing wounds, or skin infections.
F. Don’t allow untested blood transfusion
G. Avoid blood or body fluids, secretions, excretions or non-intact skin with infected patient.
H. Talk to your doctor about getting HIV medicine if you’re at substantial risk for HIV. Take to your doctor right away if you have a possible exposure to HIV. Get tested and treated for other STDs and encourage your partner to get and stay on treatment. If you are sexually active, get tested at least once a year. Avoid having your partner ejaculate in your mouth, and use barriers such as condoms, natural rubber latex sheets, dental dams, or cut-open non-lubricated condoms, between your mouth and your partner’s genitals.
If you are living with HIV, use ART. ART reduces the amount of virus (viral load) in your blood and body. Use condoms steadily and avoid risky sexual behaviors. If you are pregnant with a child, you can lower your risk of transmitting HIV to your child by taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy, labor and delivery, having a C-section; and avoiding breastfeeding.

Household precaution tips when managing HIV/AIDS
It is incredibly rare for HIV to be transmitted in a household setting. In a very few cases, HIV has been transmitted when there was unprotected contact between infected blood and broken skin or mucous membranes. To prevent even such rare occurrences, you should take the following precautions when caring for someone living with HIV:
A. Wear gloves if you are going to have contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, feces, or vomit.
B. Cover cuts, sores, or breaks in the skin with bandages. This applies to both you and the person living with HIV/AIDS.
C. Wash your hands and other parts of your body immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids. Disinfect surfaces soiled with blood.
D. Avoid practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes.
E. Use needles and other sharp instruments only when medically necessary and handle them according to recommendations for healthcare settings. (Do not put caps back on needles by hand or remove needles from syringes. Dispose of needles in puncture-proof containers out of the reach of children and visitors.)

 

Written by: Theophilus Izobofolo


Ebola virus belongs to the family of viruses called Filoviridae. There are five species of the virus, some being more lethal than others. Its incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days with an observed average of 8 to 10 days and its principal mode of transmission are through human to animal, person to person by direct contact body fluid/ secretion of infected person and sexual intercourse.

Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 in Sudan, Nzara and in Tambuku, Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). This virus EVD was located in a village near the Ebola River and this brought about the name Ebola. EVD is a severe disease where patients suffer from fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headache followed by nausea, vomiting and many more. Since its appearance in 1976, EVD has persisted in African with over 20 outbreaks being recorded. These outbreaks where in 70s, 90s and 2000-2012 which affected remote villages near tropical rainforests in several countries including the DRC, Congo, Uganda, Gabon and Cote d Ivoire. In total, the outbreaks from 1976-2012 affected 2,387 people and caused 1,490 deaths while from 2013-2015 at least 26,194 suspected cases and 10,857 confirmed deaths.

Currently, Ebola outbreak started in Guinea and first case occurred in December 2013 which was a result of Zaire species of Ebola virus and this virus has migrated to other various countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria etc.The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. There were a small number of cases reported in Nigeria and Mali and a single case reported in Senegal; however, these cases were contained, with no further spread in these countries.As from 14th August,2014 up to date, 1, 975 suspected persons are affected while 1, 069 persons are suspected dead from the virus.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola virus is not an airborne virus. The Ebola virus was initially spread to humans through contact with animals such as monkeys, chimpanzees and bats. In some cases, the Ebola virus can be spread from person to person by body fluids(human-to-human transmissions through direct contact).  Direct contact means that blood secretions, organs or other body fluids containing the virus must come into contact with broken skin or the mucous membranes of a healthy individual in order for the virus to be transmitted.  The fluids may come directly from the infected patient or from surfaces touched by the sick individual, such as bedding or clothing. The virus is mostly transmitted through blood, feaces, breast milk, urine, and semen. It is also believed that it may be even transmitted through tears and saliva. Ebola is not spread through the air. This means that a person cannot contract the virus from breathing the same air as an infected individual. However, if an infected person directly sneezes on an individual and the mucus from that sneeze comes into contact with an open cut or the eyes, nose or mouth of someone else, there is a chance of infection.

Symptoms noted in Ebola patients include:

(a) a fever greater than 38.6 degrees Celsius; (b) muscle pain; (c) severe headache; (d) weakness; (e) diarrhea; (f) vomiting; (g) abdominal pain; (h) blood in stool; (i) rashes; (j) bleeding from nose, eye and/or mouth; (k) chills; (l) sore throat; (m) lack of appetite; (n) weight loss; (o) chest pain; (p) red eyes and ; (q)internal bleeding

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

Because the symptoms of Ebola are so much like those of other diseases, medical professionals use series of test to diagnose EVD (Ebola Virus Disease). The common tests include the following:

Virus isolation by cell culture
Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Serum neutralization test
Antigen-capture detection tests
Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
Liver function test
Blood coagulation test
Treatment for Ebola Virus

There is no cure for Ebola, nor are there any vaccines that can prevent the disease. Those who recover from the disease do so through the strength of their own immune system. Doctors have found that one of the most important treatments for patients afflicted with the virus is simply helping them breathe, to give their immune system a better chance to fight off the disease. The use of supportive care, along with intravenous fluids or oral dehydration with solutions containing electrolytes is important. Maintaining blood pressure and replacing lost blood also are part of the supportive care. Doctors are trying several experimental treatments on patients. Some doctors are giving patients blood transfusions from those who have survived Ebola. The hope is that the survivor’s antibodies will help the receipt’s antibodies which will help the recipient’s immune system fight off the virus. Z-mapp and Brincidofovir are two experimental treatments for Ebola.

Patients who recover from Ebola can develop antibodies that will protect them from the virus for at least 10 years, or possibly even longer. There is one exception, though. A recovered patient can still spread the virus with semen for up to three months after they recover. Doctors advise anyone who is recovering from Ebola to use condoms or to refrain from intercourse for three months.

Prevention of the Ebola Virus

Current policy for prevention of Ebola disease focuses on avoiding contact with the virus. The precautions that can help prevent Ebola infection are listed below:

Avoid traveling to areas of known Ebola outbreaks.
Maintain basic hygiene.
Drink clean water from a clean source.
Cook meat thoroughly and properly. Never eat undercooked meat.
Avoid having bush meat as food.
Avoid contact with wild animals.
Avoid contact with Ebola infected people.
Health workers should wear protective clothing like gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields.
Always keep infected people away from others.
Dispose of the used needles properly and sterilize other instruments.
Do not try to prepare for last rites of the people who died due to Ebola. Let the specially organized and trained teams to handle burials and other procedure regarding death rituals.
If you notice any symptoms that resemble those of Ebola, seek medical care.
While Ebola is extremely infectious, it is not extremely contagious. Laboratory experiments show that even a single virus can lead to a fatal infection.

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