AIDS- Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

CAUSE:

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This retrovirus invades and destroys cells of the immune system resulting in lowered resistance to infections and some types of cancers.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

Fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent respiratory and skin infections, fever, swollen lymph glands throughout the body, enlarged spleen, diarrhea, mouth sores, night sweats. The presence of one or more opportunistic diseases such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma, Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP), or Tuberculosis may trigger the classification of AIDS in an HIV positive individual. Symptoms of AIDS may not appear for 10 or more years.

INCUBATION PERIOD:

The time from HIV infection to AIDS can be from 2 months to 10 years or more.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION:

HIV is present in certain body fluids (semen, blood, and vaginal secretions, breast milk) of infected individuals. Transmission occurs through person to person by sexual contact, exchange of blood or semen, by sharing HIV contaminated intravenous needles and syringes, transfusion of blood or blood products and breast milk which contains HIV. Routine social or community contact with an HIV-infected person carries no risk of transmission.

PERIOD OF COMMUNICABILITY:

Throughout the course of the disease and lifetime of a person with positive HIV.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES:

Use Universal/Standard Precautions. Use approved disinfectant and gloves to clean up body fluids (semen, blood, vomitus). Educate individuals concerning the mode of transmission, sex education, abstinence, safer sex practices, and avoiding the use of illegal intravenous drugs.

CONFIDENTIALITY:

Confidentiality of diagnosis, records, etc. must be maintained at all times by everyone involved. There are legal implications concerning a student or employee with HIV/AIDS