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P3.088 Human Immuno Deficiency Syndrome: A Global Cry
  1. R N M Mbugua1,
  2. E A Bukusi2
  1. 1Kenya Medical Research Institute/Kenya Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS/Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
  2. 2Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. 3Kenya Network of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, Nairobi, Kenya


Objectives The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retro-virus that attacks the immune system of the host individual, slowly invading and killing T-cells. As the disease progresses, individuals become increasingly susceptible to other illnesses. Eventually usually within 7 to 10 years the compromised immune system will lead to death through another proximate cause. An individual is said to have (AIDS) once their immune system has been severely compromised.

Methods The most common channels of transmission are sexual; the other major type of transmission is vertical from mother to child either in the womb, during birth, or while breastfeeding. HIV can also be spread through sharing needles (either by intravenous drug users, or poor hygiene in hospitals) and through transfusions with infected blood.

Results The efficiency of these transmission mechanisms varies. Infection rates are higher for anal than vaginal sex, higher still for mother-to-child transmission, and extremely high (close 100 percent) for transfusion with infected blood.

Drugs that dramatically slow the progression of HIV have become available in recent years. Use of these regimens in the developing world is rare, due both to the cost of the drugs (even in generic form) and the difficulty of administering daily drug cocktails on a continent with few doctors.

Conclusions Interventions in Africa have focused more on prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission, education about changes in sexual behaviour, treatment of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and treatment of tuberculosis and other disease associated with HIV/AIDS.

  • opportunistic infections
  • retro-virus
  • The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

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