Model: Adebayo Busayo
The story above was a message I got last week on social media. Let’s carefully see why something is wrong with this message…
Doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS after 15days of eating pineapple mixed with HIV infected blood!
HIV infection should have being the right term to use. HIV infection, when contracted either through unprotected sexual intercourse or through contact with infected blood takes a minimum of about six weeks before diagnosis can be made. This period is what is called window period, hence a test after 15 days of exposure to this infection may not show that a fellow has HIV infection!
AIDS on the other hand, termed Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, are sets of late or end stage clinical manifestations of HIV infection. That is while the word syndrome appears. The most striking feature seen in such patient is severe loss of weight, termed emaciation. Other life threatening clinical features are also present.
So after chewing pineapple stained with infected blood, this boy was infected!
Nawa o, the above statement may also be wrong. It is almost impossible to contract HIV infection through eating foods contaminated with the infected blood, why? Because the virus may not stay longer than few seconds outside the body fluids. Except on few occasions.
1. HIV is sensitive to high temperatures but not to extreme cold. Experiments have shown that HIV is killed by heat, but temperatures over 60°C are needed to achieve reliable killing of HIV.
2. Levels of virus remain relatively stable in blood at room temperature, and HIV may persist for at least a week in dried blood at 4°C. Blood containing HIV used for laboratory experiments is stored at –70°C without any loss of viral activity.
3. HIV may survive for up to four weeks in syringes after HIV-infected blood has been drawn up into the syringe and then flushed out. A study of blood gathered from more than 800 syringes filled with small amounts of HIV-infected blood and stored for various periods found that HIV could be isolated from 10% of syringes after eleven days where the quantity of blood was less than 2µl, but 53% of syringes where the quantity of blood was 20µl. Longer survival of HIV was also associated with lower storage temperature (less than 4°C); at higher temperatures (27 to 37°C) survival was not detected beyond seven days.
4. HIV is very sensitive to changes in alkalinity or acidity – pH level – and pH levels below 7 or above 8 are unsuitable for long-term survival of HIV. One reason why HIV transmission may be less likely in healthy women is due to the acidity of vaginal secretions.
5. HIV may survive in dried blood at room temperature for up to five or six days provided that the optimum pH level is maintained; drying of blood does not seem to affect the infectivity of HIV.
6. Sewage is highly unlikely to pose a risk because infectious HIV has never been isolated from faeces or urine. However, research by Thames Water has shown that HIV can survive for several days in sewage in the laboratory.
7. HIV does not survive as long as other viruses in sea water.
8. Infectious HIV has been recovered from human corpses between eleven and 16 days after death in bodies stored at the usual mortuary temperature of 2°C. It is unclear how long infectious HIV may persist in corpses left to decay at normal room temperature, but HIV has been cultured from organs stored at 20°C up to 14 days after death. HIV was not detected in significant quantities later than 16 days, implying that buried corpses or those preserved for long periods pose less of a risk to undertakers and pathologists. Reference: AIDSMAP.COM
Entire family underwent a medical check up. None of them suffered from AIDS!
When a lenti-viral test is done, the result comes as either HIV positive or negative, and not AIDS positive or negative. AIDS as a late presentation of the infection is a clinical diagnosis!
Please take care while u eat on the road side (particularly Water Melon, Pineapple and Pawpaw (cut to size and packed in Nylon)) and please forward this mail to your dear ones!
One more thing that is wrong with this message is, it was meant to promote awareness on food hygiene and not HIV/AIDS. Like I noted earlier, one is unlikely to contract the infection from food!
Now, what do you do after you are exposed to HIV infection?
How can one be exposed to HIV infection?
1. You may be exposed to HIV infection if you just had unprotected sexual intercourse with someone you know or deemed as HIV infected.
2. In the event of a rape or you have been sexually assaulted by someone or an unknown person whose HIV status is also unknown.
3. As a health worker, you have just had a needle prick or sharps prick with the same sharps you have just used on a patient whose HIV status is known or unknown.
4. A baby in the womb whose mother is HIV positive or a baby being breastfed by an HIV positive mother.
If through any of the above means, you are exposed to the infection, the urgent step to take is to see a physician without delay, so as for you to be started on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, PEP. PEP is a regimen (usually 2 or 3 of the regular anti-retroviral drugs for HIV positive patients) that is given within the first 72hours after exposure to HIV infection, these drugs are taken for about twenty eight days. The outcome is, it helps to restrict the high replication rate of the virus thus may prevent the exposed person from having the infection. A test is done before the drugs are prescribed to check if there is an existing infection, if there is, there may not be any need to start on PEP, instead, full regimen of HAART (Highly Active Anti Retro Viral Therapy) may be commenced, depending on the clinical stage of the infection and other parameters.
After a period of six weeks, another test would be required to confirm that an exposed person — that was negative before exposure and took a month dose of PEP– remains negative.
Please, it is important for us to know that PEP may fail! Failure rate is very low however.
A pregnant woman who is diagnosed of HIV infection carries an exposed baby. In this case, the mother is started on anti-retro viral drugs to reduce the HIV viral loads, putting the baby’s risk of contracting the infection at minimal. After birth, the mother is either given the option of breastfeeding her child or placing her child on infant formulae, if she chooses the former, the baby may also be placed on one of the anti-retro viral regimen to reduce his/her risk of contracting the infection through breastmilk.
Thanks for reading this. Coming up next, is episode 6 of Doctor-Patient Palaver.