February 27, 2024

AIDS – A Pandemic Disease Claiming Victims All across the Globe

Image credit:Gary van der Merwe

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dr. Biswarup Ghosh, PhD December 1, 2022

Everyone will be amazed to know about the story of K Pradipkumar Singh- the famous bodybuilder from Manipur who went on to become Mr Manipur, Mr India, and Mr South Asia. He even took part at the Mr World Contest and claimed the bronze medal at the competition. However, everything is not glorious in his life. During his young age, he got lured into the world of drugs. Along with the regular side-effects of intoxication, he even contracted the severe pandemic disease- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). During 2000, he came to know about the slow poison inside his body, which was slowly taking him to the verge of death. However, Pradipkumar decided to challenge against this disease and fight it till the end.

How did Pradipkumar go-ahead with the fight against AIDS?

Initially, he felt fragile; the psychological pain associated with the disease was also taking a toll on his health. His neighbours and relatives started maintaining distance with the family, and even the medical staff of the hospital where he underwent his treatment did not behave properly. They gave him a corner bed without any mattress or bedsheet while receiving therapy. However, his family especially, sister-in-law Bhanu Devi stood by his side firmly during the entire tenure of treatment. He also practised a very disciplined life- turning away from every form of intoxication, eating nutritious food, and timely intake of medicine. With sheer determination, Pradipkumar started spreading awareness against AIDS.  He also took employment as a physical trainer at the prestigious Department of Sports and Youth Affairs under the Manipur State Government.

What is the current scenario of AIDS throughout the world?

Every year on 1st December, people across the globe observe World AIDS Day raising awareness about the dreadful disease. However, even to this day, this pandemic disease is claiming numerous innocent lives in several countries. According to the database maintained by the World Health Organisation (WHO), towards the end of 2018, approximately 37.9 million individuals were living with Human Immune Virus (HIV) within their system. An estimated 770,000 victims succumbed to this deadly medical condition in 2018.

However, we have some positive news related to AIDS. Between 2000 and 2018, WHO has noticed a reduction of new HIV infection by 37 per cent. Even India recorded a sharp 46 per cent decrease in the rate of new infection in comparison to 2010 figures. There was also a reduction in fatality by 22 per cent during this period. The latest report supported the fact that, until June 2019, approximately  24.5 million people across the globe were getting treated through antiretroviral therapy (ART).

How are HIV and AIDS related?

HIV is a virus invading the immune system of victims by killing CD4 cells. These cells are essential warriors of the body’s defence mechanism, and over time with less number of fighters, the immune system becomes weak. The number of CD4 cells in healthy individuals ranges between 500 to 1,500 per cubic millimetre. If this figure reaches below 200 per cubic millimetre, the patient gets diagnosed with AIDS. At this instance, victims start experiencing various types of opportunistic infections within the body.

Doctors report three stages of HIV infection

  • stage 1:  Also known as the acute stage, prevails during the first few weeks after transmission of the virus
  • stage 2: This stage is also known as clinical latency or chronic stage
  • stage 3: Diagnosis of AIDS

Finally, we can say that AIDS develops in patients when they remain with untreated HIV for a long time. There is no cure for this pandemic disease and the average life expectancy in patients without undergoing any treatment is around three years. Currently some promising clinical trials are ongoing. However, with antiretroviral therapy, it is possible to enhance the life expectancy of individuals manifold.