HIV Infections and AIDS

Mode of Sexual: Heterosexual intercourse is the most transmission common mode of transmission/acquisition world wide. Parenteral spread is from blood and blood products, before screening and heat treatment were introduced, and from sharing infected needles. Transmission from mother to fetus. From 11 to 30% of children born to HIV antibody positive women will be infected (i.e. have antibodies persisting for greater than 18 months or develop clinical and or immunological manifestations of HIV at an earlier stage). Maternal health is an important factor in transmission of infection to the fetus. Of those infants who acquire HIV from their mothers, about 25% will develop AIDS in the first year of life.

Clinical Features: AIDS is defined as an illness caused by HIV and characterized by one or more ‘indicator’ diseases which include candidiasis of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract. Pneumocystis carini pneumonia and toxoplasmosis of the brain. Kaposi’s sarcoma is rare in women, otherwise the spectrum of disease seen in men and women is similar.

Women and HIV: Important issues for women with HIV concern choice of contraception and wishes regarding pregnancy. There is no evidence that pregnancy accelerate the progress to AIDS. It has been suggested that the combined oral contraceptive pill may increase the risk of transmission and that an IUCD may put women with HIV at increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.