Diseases and Its Impact on Humans

Introduction This research is aimed at informing the reader on different types of diseases and the impact it has on humans. Enclosed herein are details on the types, treatments, transmissions and descriptions of different diseases in the region and around the world. Additionally, one will gain information on sexually transmitted diseases/infections such as A. I. D. S. and how they can be controlled. Lastly, the reader, at the end of reading the research, should be able to identify, know the treatments and causes of several different diseases; as detailed information will be provded.

DISEASE TYPES 1. A disease is a condition in which the health of an organism is damaged. Diseases can be divided into four main types: pathogenic, deficiency, hereditary and physiological types. a) Pathogenic – caused by parasitic organisms [pathogens] like viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and worms. Example: Influenza, malaria, cholera b) Deficiency – caused by a shortage of a nutrient [e. g. vitamin, mineral] in diet. Example: iron deficiency anaemia, kwashiorkor, night blindness c) Hereditary – caused by genes passed on from one generation to the next.

Example: sickle cell anaemia, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis d) Physiological – caused by a malfunction of a body’s organ. Example: diabetes, glaucoma, asthma, hypertension, stroke DIESEASE TREATMENT AND CONTROL TYPE OF DISEASE| TREATMENT | CONTROL | Pathogenic – [influenza] caused by virus invading the body. | Rest for the symptoms and vaccination for specific strains of the virus. | Prevent overcrowding and exposure the virus. Prevent droplet infection through coughs/sneezes etc; washing hands. | Deficiency – [anaemia] caused by deficiency of iron, which reduces red blood cells and the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood.

| Eating iron rich foods like red meat, green leafy vegetables. Take iron tablets. | Education about a balanced diet, food groups, etc. | Hereditary – [sickle cell] caused by gene passing to the offspring, eventually reducing oxygen carrying ability of the red blood cells. | Avoiding situation where oxygen supply is reduced. No treatment or cure available. | Genetic counseling| Physiological – [diabetes] caused by inability of Langerhans to produce insulin, thus body cells are unable to absorb glucose which is in the blood.

| Insulin injection or tablet; low carbohydrate diet and exercise. | Education on the importance of diet and exercise. | 2. The role of diet and exercise in controlling hypertension and diabetes [physiological diseases] is that it helps to control and to a large extent prevent these diseases. Having a diet low in salt and fat, as well as reducing alcohol consumption; combined with plenty of moderate exercise such as aerobics/swimming can reduce obesity and thus control/prevent diabetes.

Additionally, by controlling carbohydrate intake – consuming foods containing polysaccharides rather than simple sugars – and having regular, moderate exercise will reduce blood glucose levels, reduce blood glucose levels, improving circulation and maintain fitness. VECTORS AND TRANSMISSION OF DISEASES 3. Vectors spread disease by carrying the pathogen from host to host. Examples of vectors include flies, mosquitoes and rats. Example: Mosquitoes are vectors for malaria and many other diseases in man. Also, flies feed on the food we then eat and so spread disease.

Pathogens transmitted by vectors have two hosts: * The primary host, in which they feed and cause disease. * The secondary or intermediate host, in which they usually reproduce, but cause no harm. Vectors are the secondary hosts. Since vectors are unharmed, they serve as reservoirs from which pathogens can be continually spread to their primary hosts, therefore ensuring the transmission of the pathogens. Control of vector reservoirs is, therefore, of utmost importance in the control of diseases spread by them.

In controlling any vector its life cycle must be fully understood to determine at which stage or stages control would be most effective. LIFE STAGES/CYCLE OF MOSQUITO [ANOPHELES] 4. The protozoan which causes malaria, Plasmodium, is carried by the Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito undergoes complete metamorphosis, i. e. in growing from young to adult, growth occurs by several total changes in form as follows: * Egg – laid in still water * Larva – the feeding and growing stage. Lives in still water, breathed air. * Pupa – the stage in which larval tissue reorganizes to form adult tissue.

Lives in still water, breathes air. * Adult or Imago – the flying reproductive stage which transmits the malaria parasite CONTROL METHODS FOR THE LIFE STAGES OF A VECTOR THE CONTROL OF THE ANOPHELES MOSQUITO 5. Measures to control the mosquito include: * Spraying adults with insecticides * Spraying oil onto still water breeding areas to interfere with the breathing of larvae and pupae * Draining breeding areas to kill larvae and pupae.

* Spraying breeding areas with insecticides to kill larvae and pupae * Introducing fish, e. g. Tilapia, into breeding areas to eat larvae and pupae TRANSMISSION AND CONTROL OF A. I. D. S. AND GONORRHOEA 6. A. I. D. S [Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome] is caused by the agent H. I. V. [Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome] through sexual intercourse, infected needles, infected blood products and mother to baby during pregnancy and birth.

To control the disease, for which there is no know vaccine, persons are encouraged to: * Keep to one sexual partner * Use condoms * Trace all sexual contacts of infected persons * Don’t use intravenous drugs * Test all human products to be given intravenously for the AIDS Virus, e. g. whole blood plasma On the other hand, Gonorrhoea is caused by Bacterium [Neisseria gonhorrhoea] and is transmitted through: sexual intercourse and from mother to the eyes of a baby during birth – which leads to blindness if not treated.

The disease, for which there is no known vaccine, can be controlled, if persons: * Keep to one sexual partner * Use condoms * Trace all sexual contacts of infected persons Social/Economic Implications of STD’S include: * Cost of treating and caring for those afflicted by the virus is high * Reduction in workforce

* The family of an infected person suffers emotionally and financially * Millions of dollars is spent worldwide to find a cure for HIV * People with AIDS may be scorned and alienated form society * These diseases are easily spread in an activity which is a basic human drive – sexual intercourse * Millions of children worldwide suffer with AIDS, many are orphans. ROLE OF BLOOD DEFENING AGAINST DISEASES 7. Microorganisms are all around us. These microscopic organisms are in the air we breathe, in the food we eats, on everything we touch and all over our bodies. The skin is the body’s first line of defense.

It acts as a physical barrier. When there are breaks in this barrier, such as cuts or sores, the body reacts to produce blood clots and a meshwork of fibrous scar tissue. The opening is thus blocked, which prevents microorganisms that can cause disease, from entering the body. Sometimes these invaders breach the first line of defense and enter the body. Some white blood cells, called pathogens, move out of the blood and to the infected areas. There they engulf the invading microorganisms, killing and removing them from the body before they can cause disease. This is our second line of defense.

In simpler terms, white blood cells [phagocytes] are our second line of dense. The leave the blood and migrate to the site of the infection. The phagocytes can cope with any small, non-specific invasion by pathogens. If more dangerous, specific pathogens enter, then an immune response is activated. Another kind of white blood cell, called lymphocytes, recognize the specific pathogen and mobilizes other lymphocytes that make antibodies to attack, disarm, destroy and remove these foreign bodies. Any body that is foreign or different and causes antibody formation is called an antigen.

This is our third line of defense against diseases. IMMUNIZATION AND CONTROL OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES 8. Immunization provides immunity to communicable diseases. This is achieved by injecting, or administering orally, small amounts of dead or weakened [attenuated] antigens into the body. This is called vaccination. The body is stimulated to produce antibodies. Often a second booster injection is given to stimulate a faster and longer-lasting production of antibodies. An example is the MMR Vaccine given at around 2 years of age or younger to protect children from diseases like measles mumps and rubella.

Immunization is known as artificial immunity. There are two types of artificial immunity: * Actively acquired – this is by vaccination at a suitable time in the person’s life, not when they are infected with the antigen. Immunity is obtained because if the real antigen should antigen should enter the body, antibodies are immediately and rapidly produced to destroy the antigens. This happens before symptoms develop and the person is said to be immune to the disease. * Passively acquired – the vaccine obtains ready-made antibodies which provide immediate relief by destroying the antigens.

This is given when the person has been infected with the antigen and has no previous immunity. The importance is seen when children are protected from dangerous diseases like polio, measles and mumps. This is achieved in a programme of immunization where often a second, booster injection or shot is given. This stimulates a quicker production of antibodies which is longer lasting and protects children from the diseases for an considerable time. EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE 9. A drug is a chemical that alters the functioning of living tissues. Many drugs are used medically to improve health.

If abused, all drugs, including prescription drugs e. g. valium/antibiotics, can become addictive and harmful. There are two types of addiction: physical addiction – body functions are dependent on the drug; if discontinued, severe withdrawal symptoms result and psychological addiction – functioning of the mind is altered by some drugs and a person feels he/she cannot function without it. Drug abuse may also be associated with: job loss, family and personal neglect, crime, increased demand on health services, auto-accidents, shortened life span and loss of human resources.

Abuse of Alcohol People who repeatedly drink alcoholic beverages in excess of normal social drinking customs run the risk of becoming alcoholics. Alcoholics are dependent on alcohol, alcoholism being classed as a disease. Severe alcoholism can lead to death. Children born to alcoholic mothers may suffer foetal alcohol syndrome characterized by mental retardation.

Some short-term and long term effects include: slurred speech, impaired mental functioning, and nausea and vomiting; physical and psychological dependence, severe physical withdrawal syndrome, malnutrition and risk of deficiency diseases and liver cancers etc.

Abuse of Cocaine Cocaine is a highly addictive drug which stimulates the central nervous system and depressed appetite. It has long been used by doctors as anesthetic. It is however abused as a drug its sense of euphoria. It is very addictive, especially in its pure form – crack. Many governments worldwide try to educate their people about the danger and destruction associated with cocaine such as: murder and corruption which follow its production and sale, emotional; financial and social suffering of the addict’s family and financial debt of addicts – as it is an expensive habit.

Abuse of Prescription Drugs Another kind of drug abuse that is increasing is the abuse of prescription drugs. Doctors assess the need for these drugs very carefully. However, some people abuse steroids, diet pills, tranquillizers and antibiotics for personal ‘miracles’, ignoring and sometimes ignorant of the harmful effects such as allergies. Careful steps should be taken to read all instruction on medicines used or prescribed by a doctor, to be aware of risks.

DISEASE IMPLICATIONS IN PLANTS AND ANIMALS 10. Disease within a population can cause loss of man hours, loss of productivity, loss of earnings, reduced economy, reduced standard of living, increased demands on health services, increased social unrest, increased crime and loss of human resources. Disease of livestock and agricultural crops results in loss of income, reduction in foods availability and a reduced standard of living. Additional Information – Atwaroo-Ali, 2009.

The loss of life and loss of working hours to disease are important social and economic factors in disease also. The research for cures and treatments to STI’s such as AIDS and degenerative diseases like cancer; places increasing demands on health services.

Man is also affected economically by the health of the crops and animal stocks that he grows for food. Loss of livestock [cows, pigs, chickens etc. ] and agricultural crops [rice, wheat, potato etc. ] due to disease can have serious economic complications. DETAILED LOOK AT COMMON DISEASES Dengue Fever Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever. Each year, an estimated 100 million cases of dengue fever occur worldwide.

Most of these are in tropical areas of the world. Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person. Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include: Sudden, high fever; severe headaches; pain behind the eyes; severe joint and muscle pain etc. Sometimes symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or anotherviral infection.

Younger children and people who have never had the infection before tend to have milder cases than older children and adults. However, serious problems can develop like: hemorrhagic fever, damage to lymph and damage to blood vessels. People with weakened immune systems as well as those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are believed to be at greater risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever. There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If one thinks they may have dengue fever, they should use pain relievers with acetaminophen and avoid medicines with aspirin, which could worsen bleeding.

They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see their doctor. If one starts to feel worse in the first 24 hours after the fever goes down, they should get to a hospital immediately to be checked for complications. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent bites by infected mosquitoes, particularly if you are living in or traveling to a tropical area. This involves protecting yourself and making efforts to keep the mosquito population down. To protect One’s Slef: * Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, if possible.

* Use mosquito repellents, even indoors. * When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks. * When indoors, use air conditioning if available. * Make sure window and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air conditioned, use mosquito nets. Typhoid Fever Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes a less severe illness.

The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area. Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. People with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage. About 3%-5% of people become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness. Others suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognized.

These people may become long-term carriers of the bacteria — even though they have no symptoms — and be the source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years. The incubation period is usually 1-2 weeks, and the duration of the illness is about 3-4 weeks. Symptoms include: Poor appetite, Headaches, Generalized aches and pains, Fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Lethargy and Diarrhea. Several antibiotics are effective for the treatment of typhoid fever. Chloramphenicol was the original drug of choice for many years. Because of rare serious side effects, chloramphenicol has been replaced by other effective antibiotics.

Cholera Cholera is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae, which lives and multiples (colonizes) in the small intestine but does not destroy or invade the intestinal tissue (noninvasive). The major symptom of cholera is massive watery diarrhea that occurs because of a toxin secreted by the bacteria that stimulates the cells of the small intestine to secrete fluid. There are several strains of vibrio cholerae and the severity of the disease is based on the particular infectious strain. Cholera is not a difficult disease to treat and most people recover well with appropriate oral fluid replacement (hydration).

However, if the disease goes untreated, it can rapidly lead to shock, as a result of fluid and electrolyte loss, and to life-threatening complications. It is contracted by ingesting contaminated water or food. Symptoms include profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. The danger of cholera is rapid dehydration, which can lead to death. The primary treatment is oral rehydration therapy to replace fluids and electrolytes. Cholera is a major cause of death worldwide. Ringworm Ringworm is a superficial skin infection, also known as tinea, which is caused by fungi, not a worm.

It is so named because ringworm is characterized by a red ring of scaly skin. Fungi are microscopic organisms that can live off the dead tissues of your skin, hair, and nails, much like a mushroom can grow on the bark of a tree. Ringworm is common, especially among children. However, it may affect people of all ages. It is caused by a fungus, not a worm like the name suggests. Many bacteria and fungi live on your body. Some of these are useful, while others can cause infections. Ringworm occurs when a type of fungus called tinea grows and multiplies on your skin. Ringworm can spread easily from one person to another.

You can catch ringworm if you touch someone who has the infection, or if you come into contact with items contaminated by the fungus, such as combs, unwashed clothing, and shower or pool surfaces. You can also catch ringworm from pets that carry the fungus. Cats are common carriers. The fungus that causes ringworm thrive in warm, moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you are often wet (such as from sweating) and from minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails. Symptoms of ringworm include: * Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. * The patches tend to have sharply-defined edges.

* Red patches are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. This may look like a ring. If ringworm affects your hair, you will have bald patches. If ringworm affects your nails, they will become discolored, thick, and even crumble. To care for ringworm: * Keep your skin clean and dry. * Apply over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, lotions, or creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients. * Don’t wear clothing that rubs against and irritates the area. * Wash sheets and nightclothes every day while you are infected. To prevent ringworm:

* Keep your skin and feet clean and dry. * Shampoo regularly, especially after haircuts. * Do not share clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, headgear, or other personal care items. Such items should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use. * Wear sandals or shoes at gyms, lockers, and pools. * Avoid touching pets with bald spots. Athlete’s Foot Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection caused by fungi that live in warm, moist areas like showers, gyms, and near pools. You can prevent athlete’s foot by wearing socks or shoes instead of going barefoot and keeping your feet clean and dry.

If you do get athlete’s foot, over-the-counter antifungal creams usually cure it. Most individuals with athlete’s foot have no symptoms at all and do not even know they have an infection. Many may think they simply have dry skin on the soles of their feet. Common symptoms of athlete’s foot typically include various degrees of itching and burning. The skin may frequently peel, and in particularly severe cases, there may be some cracking, pain, and bleeding as well. Rarely, athlete’s foot can blister (called bullous tinea pedis). Malaria Malaria is a serious disease that causes a high fever and chills.

You can get it from a bite by an infected mosquito. Malaria is rare in the United States. It is most often found in Africa, Southern Asia, Central America, and South America. Malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites. In very rare cases, people can get malaria if they come into contact with infected blood. A developing fetus may get the disease from its mother. You cannot get malaria just by being near a person who has the disease. Most malaria infections cause symptoms like the flu, such as a high fever, chills, and muscle pain. Symptoms tend to come and go in cycles.

One type of malaria may cause more serious problems, such as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain. It can even be deadly. Medicines usually can treat the illness. But some malaria parasites may survive because they are in your liver or they are resistant to the medicine. You may be able to prevent malaria by taking medicine before, during, and after travel to an area where malaria is present. But using medicine to prevent malaria doesn’t always work. This is partly due to the parasites being resistant to some medicines in some parts of the world. Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. Leptospirosis can be transmitted by many animals such as rats, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, and other vermin. It is transmitted though contact with infected soil or water. The soil or water is contaminated with the waste products of an infected animal. People contract the disease by either ingesting contaminated food or water or by broken skin and mucous membrane (eyes, nose, sinuses, mouth) contact with the contaminated water or soil. The treatment of leptospirosis involves high doses of antibiotics.

Antibiotic treatment is most effective when initiated early in the course of the illness. Severely ill patients may need hospitalization for IV fluid and antibiotic treatment. Rabies The rabies virus may affect the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Once symptoms develop, rabies is almost always fatal. Dogs and cats typically get rabies through a bite from an infected wild animal. A dog that gets infected with rabies may become aggressive, restless, and apprehensive. Signs of rabies in cats include aggression, increased vocalization, paralysis, and seizures.

Unvaccinated pets that roam outdoors without supervision are most at risk. Pets with rabies can infect people. The treatment for someone who has been exposed to rabies is a series of shots known as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). These shots help the body’s immune system destroy the disease in its early stages. Getting PEP before symptoms appear usually prevents infection, and you are likely to recover. Scabies Scabies is a condition of very itchy skin caused by tiny mites that burrow into your skin. Scabies can affect people of all ages and from all incomes and social levels.

Even people who keep themselves very clean can get scabies. Scabies mites spread by close contact with someone who has scabies. Scabies can also be spread by sharing towels, bed sheets, and other personal belongings. Scabies often affects several family members at the same time. You can spread it to another person before you have symptoms. Scabies causes severe itching that is usually worse at night and a rash with tiny blisters or sores. Small children and older adults tend to have the worst itching. Children typically have worse skin reactions. Scabies will not go away on its own.

You need to use a special cream or lotion that a doctor prescribes. In severe cases, your doctor may also give you pills to take. Some scabies medicines are not safe for children, older adults, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. To avoid dangerous side effects, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. If you have scabies, you and anyone you have close contact with must all be treated at the same time. This keeps the mites from being passed back and forth from person to person. You must also carefully wash all clothes, towels, and bedding. Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism — the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body’s system for fighting infection (the immune system) turns against a part of the body.

In diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and ethnicity. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Gestational diabetes develops only during pregnancy.

Like type 2 diabetes, it occurs more often in African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, and among women with a family history of diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. Making a few lifestyle changes can dramatically lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The same changes can also lower the chances of developing heart disease and some cancers. They include: paying attention to weight, exercising, controlling diet – making more healthy decisions and reducing glucose intake, quit smoking and alcohol drinking.

Gonorrhea Gonorrhea is an infection spread through sexual contact. In men, it most often infects the urethra. In women, it usually infects the urethra, cervix, or both. It also can infect the rectum, anus, throat, and pelvic organs. In rare cases, it can infect the eyes. Gonorrhea does not cause problems if you treat it right away. But if it’s left untreated, it can lead to serious problems. A certain kind of bacteria causes gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. This means it can spread from one partner to another during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

A woman who is pregnant can pass the infection to her newborn during delivery. Many people have no symptoms, so they can pass gonorrhea to their sex partners without knowing it. If there are symptoms, they may include: * Pain when you urinate. * Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina. Gonorrhea infection in the throat also usually does not cause symptoms.

Symptoms in men usually are easier to notice than symptoms in women. But some men have mild or no symptoms. Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. Both sex partners need treatment to keep from passing the infection back and forth.

Getting treatment as soon as possible helps prevent the spread of the infection and lowers your risk for other problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Avoid all sexual contact while you are being treated for an STI. If your treatment is a single dose of medicine, you should not have any sexual contact for 7 days after treatment so the medicine will have time to work.

Having a gonorrhea infection that was cured does not protect you from getting it again. If you are treated and your sex partner is not, you probably will get it again. It’s easier to prevent an STI like gonorrhea than it is to treat it.

* Use a condom every time you have sex. Latex and polyurethane condoms keep out the viruses and bacteria that cause STIs. * Don’t have more than one sex partner at a time. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you. Every time you add a new sex partner, you are being exposed to all of the diseases that all of that person’s partners may have.

* Be responsible. Don’t have sex if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are being treated for an STI. * Wait to have sex with a new partner until both of you have been tested for STIs. Herpes Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The infection can be bothersome. But if you are a healthy adult, you do not need to worry that it will cause serious problems for you. Most people never have symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild that people do not know that they are infected. But in some people, the infection causes occasional outbreaks of itchy and painful sores in the genital area. After the first outbreak, the herpes virus stays in the nerve cells below the skin and becomes inactive. It usually becomes active again from time to time, traveling back up to the skin and causing more sores.

Things like stress, illness, a new sex partner, or menstruation may trigger a new outbreak. As time goes on, the outbreaks happen less often, heal faster, and don’t hurt as much. Genital herpes is caused by a virus-either the herpes simplex virus type 1 or the herpes simplex virus type 2. Either virus can cause sores on the lips (cold sores) and sores on the genitals. Type 1 more often causes cold sores, while type 2 more often causes genital sores. Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Most people never have any symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are so mild that people may not notice them or recognize them as a sign of herpes.

For people who do notice their first infection, it generally appears about 2 to 14 days after they were exposed to genital herpes. Some people have outbreaks of itchy and painful blisters on the penis or around the opening of the vagina. The blisters rupture and turn into oozing shallow sores that take up to 3 weeks to heal. Sometimes people, especially women, also have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and muscle aches. They may also notice an abnormal discharge and pain when they urinate. Although there is no cure, medicine can relieve pain and itching and help sores heal faster.

If you have a lot of outbreaks, you may take medicine every day to keep the number of outbreaks down. The only sure way to keep from getting genital herpes-or any other sexually transmitted infection (STI)-is to not have sex. If you do have sex, practice safe sex. HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus weakens a person’s ability to fight infections and cancer. People with HIV are said to have AIDS when they develop certain infections or cancers or when their CD4 (T-cell) count is less than 200.

CD4 count is determined by a blood test in a doctor’s office. Having HIV does not always mean that you have AIDS. It can take many years for people with the virus to develop AIDS. HIV and AIDS cannot be cured. However with the medications available today, it is possible to have a normal lifespan with little or minimal interruption in quality of life. There are ways to help people stay healthy and live longer. A person gets HIV when an infected person’s body fluids (blood, semen, fluids from the vagina or breast mil