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Dr. Matin Ahmad Khan is an HIV specialist who has completed MBBS, and also Fellowship in HIV Medicine from the School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, India. And the only Indian to hold AAHIVS American Academy of HIV Specialist. He is a Professor of Biochem Laxmi Chandrawanshi Medical College, Jharkhand. He was been awarded the ‘Life Time Achievement Award ‘from IMA Jamshedpur Chapter in 2013.
Time taken by AIDS to infect - The incubation period
Dr. Matin Khan says, “This is called incubation period in medical terminology. This is a viral disease that can remain dormant inside the body for years without any fixed symptoms. The incubation period is when the virus infects the body and causes noticeable symptoms in the body. The HIV incubation period can be for 6 months - 10 years depending on immunity. People with lower immunity may show symptoms at an early stage. An antibody test is essential for an HIV test. The incubation period is long and depends on the immunity status."
Transmission of AIDS
Dr. Matin Khan informs, “There are many myths related to AIDS. There is stigma related to this. Speaking about the HIV virus scientifically, it is a very fragile virus that can stay alive inside the body and cannot tolerate environmental temperatures. The HIV virus cannot spread through tissue and sneezing. As it comes in contact with the surface, it dies. It needs bodily fluids to stay alive. The transmission of AIDS is possible through 4 sources -
Infected needles Infected blood products Sexual transmission Maternal transmission
There are no other ways through which HIV can spread. "
Next Step After Being AIDS positive
Dr. Matin Khan states, “There is no single test for AIDS.AIDS test should be tested 3 times and then confirmed. AIDS positive may not show any signs. In case of lower immunity, CD4 count should be tested. A CD4 count below 200 needs treatment. Now, since 2018, globally Test & Treat is very important. AIDS treatment is lifelong and needs consent. Strong follow-up with CD4, viral load, and side effects.
Early treatment helps in taking care of latent reservoirs which helps in curing. Testing family members are important as there are no symptoms. Tb and HIV need to be checked as one unit. HIV treatment has good longevity. HIV complications can occur if treatment is not taken. There are many ART centers in India. Correct ART treatment helps improve quality of life. Do not panic if you are HIV positive, get treated with free tests and medicines from the government.”
Cure for AIDS
Dr. Matin Khan informs, “AIDS was considered as a death sentence. But now there are effective medicines that can help locate the latent reservoir of the HIV virus. Diabetes and hypertension have no cure and can be managed. HIV is also a chronic manageable disease. Functional cure and remission are possible with HIV treatment. Gene therapy is also possible with HIV and cancer. Broadly Active Neutralizing Antibody can be given to HIV positive to prevent infections. Many companies have started with AIDS vaccine trials. PREP treatment module is also available if you are at risk. HIV drugs have caused zero communicability and suppress the infection which improves the quality of life.”
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)