Archive for March, 2012

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by the virus known as HIV-1 (Human immunodeficiency Virus Type One). The HIV attacks the body’s immune system by destroying certain types of white blood cells (CD4+) called lymphocytes that help the body fight infection. A person with HIV infection may appear and feel healthy for many years. When someone is HIV-positive, that person has HIV antibodies in his or her body. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight germs or infections Research suggests that the average incubation period from infection with HIV to the development of AIDS is approximately 10 years.

How do you get HIV?
HIV is transmitted through the bodily fluids of an individual carrying the virus. These bodily fluids are blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV can be transmitted in the following ways:

• Through the exchange or intake of blood, semen, or vaginal fluids while having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is HIV-positive.

• By sharing needles used to draw tattoos, give blood, or pierce ears or by sharing syringes used to inject illegal or prescribed drugs with someone who is HIV positive.

• Through perinatal transmission – when a HIV positive woman transmits the virus to her fetus during pregnancy to her baby while breast-feeding.

How HIV infects the body?
It is only now that scientists have learned how HIV infects the body. They have realized that it works in two phases, the M-tropic phase and the T-tropic phase, and that it looks for receptor sites to bond to. CCR5, a chemokine, is the second receptor site for HIV-1 in the M-tropic phase. Here is given the Process of HIV Replication (animation) in below:

HIV Replecation

HIV epidemiology in Bangladesh:
The first case of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh was detected in 1989. Since then 1495 cases of HIV/AIDS have been reported (as of December 2008). However UNAIDS estimates that the number of people living with HIV in the country may be as high as 12,000, which is within the range of the low estimate by UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2009.
The number of AIDS patients has been on the rise in Bangladesh at a fast pace. Data from the country’s Health Ministry revealed that some 445 new HIV positive cases and 251 AIDS patients were detected in 2011. It showed 343 new HIV positives and 231 AIDS cases in 2010 while the number of new HIV positives was 250 and AIDS cases were 143 in 2009 & Some 37 people died of AIDS in 2010.
The overall prevalence of HIV in Bangladesh is less than 1%, however, high levels of HIV infection have been found among injecting drug users (7% in one part of the capital city, Dhaka). Due to the limited access to voluntary counseling and testing services, very few Bangladeshi’s are aware of their HIV status. Although still considered to be a low prevalence country, Bangladesh remains extremely vulnerable to an HIV epidemic, given its dire poverty, overpopulation, gender inequality and high levels of transactional sex. The emergence of a generalized HIV epidemic would be a disaster that poverty-stricken Bangladesh could ill-afford. It is estimated that without any intervention the prevalence in the general adult population could be as high as 2% in 2012 and 8% by 2025.

Medicinal plants as traditional medicine against HIV:
Traditional medicinal knowledge has been a means towards the discovery of many modern medicines. Traditional healers’ indigenous knowledge can help pinpoint medicinal plants used to manage HIV/AIDS. Bangladesh has a rich history of several traditional medicinal systems, among whom the most notable ones are the Ayurvedic, Unani, and the folk medicinal systems. Regarding HIV/AIDS related infections, many people think that using modern medicine is of no use, rather using traditional medicine or spiritual effects can help in this case.
The inclusion of anti-HIV ethnomedicines and other natural products in official HIV/AIDS policy is an extremely sensitive and contentious issue. many HIV-infected persons have access to antiretroviral drugs, but some still use ethnomedicinal plants and other natural products to treat opportunistic infections and offset side-effects from antiretroviral medication. Medicinal plants and other natural products including mushrooms are used as primary treatment for HIV-related problems such as skin disorders, nausea, depression, insomnia, and body weakness. Herbal medicines provide rational means for the treatment of many diseases that are obstinate and incurable in western systems of medicine. Phytomedicines are regaining patient acceptance because they have fewer side effects, are relatively less expensive, are easy to use and have a long history of use. Medicinal effects of plants tend to normalize physiological function and correct the underlying cause of the disorder. Sub-Saharan Africa has rich plant biodiversity and a long tradition of medicinal use of plants with over 3,000 species of plants used as medicines. Several of these plants may contain novel anti-HIV compounds. Indigenous knowledge of medicinal plant use also provides leads towards therapeutic concept thereby accelerating drug discovery; this is now being called reverse pharmacology. Thus, it is important to search for novel antiretroviral agents which can be added to or replace the current arsenal of drugs against HIV.
Some evidences with links:

a) A chemical from the Astragalus root, frequently used in Chinese herbal therapy, can prevent or slow progressive telomere shortening, which could make it a key weapon in the fight against HIV.
Chemical From Medicinal Plants May Be Used To Fight HIV

b) Genetically modified tobacco plants can grow specific proteins that scientists know will act on the HIV virus.
Fighting HIV in developing countries – with tobacco