This is the last of a six-part series in which we have been discussing the most commonly held ideas about AIDS and its professed cause, HIV. We must point out that there is a small number of scientists that do not believe that there is a causative relationship between HIV and AIDS. Although they make a few good arguments, the majority opinion is that HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The definition of AIDS has changed many times and now represents a composite of diseases that are due to immune deficiency. HIV is one of the deadliest causes of immune deficiency. Illegal drugs, other toxic drugs and addictions and stressful situations also contribute to immune deficiency.
Infection with this virus may occur in anyone, no matter what their color, creed, political affiliation, sexual preference or place of habitation. Then what can we do to save ourselves from this dreaded disease? The answer comes in the following categories: behavior, diet and nutrition, scrupulous rules of hygiene, exercise, transmission by blood and its products and stress reduction.
Since we know that the virus is able to live on exposed surfaces both wet and dry for hours or days, it behooves us to keep our environment as clean as possible. Frequent washing of flat surfaces with household bleach (1/200 strength) is advisable. Scrupulous washing of the hands before cooking and eating is essential. The lips must not be touched by the unwashed hands. Hand washing, preferably with sudsy detergents that do not tend to cling to the skin, should include rinsing with copious amounts of running water. Cooking utensils should also be so cleansed and air dried.
Since the body fluids also carry the virus, we should frown upon and eliminate such social habits as spitting on the streets and sidewalks and urinating or defecating in public places where one may accidentally come into contact with the body wastes. Western-style toilets should only be flushed with the lid down to prevent possible airborne dissemination of contaminated water. Drinking and eating utensils should not be shared with others. The feet should be washed thoroughly before coming into the home. Avoid touching them with the hands
If one finds it necessary to administer to or nurse a patient with AIDS, he must use double latex gloves and a surgical mask. There should be caution and adherence to the rules of surgical practice, yet with no trace of fear in one's mind. Special caution should be followed when dealing with any of the patient's body fluids and daily sterilization of the utensils and surroundings are mandatory.
If you need elective surgery, make arrangements to deposit your own blood with the hospital for use in case you need a transfusion. I also recommend that you arrange with a friend or relative whom you know to be HIV negative (by testing) to be on call in case you need emergency blood. Of course, compatibility must also be tested. Wear an ID-band with this information on it or place the information with your other ID papers in your wallet. The risk is small, but why suffer if a small preparation will save you?
Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Center of Homeopathy- and more. Send your questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746, USA.