Cancer & HIV AIDS

What is Cancer ?

Cancer is a disease that starts in the cells of our bodies. The body is made up of millions of cells, grouped together to form tissues and organs. Cell gets orders from the genes inside them to grow, work, reproduce and die. Normally, our cells obey these orders and we remain healthy. But sometimes malfunctions occur in these orders resulting in cells to form tumors, or spread through the system to other parts of the body.Tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumor cells stay in one place in the body and are not usually life-threatening.

Malignant tumor cells invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The first sign that a malignant tumor has spread is often swelling of nearby lymph nodes, but cancer can spread to almost any part of the body. Cancers are named after the part of the body where they start.

Causes of Cancer

Cancers are caused by substances known as carcinogens, materials that are found commonly in the environment to which our bodies are exposed, over a period of time. Studies have shown that certain groups of people are more prone to some kinds of cancers than other people; genetics (family history) and environmental issues both play a part in this disease pattern. Cancer rates differ in countries around the world, in one country or in particular region certain kind of cancer may be prevalent but in other parts some other type of cancer may be found to be prevalent. Studies have shown cause of some cancers deriving from what people eat, their behavior, how they live (life style) and the relationship with their work, for example, asbestos is known work-related carcinogen. Cancer does not always mean a premature death if the tumor is found at an early stage. Many types of cancer that were incurable 20 years ago are now completely treatable.

Prevalence of Cancer in India

In India the most frequently reported cancer in males are of lung, esophagus,. Stomach, and larynx. In females, cancers of the cervix, breast, ovary, and esophagus are the most commonly encountered. Cervical cancer is highest in women in India. Among men, oral cancer rates highest.Obesity and lack of physical activity are associated with increased risk at various cancers, including breast and endometrial cancer.Incidences rates for oral cancer in India are among the highest in the world most are associated with diet, weight, and other lifestyle factors. Paan,Gutkha chewing is responsible for oral cancers. Esophageal cancer is moderately high in India and is associated with certain diets and lifestyles. Esophageal cancer is the second most common cancer among males and the fourth most common cancer among females in India.Cervical cancer is the most common cancer of the female genital tract in India, with approximately 100,000 new cases occurring each year. This accounts for almost 20% of all new cases diagnosed in the world annually.In India, the incidence of breast cancer is increasing, with an estimated 80,000 new cases diagnosed annually. Compared to other countries, stomach cancer incidence rates are moderate to low in India.

What is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. No safe and effective cure for HIV currently exists, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful.

HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, if left untreated, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. However, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day. Today, a person who diagnosed with HIV before the disease is far advanced and who gets and stays on ART can live a nearly normal life span.

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Testing is relatively simple. You can ask your health care provider for an HIV test. Many medical clinics, substance abuse programs, community health centers, and hospitals offer them, too. You can also get an FDA-approved home HIV testing kit (the Home Access HIV-1 Test System or the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test) from a drugstore.


AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDSis the final stage of HIV infection, and not everyone who has HIV advances to this stage.

AIDS is the stage of infection that occurs when your immune system is badly damaged and you become vulnerable toopportunistic infections. When the number of your CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3), you are considered to have progressed to AIDS. (Normal CD4 counts are between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) You can also be diagnosed with AIDS if you develop one or more opportunistic infections, regardless of your CD4 count.

Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once someone has a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. People with AIDS need medical treatment to prevent death.


Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in West Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. They believe that the chimpanzee version of the immunodeficiency virus (called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV) most likely was transmitted to humans and mutated into HIV when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat and came into contact with their infected blood. Studies show that HIV may have jumped from apes to humans as far back as the late 1800s. Over decades, the virus slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world. We know that the virus has existed in the United States since at least the mid- to late 1970s.


HIV is spread from an infected person to another person through direct contact with some of the body’s fluids. It is not spread easily. Only certain body fluids from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV:
• Blood
• Semen (cum)
• Pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum)
• Rectal fluids
• Vaginal fluids
• Breast milk

These body fluids must come into contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into your bloodstream (by a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur. Mucous membranes are the soft, moist areas just inside the openings to your body. They can be found inside the rectum, the vagina or the opening of the penis, and the mouth.

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get tested. You can get tested at your healthcare provider’s office, a clinic, and other locations. You can also get a HIV home test kit from your local pharmacy. Use the HIV Testing and Care Services Locator to find a testing site near you.


In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:
• Having sex with someone who has HIV
• Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (“works”) used to prepare injection drugs with someone who has HIV
Less commonly, HIV may be spread by:
• Being born to an infected mother. HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding
• Being stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers
• Receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This risk is extremely small because of rigorous testing of the US blood supply and donated organs and tissues
• Eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-infected person. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing, and is very rare
• Being bitten by a person with HIV. Each of the very small number of documented cases has involved severe trauma with extensive tissue damage and the presence of blood. There is no risk of transmission if the skin is not broken
• Oral sex—using the mouth to stimulate the penis, vagina, or anus (fellatio, cunnilingus, and rimming). Giving fellatio (mouth to penis oral sex) and having the person ejaculate (cum) in your mouth is riskier than other types of oral sex
• Contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids. These reports have also been extremely rare
• Deep, open-mouth kissing if the person with HIV has sores or bleeding gums and blood is exchanged. HIV is not spread through saliva. Transmission through kissing alone is extremely rare

HIV is NOT spread by:

• Air or water
• Insects, including mosquitoes or ticks
• Saliva, tears, or sweat
• Casual contact, like shaking hands, hugging or sharing dishes/drinking glasses
• Drinking fountains
• Toilet seats

HIV is not spread through the air and it does not live long outside the human body.

People with HIV who are using antiretroviral therapy (ART) consistently and who have achieved viral suppression (having the virus reduced to an undetectable level in the body) are very unlikely to transmit the virus to their uninfected partners. However, there is still some risk of transmission, so even with an undetectable viral load, people with HIV should continue to take steps to reduce HIV transmission.