HIV/AIDS Survivors Remind Us of Using Fauci Guidelines as A Way Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

HIV/AIDS Survivors Remind Us of Using Fauci’s Guidelines as A Way Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic Image

In late April 2020, Anthony Fauci was standing next to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, taking part in a White House briefing, discussing strategies that can potentially end the current COVID-19 pandemic, and help us get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. Many of you may not recognize the name Anthony Fauci, but that is not the case with the gay and bi community in the United States.

Who Is Anthony Fauci?

Anthony Fauci is an American physician and immunologist who has served the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the 1980s which is when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was happening all around the world. Faced with this new virus and the troubling disease that it was causing it, Anthony Fauci and his colleagues were struggling to find an answer to the origins of the virus itself as well as the potential treatment and cure. 

Today, HIV/AIDS survivors remind us of those times and warn us about the importance of taking that very same epidemic as an example of what we should and should not do today as we face yet another pandemic. Since the initial HIV/AIDS outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports nearly 32 million people have lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS, while 75 million in total have been infected. COVID-19 has appeared first in late December 2019 and has managed to infect 2 million people, while killing about 165,000. 

Many gay and bi men talk about the current pandemic and the similarities, but also differences, that can be easily spotted when compared to the one that has happened nearly 40 years ago. Much like HIV/AIDS, our behavior can help limit the spread of COVID-19, which is why it is very important to follow the provided guidelines that recommend social distancing and self-isolation similar to how changes in behavior have helped reduce the number of infected by HIV/AIDS.

In the United States, certain populations seem to be exposed to a greater risk of COVID-19, similar to how gay and bi men were once exposed to a bigger risk of AIDS/HIV. In the case of COVID-19, it is those in the African American community that are the most vulnerable. The most probable reason as to why that is is the limited access to health care resources that this population usually has. 

We Saw This Before But This Maybe Worse

The AIDS/HIV epidemic has sure taught us a lesson that we can use in these uncertain times. Back then, we managed to see what the result was of the lack of awareness, testing, and refusing to change our behavior. Now we get to rely on that information as well as new technology to help us manage the current situation the best that we can.

References

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fauci-guided-us-through-aids-crisis-too-survivors-say-its-a-roadmap-for-coronavirus/ar-BB12PU0C

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fauci

https://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/

How Early Treatment In Aids (HIV) Prolong The Survival Years

Drug-Resistant HIV on the Rise, WHO Warns Image

Throughout the world, there are more than 37 million people currently living with HIV. The major problem with the significant prevalence of HIV is the fact that about 21% of people infected with the virus are unaware of their status. 

In Africa, there are some locations where almost 40% of the local population is infected with HIV. Botswana currently has the highest prevalence of HIV, with an estimated 39.9% of the adult population in the area being infected. The prevalence is also alarming in Zimbabwe, where an estimated 33.7% of the population is infected. 

Advances In Treatments For Aids

Antiretroviral therapy remains the most common treatment option that is provided to patients who are diagnosed with HIV infection. While these drugs can provide an effective approach to delaying the damage that Aids causes in the body, it is important to take note of the current challenges that are faced. 

This includes drug toxicity and the possibility of developing a resistance to the medication used as part of antiretroviral therapy. Additionally, the burden of having to take multiple doses of drugs each day can feel overwhelming. 

Some of the more recent advancements in Aids treatment options include:

  • Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  • Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  • Protease inhibitors

Even though these drugs do offer a more potent effect on the virus that causes Aids, it is important to understand that initiating treatment at a later stage may still not yield effective results. 

The Importance Of Early Treatment

Treatments that are currently available for patients who have been infected with Aids have advanced to the point where the individual has presented an opportunity to experience a normal life. The use of antiretroviral therapy, along with some of the newer pharmaceutical drugs, can effectively prolong the survival years that a patient can expect when they initiate treatment. 

The major problem that is currently being faced with these treatments is the fact that a number of people with aids are unaware of the infection. This means the individual might only learn that they have been infected with the virus at a time when they start to develop complications associated with the infection. 

When a person learns of the infection at this stage of the infection, the treatment may not yield such a significant improvement in symptoms – and the extension of the individual’s survival years may not be as effective compared to implementing the treatment at an early age. 

The good news about early treatment is that testing for HIV has become significantly easier. Medical companies like Ghana Medicals present individuals access to accurate testing kits that can be used at home – offering a more private way of testing for the infection. 

Conclusion

Being infected with HIV can cause a number of adverse effects on the body and lead to an early death. While there are many advancements in aids treatment, early treatment is still essential to assist in providing the patient with an increase in survival years. The implementation of treatment means detecting the infection at an early stage – which is why routine testing for HIV is critical. 

References

https://www.avert.org/global-hiv-and-aids-statistics

http://www.bioafrica.net/subtype/subC/HIV_prevalence_rank.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3892621/

The Role of Fear in Proper HIV Testing and Treatment in African Men

A recent study has shed some light on the reasons behind the high HIV percentage within people living in Africa, especially within adult men. As it turns out, fear has a lot to do with why so many African men fail to ask for help for their HIV symptoms in time, risking their health and lives. In the following article, we will explore the results of the previously mentioned study.

How dangerous is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, which, as the term suggests, is a virus that damages the immune system. Although unprotected sexual intercourse is how HIV is most often transmitted, what a lot of people do not know is that HIV can be transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids, and even breast milk. Unfortunately, there is no cure for HIV, but scientists all over the world are working on finding one.

In 2016, approximately 36.7 million people were living with HIV worldwide, with 2.1 million of those being children under the age of 15. Speaking about Africa, there have been an estimated 23.8 million people infected with HIV. To make matters worse, it has also been suggested that 91% of infected children with HIV are living in Africa. More than one million adults and children die because of AIDS each year in Africa alone.

How big is the role of fear in proper HIV testing and treatment among African men?

In the last couple of years, it has been one of the main tasks to make proper HIV testing and treatment available to all people living around the world, with a special focus on underserved areas, such as Africa. Luckily, there has been a lot of success in providing proper testing and treatment for almost all different STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), including HIV. Testing and treatment are usually free of charge to make it easier for people to get regular check-ups and maintain their good health.

But as it turns out, availability is not the biggest problem of them all, when it comes to STD and HIV testing and treatment. A study published in October 2019, has revealed that STD and especially HIV is often linked to shame and fear among men living in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, which makes HIV a taboo, a topic that very few people are open to talk about. This results in a lack of action when it comes to getting proper check-ups and treating the condition so that a longer than expected life span can be possible for those infected with HIV.

The study revealed that 1 in 40 adult men are infected with HIV, with only one-quarter of them being aware of the disease that they have been carrying. And since HIV is such as stigmatized disease where these men live, it is harder for them to ask for help when they need it. These men have been worried about how HIV would impact their ability as a father, partner, and as a healthy individual who is able to provide for his family, maintaining a steady job, when they are unaware of the risks that are to come with leaving HIV untreated. 

Conclusion

With HIV still being a stigmatized disease in Africa, fewer and fewer African men are prepared to ask for help or a simple check-up, which results in a high number of HIV cases in Africa alone. Afraid of seeing a positive result and its impact that it can have on their lives, these men avoid getting tested and getting proper treatment afterward.

References

https://www.amfar.org/worldwide-aids-stats/

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa#fnref1

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223414

The Benefits of Self-Testing for HIV and Other Common STDs

STD Home Testing Offers An Affordable Way To Reduce The Incidence Of STDs

Thinking how big of a role have shame and fear in the continuous rise of STDs prevalence, researchers have found a way to make testing for the common STDs a bit easier and comfortable. With the invention of self-testing kits for HIV and other common STDs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes, people are now free to test themselves at the privacy of their own homes. 

How does self-testing for HIV and other common STDs work?

Self-testing is a process that allows the individual to get tested and later interpret the results at the privacy of their own home or whatever safe and private place that they choose. Currently, there are various brands of self-testing kits; however, they are all offering a somewhat similar form of self-testing kits. 

These kits usually come with instructions and all of the needed material to collect the required sample, which is most often a blood sample or a mouth swab. Today, we have self-testing kits that can detect the presence of gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HIV, and other common STDs. While using a self-testing kit to detect gonorrhea or syphilis requires the sample to be sent out to a laboratory that the manufacturer is collaborating with, HIV self-testing kits usually provide somewhat of accurate results in a few minutes.

There is the second, third, and fourth generation of HIV self-testing kits, with the fourth generation tests being able to detect a presence of recent infections, which is suggested to be the best option for a self-test. The HIV self-tests are detecting the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies, and with that, they are detecting the presence of HIV. 

All non-reactive self-test results are considered to be negative for the presence of HIV. However, all reactive (positive) results need to be confirmed later by visiting a healthcare professional and doing proper treatment. Despite that, self-tests are highly valuable in the detection of HIV.

The benefits of self-testing

The benefits of self-testing are clear. Having the option to get tested, not only for HIV but for other common STDs as well, while enjoying complete anonymity surely increases the number of individuals that decide to get tested and ask for help in the cases of a positive result. 

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has conducted an evaluation of HIV self-testing among men who have sexual intercourse with other men. The international controlled trial has shown that men who have sex with other men and decide to get self-tested are more likely to get tested more frequently as compared to those who choose to visit the local healthcare facilities instead. 

The trial also showed that despite the fact that many have thought that having the ability to self-test at home can make individuals feel more comfortable to engage in risky sexual behaviors, self-testing did not increase this risk. Self-testing has helped many individuals to identify their HIV status and become aware of their HIV infection. 

Self-testing kits for the common STDs have been especially popular in Africa, where there is a high STDs prevalence, and sex and reproductive health are still stigmatized topics, often linked to feeling fear and shame of getting a positive result which only contributes to the rise of the STDs prevalence. The possibility to get tested and stay anonymous in the process plays a big role, encouraging more and more individuals to get tested and determine the state of their current reproductive health. With that, the rates of the common STDs, including HIV, are expected to decline over time.

Conclusion

Self-testing has played a big role in enhancing the quality of life and life-span in general of the many individuals that otherwise engage in risky sexual behaviors. With the ability to get tested for STDs at home and get the results in a matter of minutes, people are more likely to pay better attention to their reproductive health, especially in high burden countries such as Africa where talking about sex and reproductive health often causes feelings of shame and fear.

References

https://www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/how-accurate-self-testing-hiv

https://hivstar.lshtm.ac.uk/publications/

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/testing/self-testing.html

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002512

The Use of Dual HIV/Syphilis Tests during Pregnancy

Risk Factors for a Syphilis Infection Among Pregnant Women in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District, Ghana Image

Proper HIV and syphilis testing, as well as testing for any other STD, is important over each life period, but it earns a specific significance during the pregnancy period, especially when we are talking about HIV and syphilis that pose the risk of being transmitted from an infected mother to her baby. With the new guidelines determined by WHO (World Health Organization) for dual HIV/syphilis testing, we have found a new hope to see an improvement in the HIV and syphilis cases around the world, with a special focus on Africa. 

How can the use of dual HIV/Syphilis tests help support a healthy pregnancy?

HIV and syphilis are two highly dangerous sexually transmitted diseases during the nine months of pregnancy, not only because of their difficult symptoms but also because of the high risk of HIV and syphilis being transmitted from the infected mother to her child that is still growing and developing inside her womb. Unfortunately, HIV and syphilis are still quite common among pregnant women, especially among those living in Africa, which is one of the centuries where the highest population infected with HIV/syphilis has been living in the past couple of years. A study investigated the HIV prevalence by involving approximately 10,000 pregnant women and showed that of all, around 3% of them became infected with HIV during the course of their pregnancy.  

Left untreated and undetected, HIV and syphilis can lead to a number of health issues not only during pregnancy but also during childbirth as well. Transmitting HIV and/or syphilis is not the only health issue that we are talking about. These infections can lead to low birth weight, stillbirth, spontaneous abortus, and many other potential health risks as well.

Luckily, all pregnant women are supposed to undergo proper HIV testing at their first visit at their doctor’s office, as well as throughout the next nine months. When detected in its early stages, HIV can be efficiently controlled and treated, although not cured, so that the negative effect on the little one can be as minimalized as possible. With the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), the risk of transmitting the disease during pregnancy, and later during childbirth and breastfeeding, can be significantly reduced, which will have a positive influence on both the health of the mother and the child.

But things are a bit different when it comes to testing for syphilis during pregnancy. While 60% of the pregnant women across Africa have been tested for HIV, less than 40% of them have been tested for syphilis. A study published in 2019 also revealed that 4% of all pregnant women had not been tested for HIV nor syphilis. Syphilis also poses great threats left untreated, which is why it is of vital importance that every pregnant woman gets tested for both HIV and syphilis at least once during her pregnancy, as WHO (World Health Organization) suggests.

The WHO has come to suggest a rather effective method that is thought to improve the numbers of cases in which proper testing for both HIV and syphilis has been done. The method that they recommend is a dual HIV/syphilis test that will be introduced as a part of the regular antenatal care for each pregnant woman. 

By introducing dual testing, WHO suggests that the cost of testing will decline while the number of women that are getting tested and potentially treated when needed, will be increasing, which is just the effect that we have been looking for so long now.

This can be especially beneficial for high burden countries such as Africa in which expenses play a big part in maintaining the good health of its population. With the reduced expenses rate, it will be more affordable to offer more and more women to get properly tested during their pregnancy.

Conclusion

With the new dual testing for HIV and syphilis suggested by the WHO, we are looking at a potential decline in new cases of HIV and syphilis in the future. This testing method for HIV/Syphilis will be of a high value for pregnant women since they are facing the risk of transmitting the infection to their child and with that struggling with devastating complications and a potential spread of the initial infection. 

References

http://www.aidsmap.com/news/jun-2015/many-south-african-women-become-infected-hiv-during-pregnancy-posing-high-risk

http://www.ncsddc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ncs_366_third_trimester_screening_brochure_page_by_page_mechanical_12-28-16.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51254011_Optimal_time_on_HAART_for_prevention_of_mother-to-child_transmission_of_HIV

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02454816

New HIV Testing Guidelines Released By WHO to Help Reduce HIV Prevalence and Improve Treatment Coverage

WHO Revise STD Treatment Guidelines As Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance Escalates Image

WHO is constantly working to provide better methods of eliminating the risk of the many dangerous STDs, especially in countries where the risk is at its peak, with Africa being one of them. Because of the high HIV rates, among other STDs in Africa, the WHO have decided on new guidelines that are believed to help reduce the HIV prevalence, not only in Africa but worldwide as well.

WHO has released new guidelines for HIV testing

WHO (World Health Organization) has released new guidelines for improved and more accurate HIV testing as well as better treatment coverage for people all around the world, but with a special focus on Africa where the HIV prevalence has especially high. In Africa alone, there have been approximately 23.8 million people living with HIV. About 91% of the children affected with HIV on an international level have been living in Africa.

Luckily, since things have been taken more seriously, from 2010 to 2018, we have seen a major decline in the HIV rates in Africa. From 2010 to 2018, the new HIV infection rate has declined by 28% in eastern and southern Africa. The decline has happened thanks to the expanded HIV treatment that has been made more available to the people living in this country, as well as thanks to the many campaigns that have aimed to increase their awareness. 

In the spirit of World AIDS Day on December 1 and the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA 2019), WHO has released new guidelines that are meant to increase the effectiveness of HIV testing and treatment and accomplish an even greater decline in the HIV rates.

The new guidelines established by WHO now include:

  • Using three consecutive reactive tests to provide an accurate HIV diagnosis as compared to the two consecutive reactive tests that most high burden centuries, such as Africa, have been using so far. This new guideline has been thought to make a huge difference in providing a diagnosis that characterizes itself with maximum accuracy;
  • Extending the accessibility of self-tests, not only for HIV, but also for most STDs such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Hepatitis. With the possibility of doing a self-test at home, there is a higher chance that the high-risk individuals will regularly do check-ups and ask for help in the presence of a positive result;
  • Using social media platforms to increase awareness about HIV and proper testing that can potentially save the lives of high-risk individuals;
  • Providing rapid tests as an alternative to the previously used laboratory tests that cost more money and take longer. Rapid tests, as the term suggests, can deliver accurate results in 2-3 weeks, while costing a lot less, making testing more affordable for the high burden centuries and their residents;
  • Using HIV/Syphilis dual testing that can eliminate the chance for a mother-to-child transmission to happen.

Conclusion

The new guidelines provided by WHO are designed to cause an even further decline in the HIV and STD rates among people worldwide, with a certain focus on Africa as one of the countries where the rates of the common STDs and HIV are especially high. It is believed that the new guidelines will make testing and treating the common STDs easier for the people living in high burden countries and with that, gradually reduce these rates.

References

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hiv-africa#fnref1

New HIV Strain Discovered

Implant Protect Women From HIV Image

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Africa is the most affected region by HIV and AIDS in the world. Young women are particularly affected. The numbers show that in 2018, there were 20.6 million people with HIV in eastern and southern Africa and 5 million in western and central Africa. The wide prevalence of HIV is a serious problem on a global level, but even more so in African nations. The problem becomes even bigger with the fact the new strain of HIV has been discovered.

New strain of HIV

When the term HIV comes to mind, we think of a single virus that weakens the immune system and causes many other complications. But, the truth is that HIV has several subtypes and strains. Just like other viruses, this one can also evolve and mutate over time.

The new strain of HIV is not something scientists discover every day. In fact, for the first time in 19 years, a team of scientists has identified the new strain, which only confirms that fighting HIV is more vital than ever. Their findings, published in the Journal of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, showed that the new strain is the subtype of HIV-1 Group M, subtype L. In other words, scientists discovered a mutation in Group M, the most common type of HIV and viruses from this group is responsible for AIDS crisis on a global level.

The discovery of a mutation seems scary. We immediately think of all sorts of unwanted and horrible scenarios, but there is also a silver lining. You see, early detection of the new strain allows scientists and doctors to contain and study the virus, develop new treatments, and anticipate other mutations. This could help prevent the virus from escalating uncontrollably. Without detection, that would not be possible. 

The new strain of HIV was discovered through the usage of next-generation sequencing technology that allowed scientists to build a whole genome at a lower cost and higher speed. Abbott Laboratories, which carried out the research, employed the new technology and upgraded it with new techniques to focus on a portion of the sample. That way, they were able to sequence and complete the genome fully. 

Preventing HIV

HIV is not a death sentence, and, when caught early, the symptoms can be managed as the current treatments are effective. But, the emphasis is placed on prevention through regular testing. Sexually active men and women, especially those with multiple sex partners, should get tested regularly, and thanks to at-home tests, this process is easier than ever. Other things to prevent HIV include using a condom, practicing safe sex, avoiding risky sex, staying away from engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple people.

Conclusion

Scientists have discovered HIV strain, a mutation in Group M, the most widespread type of this virus. The discovery of the new mutation allows scientists to work on the new treatment options and anticipate further strains. There is no reason to panic, scientists say. Make sure you test regularly and practice safe sex to decrease the risk of HIV. 

References 

https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/hivaids

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/global-statistics

https://journals.lww.com/jaids/Abstract/publishahead/Complete_genome_sequence_of_CG_0018a_01.96307.aspx

HIV Patients Exposed to A Higher Risk of Coronavirus

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus – a deadly virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, better known as AIDS. Transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, HIV/AIDS is one of the main deadly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), although there are other possible ways of transmission. 

HIV patients in fear for their lives because of the new coronavirus

HIV, as deadly and dangerous as it is, is not uncommon. Back in 2018, there were approximately 37.9 million people affected by HIV around the world. 36.2 million of those were adults and around 1.7 million were children younger than 15 years. 

And it seems that it is Africa where most of the infected population with HIV – both adults and children, live. As of 2014, in Ghana, Africa, alone there have been roughly 150,000 people diagnosed with AIDS, and the assumption is that the numbers are even greater because of the well-known fear that HIV/AIDS is treated within Africa. But what is even more unfortunate is the fact that around 91% of the HIV-infected children live in Africa. 

HIV-positive individuals and AIDS patients are constantly living in fear for their lives because of how fragile their immune system is. And although therapy does help a lot, they are still treated as chronically ill individuals. 

Now, with the new coronavirus outbreak since early December, which first happened in Wuhan, China, it seems that this fear is even greater, and for a good reason, that is. Because of their poor immune system, HIV/AIDS patients are exposed to a higher risk of getting infected with the new coronavirus as compared to the general population.

The problem is that the coronavirus, although it causes flu-like symptoms, is also the cause of many death cases. In fact, as of 27th March, there have been roughly 28,269 deaths due to the coronavirus on a global level. In South Africa, there have been 1,170 infected and only one case of death. In Egypt, there have been around 536 infected and no dead, which is certainly good news. 

Because of their weakened immune system, these individuals are unable to fight off the infection, thus being exposed to a higher risk of not only being affected by it but also being affected by worse complications and possibly even death. That is why any chronically ill patients, including HIV/AIDS patients, are warned against the dangers of coronavirus.

They are advised to stay in self-isolation and practice social distancing as two of the best prevention methods that we know of when it comes to the coronavirus. Awareness has to be raised if we are interested in protecting these and any other chronically ill patients from the deadly coronavirus that does not seem to stop affecting more and more people all around the world, including Africa. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924471/

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/global-statistics

http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/images/news_release/2019/HIV%20Press%20Release%20-%20GHANA.pdf

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-cases-top-100000-italy-deaths-rise-live-updates-200327231629838.html

Botswana – A Place Where the Incidence of STIs And HIV Keeps Increasing

Botswana – A Place Where the Incidence of STIs And HIV Keeps Increasing Image

Botswana, located in South Africa, with its second-largest town – Francistown, remains a place where a continuous increase in STIs and especially HIV has been reported. STIs have been recognized as a public health problem in Botswana that requires special attention. Mr. Richard Matlhare, a coordinator over at the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) has spoken about the current challenging situation that the people living in Botswana are faced with.

The continuous increase of new STIs and HIV cases recorded in Botswana, South Africa

Botswana is the heart of one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. Botswana has been recognized as the place with the third-highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS cases in the world, right after Lesotho and Swaziland. 

Back in 2018, there have been approximately 370,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. 20.3% of those have been estimated to be between the ages of 15 to 49. In 2018, about 4,800 death cases due to AIDS have been reported, marking HIV/AIDS as a serious health issue that threatens the people living in Botswana, South Africa. 

One of the major high-risk groups for HIV/AIDS is sex workers, or more precisely – female sex workers. As Mr. Richard Matlhare has explained, female sex workers are the main population living with STIs and HIV due to the nature of their work. 

The following factors, that have contributed to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS have been listed:

  • Practicing unsafe, unprotected sexual intercourse with no use of condoms or other prevention methods;
  • Incorrect use of condoms;
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse;
  • Having multiple sexual partners;
  • Being unaware of the reproductive health of their partner/s.

Condom usage is the primary prevention method against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, including HIV/AIDS. However, most sex workers rarely use a condom, and when they do, they often use condoms incorrectly. There is also the issue of sex workers being paid a higher price if they do not use a condom or other prevention method against STIs. Because of the nature of their work, many sex workers engage in alcohol and/or drug abuse, making them more vulnerable when it comes to the transmission of STIs and HIV/AIDS. 

Over the years, there have been multiple sex workers that have decided to ask for help regarding their reproductive health and the presence of STIs at government hospitals. That is certainly good news, however, most sex workers choose to disclose their identity which makes it impossible for them to be tracked down in the future and offered treatment for the existing issue, thus contributing to the reoccurring STI. More effective ways of both prevention and treatment ought to be found if we want to see a promising decline in the new STIs cases.

References

https://allafrica.com/stories/201909200254.html

https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/botswana

https://www.iamat.org/country/botswana/risk/sexually-transmitted-infections

Drug-Resistant HIV on the Rise, WHO Warns

Drug-Resistant HIV on the Rise, WHO Warns Image

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a retrovirus that infects the immune system’s cells and destroys or impairs their function. Although rates of HIV decreased worldwide, it is still prevalent. In fact, about 36.7 million people around the globe are living with HIV, but 17 million of them are receiving medicines called antiretroviral therapy (ART) to help manage the condition. Despite the wide prevalence, progress in diagnosing and treating is evident, which is why the latest news came as a shock to patients and healthcare professionals worldwide. Drug-resistant HIV is on the rise! To find out more, keep reading!

Drug-resistant HIV

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report which warns about drug-resistant HIV, which only hinders the progress made so far regarding the treatment of this severe condition. 

The WHO HIV Drug Resistance Report 2017 surveyed 11 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Of these, in 6 countries, the drug-resistant virus was reported: Argentina, Namibia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. The fastest increase in drug-resistant HIV is recorded in southern and eastern Africa. 

Shockingly, 10% of people starting the ART had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most commonly used medications. Although you probably don’t find a 10% figure as such a threat, it is a big deal if we take into consideration millions of HIV patients worldwide. What’s more, once the threshold of 10% is reached, WHO immediately warns those countries to take necessary measures and urgently review their HIV treating programs. 

Drug resistance is a major problem worldwide

According to the WHO, antimicrobial drug resistance is nothing new. In fact, it is one of the growing challenges that healthcare professionals around the world face today. Viruses that are resistant to medications endanger global health and sustainable development. 

It is of huge importance to be proactive about this problem, particularly when it comes to drug-resistant HIV. The increasing rate of viruses that are resistant to medications prevents WHO and countries individually to end AIDS by 2030. 

Drug resistance to HIV occurs when patients do not follow the recommended treatment properly. Failing to adhere to the treatment plan isn’t about being irresponsible. In a vast majority of cases, patients do not have consistent access to necessary HIV treatment and care. 

Patients who develop drug-resistant HIV start to fail therapy, but they are also able to transmit this dangerous virus strain onto other people. As a result, HIV levels in their blood increase unless they make urgent changes in the treatment plan. The problem is that treatment becomes more expensive and difficult to obtain in countries with the highest HIV rates. 

Higher drug-resistance, more dangerous effects

HIV is dangerous as it is primarily because it affects our body’s ability to develop healthy immunity. A patient’s body is attacking itself. That’s what makes HIV is so severe. Scientists, doctors, and governments have worked hard to reduce HIV rates and develop medicines to help manage the condition. However, drug-resistance could induce more dangerous effects. 

Increasing resistance could lead to more infections and deaths. This would undermine the progress that has been made recently. Mathematical modeling reveals that 135,000 deaths and 105,000 new infections could occur in the next five years if no action is taken regarding drug-resistant HIV.

HIV is a potentially life-threatening condition that damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight diseases, infections, viruses, and other threats. The infection can be transmitted from one person to another, and millions of people are infected. Science and medicine made significant advances in treating and preventing HIV, but WHO warns about increasing rates of drug-Resistant HIV. It usually occurs when patients don’t adhere to the recommended treatment. This happens due to limited resources and inconsistent access to the treatment plan.

References 

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/statistics.html

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/hiv-drug-resistance/en/

http://time.com/4865443/drug-resistant-hiv-world-health-organization/