World AIDS Day: 5 Facts You Should Know

December 8th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

AIDS has impacted millions of people around the world. The condition is currently one of the biggest public health challenges, as there is no cure despite the major advances that have been made over the years. World AIDS Day, held on Dec. 1, was started in 1988 as a way to raise awareness of the disease and help those affected.

Nearly 78 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS since the start of the epidemic in 1984. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that each year an estimated 50,000 people in the U.S. are affected by the illness. 

On World AIDS Day, in an effort to build a stronger fight against the disease, health professionals educate the public on the seriousness of HIV/AIDS and people commemorate loved ones who have died. The first step to taking action against HIV/AIDS is learning more about it. Here are five basic facts that you should know.

1. HIV and AIDS are different stages of the same disease.
According to the CDC, AIDS is so deadly because it infects cells, called CD4 cells, in the immune system, reducing the body's ability to defend itself from illnesses and diseases. People are first diagnosed with HIV, which is referred to as AIDS in its later stages once the disease has destroyed a large portion of the system's CD4 cells. When people are diagnosed with AIDS, this means they've been infected with at least 20 viruses or cancers. HIV/AIDS patients can't get rid of the disease once they contract it, which means they have it for life. 

2. There's no cure for HIV, but there is a treatment.
Since HIV/AIDS was first discovered in 1984, the health care industry has made great strides toward a cure. There are treatments that are used only as last resorts for patients who are close to the end of their lives as a result of AIDS, as these procedures are risky and can be life-threatening. The World Health Organization explained that antiretroviral therapy is commonly used for HIV patients as a way to drastically prolong their lives and reduce the chances that they infect others by 96 percent. ART works by preventing the HIV virus from reproducing, allowing immune cells to live longer. As of 2015, about 15 million people are receiving ART, noted the WHO.

3. HIV/AIDS can be contracted in several ways.
AIDS Info, an educational resource provided by the National Institutes of Health, explained that people can contract HIV/AIDS when they come in contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, breast milk or rectal fluids. HIV transmission can occur during unprotected sexual intercourse, transfusions of contaminated blood, sharing infected needles, childbirth and pregnancy. Practicing safe sex, getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections and avoiding the injection of drugs can help to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

4. Million of children are living with HIV/AIDS.
The majority of people with HIV/AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, more than 70 percent of all new HIV diagnoses takes place there, according to the WHO. Most of these HIV patients are mothers who infect their children during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. The WHO mentioned that 2.6 million children are currently diagnosed with HIV worldwide. However, progress has been made for reducing the number of mother-child transmissions thanks to ART. In 2014, 7 out of 10 pregnant mothers living with HIV/AIDS received ART, which significantly reduces the chance that the child will be infected. The United Nations Children's Fund reported that around 1.1 million HIV transmissions to children were avoided in 2014 alone.

5. AIDS-related deaths are expected to decline in the future. 
While around 34 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the number of deaths that occur as a result of the disease has fallen and is expected to continue decreasing as more people turn to ART for help. In 2013, 12.9 million people received drug therapy to slow the progression of the disease. UNICEF pointed out that from 2005 to 2013, 40 percent fewer people of all ages died globally from AIDS than in previous years. As more patients continue to receive ART and new medical advancements are made, death rates are expected to consistently continue to fall.

Source: Sunrise Senior Living

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *