World AIDS Day 2013

by Dr. Simi Paknikar on  November 30, 2013 at 10:57 AM Health In Focus
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As in the past few years, the World AIDS Day is being celebrated on December 1 this year as well focusing on treatment and prevention of AIDS in the adolescent population.
World AIDS Day 2013
World AIDS Day 2013

AIDS is an advanced stage of an infection caused by the HIV virus. The HIV virus attacks the immune system and makes the person susceptible to infections and cancers. Treatment with medications has enabled many individuals to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, it is not only the disease that individuals infected with HIV have to deal with. They are also subjected to discrimination at work as well as at home.

The theme for this year's World AIDS Day is the same as that of the past 2 years, and which will continue for the next two years: Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths. This theme emphasizes on three aspects: elimination of new HIV infections and deaths due to AIDS, as well as an end to discrimination of individuals suffering from HIV.

According to this theme, the number of new infections caused due to HIV should be zero. The 2.3 million new infections last year indicate that much has to be done to achieve this target. This is possible by adequate dissemination of information regarding methods to prevent the infection. Unfortunately, the group belonging to the adolescents and young adults still appears to be vulnerable to the infection. It is this group that WHO aims to focus its attention on this year. Around 2.1 million adolescents were reported to be harboring the HIV virus in 2012.

Though HIV infection is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack of adequate preventive measures will ensure that the disease spreads rapidly to other regions as well.

AIDS-related deaths can be prevented to a large extent by the availability of adequate treatment. WHO statistics indicate that 1.6 million people died due to AIDS in 2012. Though medications cannot cure the infection, they do keep the virus under check and prevent its multiplication, thus delaying the onset of AIDS and therefore death due to the condition. These figures thus reveal the inaccessibility of medications to a vast population.

The discrimination against HIV would probably decrease once people understand and accept how HIV spreads. HIV does not only spread by touching or sharing personal objects. It spreads through vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person. It may also spread through blood transfusions, sharing of infected needles and from the mother to the baby.

Treatment of HIV does improve the health of the affected person and reduces the chances of transmission to others, including from the mother to the baby.

Let us don the red ribbon on the first of December and do our bit in our fight against this disease.

References :

Source: Medindia

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