More efforts are needed to combat this disease entirely by 2030
New Delhi, December 2, 2017: By the end of last year, there were 2.1 million people living with HIV, with new infections falling to 80,000 in 2016 from 150,000 in 2005. Of these, 9,100 infected were children under age 15 years. Although there has been a registered 20% annual decline in new infections over the past few years, more efforts are required to completely combat the disease by the year 2030. There is a need to create awareness about the fact that everyone with AIDS must be accorded treatment at the right time to help them achieve good health.
This year, the theme for World AIDS Day is “Right to Health”. The WHO will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with the condition, to reach the goal of universal health coverage by 2030.HIV is a condition which targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections and some types of cancer. The virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, thus gradually making infected individuals become immunodeficient.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “HIV/AIDS continues to affect the Indian population despite various mass awareness campaigns, availability of various state-of-the-art medical interventions, and evolving technology. A large part of this is also due to the social stigma that our society has associated with the disease. This is also one reason why people avoid routine checkups. There is an urgent need to educate the masses about the various disease prevention measures along with the fact that people with HIV can live a normal life. The government and various healthcare associations must also ensure the availability of condoms in smaller cities and towns where the disease is more rampant.”
HIV and AIDS are different terms. HIV or Human immunodeficiency virus attacks and destroys white blood cells or T Lymphocytes in the immune system making the body prone to all types of diseases. AIDS, on the other hand, is a condition, which develops in the advanced stages of HIV infection due to a weak immune system.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “HIV can spread from an infected woman to her child during pregnancy and childbirth. It can also be passed from a mother to her child through breastfeeding.All pregnant mothers should get HIV test done.Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be started at the earliest to prevent HIV transmission to sexual or drug using partner/s or from the mother to the infant during pregnancy or breastfeeding.”
Here are some other facts about the disease.
- ABC for safe sex: Abstain, Be faithful to your partner and if you cannot, use Condoms.
- Drinking alcohol or taking drugs interferes with judgment. Even those who understand the risks of AIDS and the importance of safer sex may become careless after drinking or using drugs.
- People with STIs should seek prompt treatment and avoid sexual intercourse or practice safe sex.
- Used infected razor blades, knives or tools that cut or pierce the skin also carry some risk of spreading HIV.
- HIV-positive people may remain asymptomatic but can still pass on the virus to others.