HIV infections or the human immunodeficiency virus which in its later stage manifests itself in the form of AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is considerably a new disease. However the alarming rate at which it is spreading throughout the world calls for our instant attention. The biggest malady associated with AIDS is that while the disease can spread from one person to another by a number of means, there are no ways to get rid of it once it enters a person’s system. Thus each year the number of people affected by AIDS keeps on rising putting an even higher section of people at the risk of acquiring it.
Though there are no known cures of getting rid of it, having a thorough knowledge of it can definitely help in putting a grip on this disease.
The History of AIDS
AIDS originated in continent of Africa, around the west- central parts around the late 19th century or 20th century. However it was recognized as a disease and its underlying cause, the HIV virus was recognized as late as the 1980s. By then it had already spread its claws around the world and as the situation stands now AIDS is considered as a pandemic disease spread through large areas around the world- and more and more people are coming under it each year.
Some Alarming Stats
- There were nearly 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2017 (global statistic).
- Out of these nearly 37 million people, almost 1.8 million were children aged less than 15 years.
- Nearly 1.8 million individuals worldwide were newly added to the group of HIV infected people in 2017. This translates roughly to nearly 5,000 new infections every single day.
- Nearly 75% of HIV infected people across the world were aware of their HIV status in 2017.
- This means that the remaining 1/4th either haven’t tested in spite of the presence of HIV testing services, or haven’t simply tested at all. It is to be noted that the first step to HIV infection management to test for its presence in the body. Once tested positive, a person can seek guidance on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
- A good news is that the peak numbers of AIDS-related deaths in 2004 has seen a fall every year after that. In 2004, the peak number was 1.9 million in 2004. This came down to 1.4 million (2010) and was further reduced to 9,40,000 AIDS-related deaths
- Despite efforts by government and private bodies to spread awareness about AIDS and HIV, not many people have access to resources to manage the disease better. They still do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment.
How does AIDS Spread?
AIDS spreads through the exchange of body fluids between an infected person and a healthy person. The fluids may be exchanged in the form of unprotected sex, or during blood transfusion from an infected person, by sharing of hypodermic needles with the affected person. It may also be spread from mother to babies during delivery or post delivery during breast feeding.
Undoing Some Common Myths
Though the awareness about AIDS is very limited, there are some common myths about AIDS that further complicate the process of prevention or rehabilitation of the patients. Common amongst these myths are that AIDS spread by any form of contact with the patients or sharing utensils which are completely false. AIDS is neither spread by handshake nor by bodily fluids such as saliva or tears.
The Stigma Involved
Since AIDS is predominantly a sexually transmitted disease there are also a number of stigmas surrounding it. These stigmas prevent the people from acquiring the correct knowledge about it.
It also prevents them from getting themselves screened or asking their partners to be screened even though they may be living in a high risk area. They also lack the knowledge regarding the correct methods of prevention such as using condoms or avoiding the sharing of needles.
What does new age movement seek to do?
New age movement has an in interesting concept of AIDS movement that seeks to spread complete awareness regarding AIDS while also encouraging people living in the high risk areas to get themselves tested from time to time through various community events.
For the people at high risk area, they also provide PrEP or pre- exposure prophylaxis which means people at high risk areas of HIV take HIV medicines daily to completely prevent them from contracting the diseases or even in case of contact, to save them from spreading the infection throughout the body.
It also provides nPEP to people who have been recently exposed to HIV. This way they provide access to treatment options so that those at a high risk of HIV can enjoy life without the risks of being infected with the deadly infection.