HIV Vaccine Awareness Day: 12 Things to Know About HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) are one of the leading global health burdens. WHO states that there were approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV in 2015.
Although medications are available as a treatment option for HIV AIDS, there’s no ultimate cure till date. However, the life-threatening disease can be prevented. So, it’s important to spread the awareness of HIV AIDS.  
This HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (i.e. May 18, 2017), step forward and help in spreading the awareness of this global epidemic. Here are 12 things to know about HIV.

1. There are several ways through which HIV AIDS can get transmitted. Some of these include unprotected sexual intercourse with the infected person, contaminated needles and surgical equipment, transfusions of contaminated blood, transmission from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  

Given that HIV AIDS is contagious and transmits through blood, the disease doesn’t transmit from activities such as coughing, sneezing, sweat, saliva, touching, and sharing food, bathroom, and swimming pools with the infected person.

2. People who are HIV positive can live a productive life; they can even have families. For doing so, HIV patients need a proper medical care, moral/ social support, and counselling.  

When an HIV positive individual is given proper counselling, he/she gets an in-depth understanding of the disease. Counselling also helps in creating a positive perception towards the disease. This, in turn, helps HIV positive individuals to share their status with families and sex partners.

3. According to a Deccan Chronicle report (https://goo.gl/y8nkb2), treatments for HIV AIDS have seen improvement and HIV patients can now have a near-normal life expectancy. New drugs could ward off social stigma and help HIV patients get employed and acquire medical insurance.  

As stated in the report, lead author, Adam Trickey of the University of Bristol, UK, has said, “Our research illustrates a success story of how improved HIV treatments coupled with screening, prevention and treatment of health problems associated with HIV infection can extend the lifespan of people diagnosed with HIV," said lead author Adam Trickey, from the University of Bristol in the UK.”

4. According to a WHO report (http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/hiv/en/), there’s a great progress in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The report holds that about 1.1 million women worldwide received antiretrovirals. WHO also declared Cuba to be the first country to have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

5. According to a report (https://goo.gl/EO5CFA), AI (Artificial Intelligence) could help identify effective drugs for patients whose drug therapy is failing.  

As stated in the report, Professor Julio Montaner MD, Professor of Medicine and Chair in AIDS Research, at the BC Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada has said, “These patients had high viral loads and were failing because of drug resistance, despite multiple changes to their treatment and the use of current resistance tests.”  

“Today's results hold out the possibility of being able to reverse the process of treatment failure for such patients, using artificial intelligence to help us identify the best possible drug combination for the individual.”

6. The Parliament of India has recently approved a new law for the protection of human rights of people who are HIV positive. According to a report (https://goo.gl/xEuXzd), the HIV AIDS bill has spanned nearly ten years in the making and has been circling in the parliament for three years.

Ashok Kumar Agarwal at Public Health Foundation of India has said, “The most significant contribution of the bill will be to decrease stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.”

7. Although AIDS is a leading health concern worldwide, vigilant health policies could make it possible for putting an end to the disease. According to a report (https://goo.gl/aW79yW), a paper in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine holds that the US could initiate better diagnosis, care, and antiretroviral therapies to put an end to AIDS by 2025.

8. The government of Kenya has launched a new pill and self-testing kit for combating HIV AIDS.
According to a report
(https://goo.gl/aJ1SRS), the Kenyan government aims to reduce the infection up to 75% by 2019. The report also holds that the Kenyan government will initiate free distribution of the PrEP (Prevention Pill Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) for the next five years.

9. There is a first online condom store in India which delivers free condoms to anyone in need. According to report (https://goo.gl/sd9vjZ), AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a global non-profit HIV prevention services provider has introduced the online condom store (named ‘Love Condoms’) to give away free condoms to individuals, government, NGOs, community-based organisations and private organisations.

To order Love Condoms, one can make a request on the toll-free number 1800 102 8102 or via an email to freecondomstoreahf@gmail.com.

10. The Supreme Court of India has proposed state governments to include children with HIV AIDS in the ‘disadvantaged group’ as part of the Right to Education law. The inclusion involves HIV children getting a free and compulsory education.  

According to a report (https://yourstory.com/2017/05/hiv-children-disadvantaged/), the issue will be under Section 2 (d) of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009.

11. A study claims that happy HIV patients have decreased the risk of infection. According to a report (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4429182/Happy-HIV-patients-infectious-others.html), a study conducted by the Northwestern University taught 80 HIV positive men 8 different happiness skills.  

During the trail, these men continued their anti-retroviral medication After 15 months, men who followed the practice saw a significant reduction in viral load as opposed to those who did not. The positive emotion intervention also carried improvement on mental health.

12. HIV infection can cast a profound impact on the brain’s connectivity and cognitive performance. As stated in a report (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/mali-dhi051017.php), a journal, Brain Connectivity, holds that a study compared brain structural network in both HIV negative and positive adults. As a result, HIV positive patients held “significant disruption in whole brain structural networks, poorer strength and efficiency of connections.”