What you need to know about HIV


What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). There is currently no effective cure. Once people get HIV, they have it for life. However, proper medical care can aid the control of HIV.


How did it start?

HIV infection in humans began from a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa. The chimpanzee version of the virus (called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV) arose when humans hunted chimpanzees to eat and thus came in contact with their infected blood. Studies indicated that HIV transmitted from chimpanzees to humans in the late 1800s. Over decades, HIV slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world. We know that the virus has existed in the United States since at least the mid to late 1970s.


How do people get infected?

HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids that include: blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids and breast milk. The virus isn’t transferred in air or water, or through casual contact.


If there is treatment what is the current issue?

HIV patients who are treated cannot pass the virus on to others. While most think treatment = elimination, the truth is that living with a chronic condition has its challenges. Even though HIV patients live longer the quality of their lifestyle is poor.


What needs to be done and how?

It is vital to raise awareness and create political accountability for the wellbeing of people with HIV.

For many years strengthening the “4 90%” was crucial.


• The 4 90%

In 2015 UNAIDS began a global strategy to fight the epidemic. The strategy is known as 90-90-90-90 and aimed for 90 percent of people living with HIV to know their status, 90 percent of those to be on treatment, 90 percent of that group to be virally suppressed and 90 percent to have a good-quality lifestyle.

The first 90-90-90 goals are very clear and were introduced long before the 4th 90. The former indicate that people will either be diagnosed or not, either treated or not and their levels will be either detectable or not. However, the 4th 90 required a lot of research and reports. According to politico they all came to the conclusion that well being depends on a variety of factors (mental, physical and social). Eventually the 4th 90 was put aside and a new strategy surfaced.


• The 3 95%

UNAIDS has introduced a new draft for a board of government representatives, *NGOs and patient groups to approve. The new strategy targets that by 2025 the 95-95-95 will be accomplished. The first 95% is to be diagnosed, the second to be treated and the third to diminish discrimination issues.

Even though the 4th 90 campaign did succeed to an extent, the new one seems more capable of actual change. The new draft might not hold a target to improve the lifestyle of 90% but aims to see “less than 10 percent” of people living with HIV or in vulnerable groups experience stigma and discrimination,”. Another difference is it focuses extra on the prevention and treatment of non-HIV conditions.

Vinay Saldanha, adviser to the UNAIDS chief in charge of strategy, stated that The third 95 is similar to the “4th 90”. That is why, If people are on treatment (the second 95) but not achieving viral suppression (the third), chances are there’s another health issue holding them back. Interestingly enough even being an immigrant can affect one’s progress.


Conclusion

We shouldn’t neglect this issue but do our best to aid the people who live with HIV. At the bottom line they shouldn’t be deprived of their chance at happiness.



 

NGO= non-governmental organization


https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html

https://www.politico.eu/article/hiv-90-90-90-aids-why-living-well-is-not-a-goal/

https://www.looptt.com/content/govt-launches-hivaids-disclosure-brochure

https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2021/march/20210305_people-at-the-centre-nigeria


PICTURES

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56255111

https://www.togetheractnow.org/about.html

https://www.devex.com/news/sponsored/opinion-how-to-achieve-the-fourth-90-for-hiv-95638

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