Fighting HIV/AIDS

November 12, 2012

Fighting HIV/AIDS

It would be extremely dangerous for people to think that we no longer have to fight AIDS.

There are approximately 30 million people worldwide who live with HIV. And if the trend continues over the next decade, there will be another 30 million people who will be infected.

Governments are reducing the funding in fighting AIDS. Acknowledgement has to be given that millions, even billions of dollars have been spent to save lives. But there has been no real evaluation or reports on the performance of the investment. This means no one knows what does work, where it works to fight AIDS and as a result information cannot be shared.

There have been studies carried out in sub-Saharan Africa where they were questioned on what could be achieved if extra investment was available in the following to fight AIDS. The answers were:

  • Reduction of nonsexual transmission

  • Prevention of sexual transmission

  • Treatment for patients who have this disease

  • Introduce initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS and research for a possible vaccine

There was an urgent need identified in increasing investment in the development of an HIV vaccine. The research which is available at the moment shows that a large scale vaccination program would be possible in approximately 20 years. But if the funding increased by 10% then the projected 20 year period for the vaccination would be reduced. This would mean millions of lives could be saved in trying to fight AIDS.

The number of young children and infants who became HIV positive in 2008 as a result of breast feeding, pregnancy, labor and delivery is 350,000. The mother to child transmission of HIV could be a thing of the past if approximately $140 million per year was spent. There is in place cost effective programs that could stop this transferring from mother to child so it would be a successful investment.

Investing approximately $2 million over a 5 years period to ensure blood transfusions become safer would result in 100% blood transfusions being safe. If this was carried out, approximately 131,000 cases of HIV infection could be avoided. And at the same time, reducing the fear of infection because the blood may not have been fully screened.

Funding to provide male circumcision would be a great use of funds to fight AIDS according to reports. The chance of transmitting this infection from a woman to man if an adult male has been circumcised is reduced. The long term benefits of carrying out this cheap practice are clear and there has to be a plan to inform the adult males across Africa that circumcision is something to seriously consider. Counselling may be required to make sure men do not think circumcision is a substitute for a vaccine and perhaps take part in higher risk sexual behavior.

Any additional funding should be used on the patients who are gravely ill and patients who are highly infectious. Treatment is expensive and the rates of coverage are not adequate. Treatment is required to help the patient but also in reducing and preventing sexual transmission.

Reports suggest more research is required and inequalities in gender and the incidence of domestic violence are linked to an increase in HIV.

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