Today it was reported that 14 adults have been “functionally cured” of the HIV virus. This was determined after the individuals were able to keep the infection under control once they stopped receiving combination antiretroviral therapy treatments for 3 years. Even though the virus is still in their systems, it is barely detectable. But the question is: will it continue to be detained after longer periods of time?
Until then, THM would like to inform our readers about HIV and AIDS. Education is the key to protecting yourself from this deadly virus that kills millions of people each year. Here are 10 not-so-hot facts brought to you by the World Health Organization:
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects cells of the immune system
Infection results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, breaking down the body’s ability to fend off some infections and other diseases. AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection, defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or related cancers.
HIV can be transmitted in several ways
HIV can be transmitted through:
- unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) or oral sex with an infected person;
- transfusions of contaminated blood;
- the sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments;
- the transmission between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
34 million people live with HIV worldwide
The vast majority are in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with the virus in 2011.
HIV is the world’s leading infectious killer
About 25 million people have died to date. An estimated 1.7 million people died of HIV/AIDS in 2011.
Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevents the HIV virus from multiplying in the body
If the reproduction of the HIV virus stops, then the body’s immune cells are able to live longer and provide the body with protection from infections. If the HIV positive partner in a couple is on ART, the likelihood of sexual transmission to the HIV-negative partner decreases dramatically.
Over 8 million HIV-positive people had access to ART in low- and middle-income countries at the end of 2011
Overall, the coverage of ART in low- and middle-income countries continued to increase and was 54% of the close to 15 million people eligible for treatment.
An estimated 3.34 million children are living with HIV
According to 2011 figures most of the children live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Over 900 children become newly infected with HIV each day.
Mother-to-child-transmission of HIV is almost entirely avoidable
Access to preventive interventions remains limited in most low- and middle-income countries. But progress has been made. In 2011, 57% of pregnant women living with HIV received the most effective drug regimens (as recommended by WHO) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
HIV is the strongest risk factor for developing active TB disease
In 2011, approximately 430 000 deaths from tuberculosis occurred among people living with HIV. That is one quarter of the estimated 1.7 million deaths from HIV in that year. The majority of people living with both HIV and TB reside in sub-Saharan Africa (about 79% of cases worldwide).
There are several ways to prevent HIV transmission
Key ways to prevent HIV transmission:
- practice safe sexual behaviors such as using condoms;
- get tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;
- avoid injecting drugs, or if you do, always use new and disposable needles and syringes;
- ensure that any blood or blood products that you might need are tested for HIV.
We here at The Hottest Media urge everyone to get tested in order to protect yourself and others from possibly transmitting these viruses. Locate your nearest testing center by clicking here, and have a friend go with you for support.
- Over quarter of S.African schoolgirls HIV positive (capitalfm.co.ke)
- Early Diagnosis, Drugs ‘Cure’ Some HIV Patients (medicaldaily.com)
- Researchers In France Say 14 Adults Cured Of HIV (hiphopwired.com)
- 14 Adults ‘Cured’ Of HIV (newscientist.com)
- What to do When the Condom Breaks During Sex (aids.answers.com)
- First documented case of child cured of HIV (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)