On behalf of the National HIV Testing Day, several initiatives continue to work with the United States to fight the spreading of this disease. All of this while also informing populations on early detection and prevention methods.
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a publicly known virus that attacks cells of the human body system and leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2012 1.2 million people, 13 years and older were living with the disease in the U.S.
The United Nations’ estimates that 40 million people around the world are currently living with HIV, of those only 17 million have access to antiretroviral therapy, 2.4 million have become recently infected with the disease, and 40.8 million people have lost their battle to the virus since it started.
Statistics show that, not only, the world’s’ population is becoming more infected with the virus but that the same rate of people fighting the disease, has lost their lives to it. HIV it’s a national and worldwide concern.
One of HIV’s biggest dangers is not knowing the virus is present, diagnose plays a key role in stopping the spread of the disease. According to the CDC, 12,8% of HIV patients has not been diagnosed yet.
Rates among those patients who are diagnosed have been increasing, in 2014 a total of 44,073 new patients were diagnosed, this number includes male patients 13 years and older. 174 cases showed HIV in children under the age of 13.
— AIDS.gov (@AIDSgov) June 18, 2016
Pregnancy and HIV prevention
Recent studies have demonstrated that is able worldwide, one million women, in their reproductive years have been diagnosed with the disease as in 2013. Most of the diagnosis occurred in women under the age of 25.
These rates strongly correlate with unintended pregnancies from all around the globe, which makes it more possible for a woman to contract HIV and get pregnant at the same time.
Just last year the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the use of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which is a prevention pill for HIV. The medicine is taken on a daily can impact HIV infections.
PrEP has been specially thought for populations at higher risks of contracting the virus, especially black women, and gay males. Although the medicine is not easily prescribed, doctors would need to follow the WHO guidelines and lifestyle of the patient.
— CDC NPIN (@CDCNPIN) June 16, 2016
Initially, the medicine was intended for gay males and intravenous drug users, who were the higher population with risks of contracting HIV. Yet studies and research have shown that black women, in the Washington DC area are the second highest rate of HIV contraction.
One of every five diagnoses made in D.C comes from a black woman in the city, which has raised the alarm to fight this crisis.
Several initiatives have been made, recently MAC AIDS announced a 2-year commitment of a $1million investment to promote HIV education to black women in the area, and the uses of PrEP for both health care institutes and women.
“PrEP is a lifesaving drug but it is generally inaccessible to folks who don’t have private doctors,” said Nancy Mahon, executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund.
D.C’s Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a new HIV prevention plan, that seeks to end the epidemic by the year 2020.
The initiative has the name of 90/90/90/50 by 2020, which seeks to assure 90 percent of HIV patients are aware of their status, 90 percent have access to treatment, 90 percent reduce viral loads to undetectability, dropping the rates to 50 percent by 2020.
The introduction of this medicine has opened the path for new prevention and education methods in high-risk populations. When prescribing the pills, doctors would need to engage in conversations with patients about their decision-making and educate them on HIV.
National HIV testing day
June 27th has been established as the National HIV testing day, in order to establish an annual, national observance of the disease by orientating populations on early diagnosis and treatments for the virus
Several movements are already working on behalf of the National HIV day, Idaho has recently announced its commitment to the cause. The Eastern Idaho Public Health District is now offering free and confidential HIV testing to the public.
“The earlier that we find the HIV, the earlier we can intervene medically and a lot of people can live a long and healthy life after being diagnosed with the disease,” said Nikki Sayer a nurse at Eastern Idaho’s public Health District.
Recently the CDC identified 220 counties in the nation as the most vulnerable to HIV and Hepatitis C. Especially those counties that have higher injectable drug users, 54 counties in Kentucky have been identified as high risk.
“Both HIV and hepatitis C can be transmitted when people who inject drugs share their needles. Many of Kentucky’s HCV cases are among rural youth ages from 12 to 29 years old, who have been sharing needles,” said Doug Hogan, communications director for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Kentucky.
Prevention and early detection of the virus continue to be one of the top priorities when it comes to fighting HIV and AIDS. Even more organization, public figures, and federal institutions are helping to educate and conscientious populations about the virus.