HIV Prevention

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by Carolina on June 11, 2010

Many infected people are unaware of their HIV status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. Since this disease was first reported over 20 years ago, an estimated 944,000 people have developed AIDS in United States.

An estimated of 55,000 new HIV infections occur in USA each year. It is known, based on the experience that even in resource-limited settings, HIV epidemics can be prevented, slowed or reversed and quality treatment, care and support delivered. This is a reason for considering the importance of  international experience and global knowledge in the effort to reduce transmission of the disease. Improvement in the advances of HIV’s treatments and care, and the policies and strategies that support an effective and comprehensive response to this epidemic all around the world are other crucial factors in HIV prevention efforts.

Some of the treatments and care for people living with HIV include antiretroviral treatment (ART). This treatment makes HIV/AIDS a chronic disease rather than a death sentence. It delays the progression of the disease, reduces disability, improves quality of life and increases life expectancy of the people.

People living with HIV/AIDS disease needs a comprehensive treatment and care including not only specific ART treatment, but also management of other health needs such as:

  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections
  • Management of drug dependence
  • Treatment of opportunistic infections
  • Palliative care
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission
  • Immunization and post-exposure prophylaxis

In order to address all these needs, surveillance data is a basic prerequisite for decision-making and for monitoring, evaluating and improving policies and services related to HIV/AIDS. Having true collected data is a significant factor for:

  • Developing appropriate strategies and policies to deal with this epidemic
  • Introducing efficient interventions for sexually transmitted infections prevention
  • Planning services and allocation of resources to prevent and control this disease.

However, in several countries this collection and management of data is limited. There is an insufficient knowledge about the increase in sexual and drug-related risk behavior observed in some populations.

It is known that the number of infections resulting from each route of transmission will vary greatly between countries and population groups. The share of resources allocated to each area should reflect the nature of the local epidemic, for example, if most infections occur among men who have sex with men then this group should be a primary target for prevention efforts.

For this situation, in order to achieve HIV prevention goals, prevention should be comprehensive, making use of all approaches known to be effective rather than just implementing one or a few select actions in isolation. Successful HIV prevention programs not only give information, but also build skills and provide access to essential commodities such as condoms or sterile injecting equipment. It should be remembered that many people don’t fit into only one “risk category”. For example, injecting drug users need access to condoms and safer sex counseling as well as support to reduce the risk of transmission through blood.

Remember: Effective HIV prevention programming should focuses on the critical relationships between the epidemiology of HIV infection, the risk behaviours that expose to HIV transmission, and the collective social and institutional factors, such as sexual norms, gender inequality, and HIV related stigma.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rahul December 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm

This piece was cogent, wetllwrit-en, and pithy.

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