Lets pre­vent it

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Hu­man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus in­fec­tion/ac­quired im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency syn­drome (HIV/AIDS) is a dis­ease of the hu­man im­mune sys­tem caused by the hu­man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus (HIV). Dur­ing the ini­tial in­fec­tion a per­son may ex­pe­ri­ence a brief pe­riod of in­fluen­za­like ill­ness.

This is typ­i­cally fol­lowed by a pro­longed pe­riod without symp­toms. As the ill­ness pro­gresses it in­ter­feres more and more with the im­mune sys­tem, mak­ing peo­ple much more likely to get in­fec­tions, in­clud­ing op­por­tunis­tic in­fec­tions, and tu­mors that do not usu­ally af­fect peo­ple with work­ing im­mune sys­tem.

Ge­netic re­search in­di­cates that HIV orig­i­nated in west-cen­tral Africa dur­ing the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury. AIDS was first rec­og­nized by the Cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) in 1981 and its cause, HIV in­fec­tion was iden­ti­fied in the early part of the 20th cen­tury.

The South-East Asia re­gion of WHO has the sec­ond high­est num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV with an es­ti­mated 3.5 mil­lion, out of which nearly 1.6 mil­lion an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy (ART). All coun­tries in the South-East Asia Re­gion have adopted the WHO TREAT ALL rec­om­men­da­tions and this is likely to lead to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple re­ceiv­ing free an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy in the re­gion.

Ev­ery year De­cem­ber 1 is cel­e­brated as World Aids Day, and this year theme for the event was “Ev­ery­body Counts”.

HIV is trans­mit­ted by three main routes: sex­ual con­tact, ex­po­sure to in­fected body flu­ids or tis­sues ad from mother to child dur­ing preg­nancy, de­liv­ery or breast­feed­ing.

HIV/AIDS has a great im­pact on so­ci­ety, both as an ill­ness and as a source of dis­crim­i­na­tion. The dis­ease also has large eco­nomic im­pacts. There are many mis­con­cep­tions about HIV/AIDS such as the be­lief that it can be trans­mit­ted by ca­sual non-sex­ual con­tact. It has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal at­ten­tion as well as largescale fund­ing since it was iden­ti­fied in the 1980s.

The WHO and United States rec­om­mends an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy (ART) in peo­ple of all ages in­clud­ing preg­nant women as soon as the di­ag­nosed.

Treat­ment rec­om­men­da­tions for chil­dren are some­what dif­fer­ent from those for adults. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mends treat­ing all chil­dren less than 5 years of age; chil­dren above 5 are treated like adults.

The WHO has is­sued rec­om­men­da­tions re­gard­ing nu­tri­ent re­quire­ments in HIV/AIDS. A gen­er­ally healthy diet is pro­moted.

AIDS stigma ex­ists around the world in a va­ri­ety of ways, in­clud­ing re­jec­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion and avoid­ance of HIV in­fected peo­ple. Stigma-re­lated vi­o­lence or the fear of vi­o­lence pre­vents many peo­ple from seek­ing HIV test­ing.

As Bhutan al­ready has more than 500 peo­ple liv­ing with HIV/AIDS we must strive to pro­vide all help pos­si­ble for the in­fected ones and pre­vent the spread of virus in all ways pos­si­ble.

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