World Aids Day 2022
World Aids Day is observed globally on the 1st of December. The first world aid day was observed on 1 December 1988. The motto was to show unity and support for HIV patients. Each year different themes are followed to ensure and multiply the processive measures to eliminate this contagious disease from the face of the world. This year the official theme is Equalize! Which called out global leaders to speak up about this severe issue.
HIV- Brief Introduction
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system and undermines people’s resistance to various viruses and tumours that healthy immune systems can better fight. HIV Infected individuals gradually lose their immunological capacity. The virus kills and damages immune cells. In the body, the CD4 cell count is used to assess immune function.
Depending on the individual, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the third and final stage of HIV infection, might take many years to manifest. The emergence of certain cancers, infections, or other long-term severe clinical symptoms defines AIDS.
Signs and Symptoms of HIV
Like other diseases, the symptoms of HIV variates from person to person concerning the stage of the disease. In the initial days, fever, headache, rash, and sore throat. The symptoms often felt like influenza. However, with the passage of time, as the efficiency of the immune system decreases, more symptoms come to the surface.
At advanced levels, swollen lymph node problems, weight loss issues, fever, diarrhoea, and cough. Further, without treatment, the patients may develop severe illnesses such as tuberculosis (TB), cryptococcal meningitis, and severe bacterial infections and cancers elements such as lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions are just a few of the bodily fluids from infected people that can spread HIV. During pregnancy and delivery, a mother’s HIV infection might pass to her kid. Regular daily interactions like kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal items, food, or water do not cause an infection in a person.
It is crucial to remember that HIV-positive individuals who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and have their viral load lowered do not transfer the virus to their sexual partners. Therefore, it is crucial to get started on antiretroviral therapy (ART) early and have help to stick with it to improve the health of persons with HIV and stop HIV transmission.
Associated Risk Factors
Individuals have a greater chance of contracting HIV if they engage in the following practices and conditions:
- Sharing contaminated injecting equipment like injections and syringes, and drug solutions when injecting drugs;
- Engaging in unsafe sexual activities; having other STI problems like syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and bacterial vaginosis;
- Receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions, and medical procedures that involve unsterile instruments;
Stages of HIV AIDS
There are three stages of Aids or HIV.
- Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection
- Stage 2: Chronic HIV/Infection
- Stage 3: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
In stage 1, affected people hold a large amount of HIV in their blood, being critical and contagious. They have symptoms of flu.
While in stage 2, HIV is active and present in the affected person’s body. There are no apparent symptoms, and people may carry on with medication.
However, in stage 3, patients reach the most vulnerable stage of this disease. At this stage, infection transmission is very contagious as human bodies are loaded with HIV. Their immune system is fragile at this stage, and they are more prone to other viruses and diseases.
The Phase of Diagnosis
The most extensively used HIV diagnostic tests check for antibodies an individual produces as part of their immunological response to combat HIV. People typically produce anti-HIV antibodies within 28 days after infection. People go through a period known as the “window period”, during which they may have no symptoms of HIV infection, and no high enough levels of HIV antibodies have been developed to be detected by routine tests. Still, they are also at risk of playing the role of virus carriers the virus to other humans. After becoming infected and going without treatment and viral suppression, a person may pass HIV to a partner with whom they engage in sexual activity or drug use, or the case of pregnant women, to their unborn child while nursing.
Before starting lifelong treatment after getting a positive diagnosis, individuals should be retested to rule out any testing or reporting errors. When there are doubts regarding the integrity of an HIV patient’s diagnosis or when they discontinue medication and care and need to be re-engaged, it is crucial to encourage them to continue their treatment and to offer counselling messages and services.
The simplicity of testing is limited to HIV aids diagnosis in adults. This is not the case with children born to HIV-positive mothers. For them, virological testing must be provided as early as birth or at six weeks of age. Modern technologies are available to perform this test at the point of care and enable same-day results, accelerating appropriate linkage with treatment and care.
Treatment of HIV/ Aids
HIV/AIDS cannot be cured, although a doctor may recommend a few medications that should be taken in tandem. This procedure is also called ART or HIV Regime. For the rest of their life, patients will need to take these medications daily, sometimes twice or three times daily. It is a challenging treatment plan. You should be aware that drugs for HIV/AIDS can have a variety of adverse effects. These negative impacts may consist of the following:
- Vomiting, diarrhoea, or nausea
- Broken Bones
- Tissue breakdown in muscles (rhabdomyolysis)
- Abnormally high blood sugar
- Heart issues
- Excessive cholesterol
Prevention Measures of HIV Aids
Maintaining healthy, clean, and reasonable life on personal, Inta-personal, and social grounds is the only preventive measure to avoid HIV Aids in healthy humans.
Role of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
According to world health organization (WHO) resources, since 2016, WHO has directed clearly to ‘treat all’ HIV patients. Regardless of clinical condition or CD4 cell count, lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) be made available to all HIV-positive individuals, including children, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.
By June 2022, 189 nations had already enacted this suggestion, providing care for 99% of all HIV-positive individuals worldwide. In addition to the Treat All plan, WHO advises a quick ART introduction for all HIV-positive individuals, including providing ART to those who are prepared to begin treatment the same day as their diagnosis. Nearly two-thirds of the 97 nations reported adopting this strategy by June 2022 said it had been implemented nationally.
In 2021, 28.7 million HIV-positive individuals received ART globally. In 2021, there was 75% [66-85%] global ART coverage. To scale up treatment, additional work is required, especially for kids and teenagers. By the end of 2021, only 52% [42-65%] of youngsters (0-14 years old) were receiving ART.
Aids Stats in Pakistan
National Aids Control Program (NACP) has identified 53,718 HIV cases, of which 32,972 will begin antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 51 ART clinics by June 2022. Pakistan is the third most affected country in the region, behind Nepal and India.
The reasons for the spread of HIV in Pakistan are as follows.
Contaminated blood or blood products are the most frequently reported sources of HIV transmission in Pakistan (52.55%).
However, HIV infections in children have been linked to several injections or when medical workers used the same syringe on one or more kids as part of treatment. HIV transmission and infections increased in Pakistan because of medical error, which was mainly brought on by poorly trained staff.
Every year on the 1st of December, World Aids Day is observed internationally. World Health Organisation (WHO) tries to spread awareness and preventive measures. World Aids Day 2022 is being honoured with the theme of ‘equalize’. WHO urges world leaders and citizens to courageously acknowledge and address the inequalities that impede efforts to end AIDS. They are also encouraging them to equalize access to vital HIV services.