World AIDS Vaccine Day; A day for awareness

HIV is preventable, preferably if diagnosed at the correct time. the earlier the diagnosis, the better is the treatment

Reports show that globally around 38 million people are currently surviving with HIV. HIV, which means Human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that attacks the body's immune system, specifically the white blood cells called CD4 cells. As the CD4 cells weakens, the person's immunity drops down and they become more prone to opportunistic infections like tuberculosis and fungal infections, severe bacterial infections and some cancers.
Many people experience symptoms like fever, headache, rash and sore throat in the initial stages of the infection which resembles more with the symptoms of influenza. However, these first few months are when the virus is most infectious
WHO recommends that every person who may be at risk of HIV should access testing. People at increased risk of acquiring HIV should seek comprehensive and effective HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. HIV infection can be diagnosed using simple and affordable rapid diagnostic tests and self-tests. It is important that HIV testing services follow the 5Cs: consent, confidentiality and counselling, correct results and connection with treatment and other services.
WHO's 2022-"2030 global health sector strategy on HIV aims to reduce HIV infections from 1.5 million in 2020 to 335 000 by 2030, and deaths from 680 000 in 2020 to under 240 000 in 2030.
WHO's 2022-"2030 global health sector strategy on HIV aims to reduce HIV infections from 1.5 million in 2020 to 335 000 by 2030, and deaths from 680 000 in 2020 to under 240 000 in 2030
May 18 is observed as World AIDS Vaccine Day. This day is makes a mark on creating awareness against this deadly disease. Speaking about the awareness, the first learning comes as the using of condoms during sexual intercourse, which will prevent chances of sexually transmitted infections. Use of common needles by many to inject drugs is also one of the major causes of HIV AIDS. Diagnosis of HIV can be done within the same day using a rapid tests easily at home, although a laboratory test will give a confirmed and accurate result. The earlier the detection of the virus, the sooner and the better is the treatment.
representative image
Image: representative image
During conversation with a senior doctor from the AIDS Prevention Society in Guwahati, Fit Northeast came to know that till date there is no vaccine for this virus. Apart from that the doctor added that there are chances of some vaccines in trial but yes, there are some treatments through which the patient's longevity can be enhanced. The treatment depends on the viral load and its type. People diagnose positive with HIV is immediately given the antiretroviral treatment (ART). The patient is then periodically monitored using clinical and laboratory parameters, including the test to measure virus in the blood (viral load).
At diagnosis or soon after starting ART, a CD4 cell count should be checked to assess a person's immune status. The CD4 cell count is a blood test used to assess progression of HIV disease, including risk for developing opportunistic infections and guides the use of preventive treatment.
The normal range of CD4 count is from 500 to 1500 cells/mm3 of blood, and it progressively decreases over time in persons who are not receiving or not responding well to ART. If the person's CD4 cell count falls below 200, their immunity is severely compromised, leaving them susceptible to infections and death. Someone with a CD4 count below 200 is described as having an advanced HIV disease (AHD).
HIV viral load measures the amount of virus in the blood. This test is used to monitor the level of viral replication and the effectiveness of ART. The treatment goal is to reduce the viral load in the blood to undetectable levels (less than 50 copies/ml), and the persistent presence of detectable viral load (greater than 1000 copies/ml) in people living with HIV on ART is an indicator of inadequate treatment response and the need to change or adjust the treatment regimen.



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