HIV is considered as one of the most intricate health problems humankind has ever faced. The virus evolves three to seven times faster than any other biological known entity. This virus is smart enough as it hides itself from the immune system and then directly attacks the cells which protect our body from various types of infections.
The last one and half decade had been very critical for the world in its fight against this deadly virus HIV. At present, about 36.7 million people are living with this menace globally, but the good news is that the new infections have been decreased down and so are the deaths caused by this infection. So, on this World AIDS Vaccine day, let’s have a look at how far the world has progressed in its fight against HIV since 2000.
18th May is observed as World AIDS Vaccine Day, as the day aims to raise the awareness for the prolonged need for vaccination to keep infections at bay. Apart from raising awareness for the need of vaccine, the day also gives us an opportunity to recognize the contribution and thanks many volunteers, community members, health professionals and scientist who are working hard together to find a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine. The day also helps the victims of the infection as they also receive admiration from everyone on this poignant day.
In the year 1997, then President Bill Clinton during a speech at Morgan State University asked experts and scientist worldwide to work and develop a vaccine which will be responsible in the fight against HIV virus. He also added that developing a vaccine will be the only way to limit the spread of the virus eventually wiping it out.
What is HIV?
HIV is a retrovirus which attacks the immune cells known as CD-4, which are considered as the subset of T cells. AIDS is a syndrome, which may be or may be not appears in the advanced stage of HIV infection. The virus affects all the tissues of the body but only gets transmitted through the body fluids of an infected person (semen, vagina fluid, and blood and breast milk). Without any treatment, the virus progress and will finally get transformed into AIDS in majority of cases.
Some early symptoms of HIV Infection:
There are various cases where people with HIV infection have no symptoms until several months or even years after catching the virus. Though in 80% of the cases the symptoms are much similar to that of flu which develops within 2-6 weeks after catching the virus. This is known as acute retroviral syndrome.
The symptoms of early HIV include:
• Pain in joints
• Pain in muscles
• Sweats (especially during at night)
• Enlarged glands
• A red rash
• Unintentional weight loss
HIV prevalence in India:
India is considered as the third largest HIV epidemic country across the globe. The prevalence of HIV in India in the year 2016 was estimated to be 0.3%. The figure is small when compared to the most other middle income countries. Due to the huge Indian population (1.324 billion), this small figure of 0.3% equates that about 2 million of people are living or are infected with HIV virus. In the very same year, about 62,000 people died because of AIDS related illness in the country.
But the god news is that the overall HIV epidemic in the country has been lowered down with about 32% decline in the new HIV infections (80,000 in 2016), and nearly about 54% decline in AIDS- related deaths between 2007-2015.
“If we look over at these three diseases, the three major killers – HIV, TB and Malaria. The only disease for which we have really good drug is HIV. On this World Aids Vaccine day let’s get ourselves and our family member vaccinated for HIV before it gets too late because prevention is always better than cure.”
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