Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus spread through certain body fluids. It attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells.
HIV virus leads to AIDS or Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, which is a medical condition in humans and appears in the advanced stages of the infection. The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases.
Here are some key points about HIV and AIDS:
- Globally, 36.7 million (34.0–39.8 million) people were living with HIV at the end of 2015, and 1.8 million (1.5–2.0 million) of these were children. The vast majority of people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries.
- HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies.
- Between 2000 and 2015, new HIV infections fell by 35%, AIDS-related deaths fell by 28% with some 8 million lives saved.
- There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus and help prevent transmission so that people with HIV, and those at substantial risk, can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.
- Access to preventive interventions remains limited in many low-and middle-income countries. But progress has been made in some areas such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive. In 2015, almost 8 out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV – 1.1 million women – received antiretrovirals worldwide. In 2015, Cuba became the first country to be declared by WHO as having eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. In June 2016, 3 other countries: Armenia, Belarus and Thailand were also validated for eliminating mother-to-child HIV.
WHO is recommending innovative HIV-self-testing and partner notification approaches to increase HIV testing services among undiagnosed people.