Impact Of HIV/AIDS

How Many Aids Are There?

HIV is a worldwide epidemic. Global deaths from AIDS peaked in the mid-2000s but have since halved thanks to antiretroviral treatment. HIV infection is most common among men who have unprotected sex. Other risk groups include people who inject drugs, sex workers, and gay or bisexual MSM.

Prevention efforts are vital, including promoting healthy behaviors and voluntary medical male circumcision, as well as ensuring that HIV-positive men get on and stay on HIV treatment.

What is AIDS?

HIV infects and destroys white blood cells called CD4 cells, lowering the immune system to the point that it can’t fight infections or diseases. At this stage, AIDS begins. People with AIDS are at a high risk of serious infection and death from opportunistic diseases and cancers.

The weakened immune system allows for these opportunistic diseases to grow and become more serious. Examples include tuberculosis, pneumonia PJP, cryptococcal meningitis and an infection in the lungs called coccidioidomycosis. Other opportunistic diseases include vaginal infections, thrush and cancers of the lymph nodes and gastrointestinal tract.

AIDS can be transmitted through unprotected sex, including oral and anal sex, STIs that cause open sores on the genitals (including herpes simplex), blood transfusions and breastfeeding. It is also spread by injecting illegal drugs or sharing needles. It is a leading cause of death worldwide and disproportionately affects people of color. Most new infections occur among men who use injection drugs, especially MSM.

What are the symptoms of AIDS?

Many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms at first. This is because HIV hides in your body for years without causing illness, even though it’s killing your immune cells. When it does cause symptoms, it’s called AIDS. Symptoms include a low CD4 count and infections that can’t be treated with medicine. These are called opportunistic infections.

Most infections with AIDS are caused by germs that take advantage of your weakened immune system. They can be serious, including pneumonia (pneumocystis), candidiasis of the mouth or esophagus, or tuberculosis (TB).

Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know your HIV status. Everyone ages 13 to 65 should get tested, especially those who have risky behaviors. If you have HIV, early treatment with medicines stops the virus from spreading and helps keep infections at bay. Medications can also reduce the chance of passing on HIV to others. That’s why it’s important to use protection during sex and not share needles or other paraphernalia.

What are the causes of AIDS?

In addition to taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), people can help prevent AIDS by using condoms for all sex and practicing safer sexual practices. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners, using the same partner each time, and never sharing needles or syringes. People can also protect themselves against opportunistic infections by being careful about personal hygiene, washing their hands frequently, and getting regular medical care.

With ART, HIV-related deaths have declined worldwide. Nonetheless, tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people with HIV, and death due to AIDS-related diseases is still high in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Poverty is a key driver of AIDS, as it limits access to safe sex and HIV prevention services. In addition, many children are orphaned by AIDS deaths. Women and girls are also disproportionally affected by AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, more women than men die each year from AIDS. This is partly because women are more likely to be infected with HIV and have higher death rates from AIDS-related illnesses.

What are the treatments for AIDS?

The best treatment is a combination of drugs that keep your immune system strong. This treatment is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART can help prevent AIDS-related death. It also can reduce your risk of passing HIV to others. ART can improve your quality of life and help you live longer.

AIDS-related deaths have declined since their peak in 2004, thanks to better HIV prevention and ART treatments. But more needs to be done. This includes promoting safer sex, encouraging people to get tested for HIV, and bringing HIV care and treatment services where they are needed.

A key target for AIDS interventions is men and young women. These groups are at a higher risk for HIV infection, and their access to healthcare is often limited. This is due to a variety of factors, including stigma and gender norms that equate seeking health care with weakness. Changing these norms is important for eliminating HIV as a public health threat.

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