AIDS stands for “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome” and is developed as a result from an advanced infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). If HIV is left untreated it can result in AIDS. The death from the HIV and AIDS can be very painful and slow.
People are currently striving to find a cure for AIDS. Today is the 25th annual World AIDS Day. To celebrate this day, partners in the battle against AIDS will set bold goals including “ending AIDS” and “getting to zero”. There are nearly 35.3 million people who are living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world. To some, the goal to completely get rid of AIDS is impossible while others remain hopeful that it will happen someday soon.
The overall goal is to rid society of AIDS and eliminate the suffering caused by the syndrome. Biomedical research and public health practices have provided a new prevention “tool kit” that is said to help move toward the elimination of new infections. When the transmission of HIV was understood, the public health messages were limited to promote condom usage.
Today even expectant mothers with HIV can eliminate the risk of transferring the infection to their newborns. The mothers are able to do so with the proper use of anti-retroviral medicines. These medicines will lower the HIV burden to very low levels. It has been said that between a heterosexual couple, in which only one of the partners is infected, early treatment of the infected partner has been proven to lower the HIV transmission by 96 percent.
People who are at risk to becoming infected are able to protect themselves by using a pre-exposure prophylaxis. If the individual takes a daily anti-retroviral pill to prevent infection, it is almost guaranteed they will not catch it. A second strategy to prevent HIV/AIDS is circumcision. A study has shown that circumcised men maintained lower rates of HIV than those that were uncircumcised. There have been demonstrations that studied adult male circumcisions that resulted in a reduced risk of infection by 50-75 percent.
The stereotypes in today’s society concerning HIV/AIDS will be addressed. In the U.S. alone, some find it socially unacceptable to have HIV/AIDS. There will soon be a new understanding of the cultural barriers including care, stigma and discrimination. Society is not only working on the elimination of the virus, but the elimination of discrimination as well. In 76 countries homosexuality is illegal and is highly stigmatized in others.
The present prevention methods that will help lower the rates of new infections must be sustained with generations to come. Even if the efforts dramatically reduce new infections, the global AIDS response must continue addressing the needs of 35.3 million individuals who already live with HIV/AIDS.
People are striving for an AIDS free reality and will stop at nothing until they reach their goal. The goal to maintain an AIDS free world will not happen overnight and will take strenuous determination. The efforts people make now are building blocks that will eventually rid the world of AIDS and maintain a discrimination free society.
By Anjulina MaComber