As the world comes together on Dec. 1 to represent World AIDS Day in various ways, this day is actually only spotlighting the lack of HIV treatment that those infected are getting. Though data from the United Nations shows that we are slowing in the AIDS pandemic, data collected through other sources also shows that about half of those infected are not receiving proper treatment. As many work to think positively, as the battle against HIV/AIDS continues, the newly collected results are giving them hope that in the years to come more and more people can receive the much needed treatment.
On World AIDS Day many events take place around the world, as people with the disease and people without the disease come together to raise awareness of AIDS and work to give knowledge for the prevention of HIV. These events, marked in red, are symbolized by balloons, ribbons, paintings, and other decorations. The Baltimore Sun highlights these events by posting pictures of them on their website. People from countries like India, Brazil, Africa, Pakistan, Germany, the United States, and others can be seen representing the horrors of the disease. With this year’s theme being “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation” activists are working hard to make Dec. 1 a day to prepare for further prevention of the disease, in the year to come. However, with news spurring everywhere of the lack of treatment, it is hard for people to focus on prevention.
After 2013 data showed that over 35 million people had HIV. Of that number, almost half had been newly affected in that year. Regrettably so, about 1.5 million died of the disease and though that number is far from 35 million, it is still a very large number. Due to these results many have been working on gathering data to determine why large numbers keep getting the disease and dieing from it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that these high numbers are due to the lack of treatment that HIV/AIDS carriers are receiving.
According to sources, the CDC recently released new statements, warranting that in the United States alone, less than half of the people living with HIV are actually getting treatment. Though 14 percent of carriers are unaware they have it, the remaining percentage have a diagnosis but not necessarily a treatment. The CDC says that the gap between those who have HIV and those who are being treated for it is one of the main reasons why HIV continues to spread just in America. According to a representative from the AVAC group early treatment for those who have HIV is the best way to prevent AIDS.
With new research performed for World AIDS Day, spotlights on the lack of HIV treatment show that, though antiretroviral treatments are available across the globe, those infected in the United States are not the only ones with lack of treatment. According to the UN, India is the third largest country with infected citizens, though it accounts for more than half of the AIDS-related deaths. Sources say that the government provides free antiretroviral drugs for those who qualify, but only half of those who qualify to receive the drug are actually getting it.
Though many other countries host people with HIV, the U.S. and India are two of the leading countries in treatment and prevention, though they fall severely short. Sources say that if they can not control and prevent HIV among their citizens, the disease will continue to spread.
Researchers say that the most accurate way to prevent deaths from HIV and new cases of it is to begin the treatment within the first year. This data comes from the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study performed between 1986 and 2010. Since World AIDS Day is themed for prevention this year, comments on this research and other previous research continue to be released. But even though comments on the research continue to be released, the increase of treatment is just not there. This spotlights the lack of HIV treatment, something that World AIDS Day has been working to improve.
If trends continue more people will continue to develop AIDS and die from it. As people around the globe continue to introduce awareness on World AIDS Day, many believe it to be imperative that countries create a plan for prevention and treatment. As research shows, if treatment is not increased the deaths will not decrease.
By Crystal Boulware