According to the statistics from the United Nations, over 18 million people worldwide receive HIV treatment with 1.2 million more compared to 2015.
Since 1980, AIDS has taken its toll on around 78 million people out of which 35 million died. However, recent research suggests that the mortality rates were almost cut in half in 2015 thanks to medical advances.
More precisely, roughly 1.1 million people died of AIDS in 2015 compared to 2005 when approximatively two million people lost the fight with this devastating condition. Since patients with HIV live longer nowadays, doctors find it hard to prevent the infection from spreading, especially when patients get older because they are more prone to developing other health conditions.
Still, there are some drugs which reduce the HIV levels in the blood to almost zero, meaning that the patient has a lower risk of transmitting the virus. According to Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, although these results are extraordinary, the treatment is fragile too, because HIV patients need constant monitoring.
Many researchers across the world have gathered valuable data about the AIDS epidemic to understand more about this disease. Therefore, they came to the conclusion that people are more vulnerable to AIDS at different points throughout their lives.
By understanding the risk factors, scientists provide the public with various prevention methods at all life stages. For instance, when HIV patients become older, they are more likely to suffer from the side-effects of AIDS treatment, and one of the most important is drug resistance.
Also, they might develop hepatitis C and tuberculosis, which are both life-threatening conditions. It is worth mentioning that tuberculosis is highly contagious too, so the patients must be isolated until they fully recover.
The UNAIDS report underlined the situation of young women living in South Africa who usually contract HIV from infected older men. Therefore, experts stress the importance of prevention among these women in order to stop this epidemic.
Sidibe says that young women in South Africa are three times more likely die of HIV because they are the most exposed to the virus, while they also have little to no access to HIV testing and treatment. If the situation of these women improves, HIV prevalence will significantly drop off by 2020.
Image Source: Static Pulse