Category: HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS Virus Becoming Drug Resistant

The last thing anyone would probably want to hear would be that the HIV/AIDS virus was actually mutating and becoming more drug resistant. Although it is sadly true, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) says that it isn’t actually as bad as had been initially feared. Studies conducted from 2003 to 2010, and in over 20 countries, have shown that HIV drug resistance is still at a low 3.7%.

What is it?
The HIV/AIDS virus has increasingly been found to be able to withstand the effects of drugs that are used in antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens. This in turn means that the virus continues to reproduce even when the drugs have been administered. This is known as HIV drugs resistance.

What is the Cause?
Some of the very few causes of the drugs resistance are the lack of knowledge among patients and health workers, inability of the patients to strictly adhere to the ART treatment regimens, drugs being out of stock and lack of treatment monitoring by health officers.

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The Impact of HIV On Pregnant Women

Across the world, HIV is a disease that is infecting an increasing amount of people annually.  Pregnant women are no exception to this escalation, and it is clear that too many pregnant women are HIV positive.  For example, in 2009 roughly 29 percent of pregnant women in South Africa were living with HIV.  Sadly, years later this statistic has not changed considerably1.

We can easily take for granted the chance we have to live healthy, comfortable lives. Could you imagine feeling constantly tired, having chronic diarrhea, and suffering from constant rashes all over your body?  These are just a select few of the many symptoms of HIV/AIDS.  In many parts of Africa, where medication is not readily available, HIV positive women live very difficult lives.  They suffer from deteriorating health, damaged family relationships, and even discrimination from their neighbours2.  The more people that are found to be HIV positive, the greater the strain that is placed on the health care system.

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The Silent Status of HIV Positive Women in the Doctor’s Office

Several recent studies have indicated many HIV positive women never discuss issues concerning their HIV status. More specifically, these women rarely discuss the options and practices affiliated with HIV management during pregnancy.  This often occurs because clinicians assume patient inquiries are covered by other professionals or they are not fully comfortable discussing these matters with women.

Certain facts should be noted on women who are found positive with HIV; not only do they suffer higher rates of depression than men who are HIV positive, but the infection as well as the antiretroviral therapy affect women differently than their gender counterparts. To add, rates of mother-to-child transmission are now less than two percent in the US when using medication coupled with caesarean sections and avoidance of breastfeeding. More women may consider pregnancy and childbirth with such encouraging statistics.

One of the few studies that have analyzed the gender specific health concerns of HIV positive women surveyed 700 from the US in order to better understand the lack of communication and discussion between these women and their personal clinicians. The conclusions from the survey shed light on this particular subject matter: Read More

HIV in Indonesia: Women and Girls Persevere through Challenging Conditions

It is most often [girls] who are removed first.  This is both to save resources spent on schooling, as well as utilize the girl child for labour – Clifton Cortez, health and development practice leader at UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre.

The number of reported HIV cases in Indonesia has more than tripled in these past few years and caused a decrease in productivity while trapping affected families in a life of daunting poverty. Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam were all used for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) report – all countries suffered the same results that affect HIV-affected households, which include significant drops in income, savings, assets, and ability to buy protein-rich food. The report shows the difference between families that are free of HIV, as the households that are HIV-affected were found to be more than 38% more likely to live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 for each person per day – and over a quarter of these households reported having to sell the already scarce personal belongings in order to foot the bill for medical costs.

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HIV/AIDS – Coming to a Corporate Boardroom near You

The scariest part of an epidemic is that it can easily cripple the economy of a country. The impact of an epidemic disease affects each and every single citizen, whether healthy or infected. This makes it very important that society, as one, should stand up and fight the disease. If not, like water down a drain, it slowly spreads to touch everyone in the society as it comes down.

But the fear that we feel should not be of the type that is so deep-seated that it leaves us debilitated. On the contrary, now is the time where everyone that is part of the society must roll up their sleeves and try to bring a change. This is even truer in the case of big businesses, both local and multinational companies, if they actually want to continue staying in business. Today, most of the people living with HIV/AIDS are in the 25 to 45 age group. These people are at the age where they are most productive and thus vital for the upward mobility and stimulation of a country’s economy. When they become unable to work due to complications caused by the disease, it makes it impossible for businesses to find the workforce needed to power their development. Read More

Human Trafficking and HIV/AIDS – Double Jeopardy

Human trafficking is defined as the illegal transportation of people from one country to another. The victims are, more often than not, young girls or women who have either been forcefully coerced or deceived by promises of a better life and/or income. While human trafficking is a global phenomenon, it is more widespread in the developing countries of Africa and Asia.

As if being the victim of human trafficking is not enough hell for the victims, they are finding themselves pushed into its furthest corner by simultaneously being exposed to the scourge of HIV/AIDS. This is because the harsh reality that awaits the women once they reach their destinations (or are abandoned midway there) is one that is filled with the savagery of sexual harassment, rape and being forced into either working long hours for little to no pay, or worse: slaving away in the commercial sex industry.

Many of the trafficked women end up in refugee camps. What should be a place of sanctuary usually opens the door to another level of misery. If they are not raped by men in or outside the camp, they fall victim to the same authorities that are supposed to protect them. While it is quite obvious that the exposure to HIV/AIDS is very high once they have reached their, albeit unintended destinations, it is not limited to just that one ordeal. Read More

Our Kids Are Our Future – Let’s Give Them A Fighting Chance

In this world of wars and economic crisis it is easy to think that we have it really bad. We might think that our woes are the worst; and we might even think that just because we’ve lost our jobs the world is coming crashing down on us. Those of us with offspring to nourish and nurture will think that we are failed parents and go on to paint a gloomy future for our children.

Yes, that is not a good thing for our children to have to live through. And yes, no parent would want to live a life where his or her child had to suffer for lack of a square meal, a roof overhead or an education to get ahead in life. A parent faced with these obstacles in life, caused by matters he or she cannot control, would find it hard to excuse him- or herself. And yet, there is one big obstacle that is put in children’s lives before they are even born, giving them an unfair start to life: they are continuing to be infected with HIV/AIDS, usually transmitted from their mothers.

The deadliest weapon HIV/AIDS has  Read More

Study Reveals HIV-Positive Women Uneasy in the Consulting Room

When people go to see a doctor it is usually to seek help and advice. To find that help, patients overcome some of their fears and pour out their hearts. They never give it a second thought knowing that what is said in the doctors’ office should stay there under the doctor-patient confidentiality. These are based on the fact that doctors should maintain a professional and highly ethical rapport with their patients, uphold their dignity and respect their privacy.

Yet sadly, when it comes to women living with HIV, things aren’t so peachy. Results from a study indicate that many of them do not discuss issues pertaining to their HIV status and important issues like HIV management before or after pregnancy1. Apparently, clinicians have a lack of experience, comfort or knowledge when it came to discussing gender based matters. In the cases that this wasn’t true it was found that the attending clinicians expected these matters to be dealt with by other physicians. Read More

Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV: Development of Infant Drug Resistance

In September of 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations held the Millennium Summit to adopt an “Earth Charter” and a “Declaration” that would lead to global governance.  The summit focused on the role of the United Nations in the 21st century; in particular, the UN’s role in pulling over one billion people out of extreme poverty, halting the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and protecting the global environment.  With 150 heads of state in attendance, it was the largest gathering of world leaders in history as of 2000; the outcome of this summit was eight international development objectives known as the UN Millennium Goals.  Two of these goals expressed an intention by the year 2015 to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS1 and to reduce by 66% the infant mortality rate 2.

Using a class of pharmaceutical drugs known as anti-retrovirals (ARVs), great strides have been made toward achieving these UN Millennium Goals.  However, each year approximately 300,000 infants still contract HIV/AIDS 3.  Almost all of these HIV+ infants are infected through mother-to-child transmission, and in the absence of treatment,  half will die before the age of two.  Using ARV therapy, the total rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) can be reduced to between two and five percent (without treatment, rates are between 20-45%) 4.   Read More

Fighting HIV/AIDS – From A Different Angle


New study reveals that people living with HIV can reduce the risk of transmission by up to 96%

The conventional method of fighting HIV/AIDS has mostly been from a ‘prevention is better than cure’ perspective. Whole health policies, in almost all countries in the world, have been drafted and implemented to concentrate on preventing HIV infection– until now.

New findings have been revealed that indicate that the chances of sexually transmitting the HIV virus to a healthy partner can be reduced by almost 96% if the infected partner strictly follows an early anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs regimen1. This is a unique and very effective way of fighting HIV/AIDS. Methods like abstinence, being faithful and using a condom (together known as the ‘ABC’ methods) have been used in the past to curb the disease before it infects more people. But now even infected people can help in the fight. Read More

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