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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Epidemiological Data and Interventions related to AIDS

AIDS which is an acronym for ‘Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome’ is the deadliest disease to hit the mankind in its history (Cecil, 1988). It is caused by HIV (humanimmunodeficiency virus) which is transmitted through bloodstream with fluids of body containing HIV like breast milk, blood, semen, preseminal fluid, vaginal fluid and semen or through mucous membrane’s direct contact(Appay& Sauce,2008; Eaton& Kalichman,2007). While all other diseases have specific characteristics and can therefore be treated by developing a suitable medicine for treatment, AIDS hits at the very immune system of a person making him/her vulnerable and defenseless for any disease to attack. That is the reason behind a suitable medicine not being developed so far as an antidote to AIDS.
AIDS is pandemic and omnipresent (Kallings, 2008). According to the latest statistics made available by UNAIDS, the victims of AIDS were 33.2 millions worldwide in 2007.The casualties due to AIDS that year were estimated at 2.1 million people of which 330,000 were children.The total number of AIDS victims has been estimated by UNAIDS to have reached 60 millions. 76% of those deaths in the year 2007 were reported to have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa consisting of all Arab nations, South of Sahara desert (Mcallister,Travis,Bollinger,Rutiser & Sundar,2008; UNAIDS, WHO ,2007).
Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected by AIDS. In 2007, it contributed 68% to the total of AIDS-affected people and 76% to AIDS-infected deaths. One important difference between this region and other regions is that this region has the highest number of women victims of AIDS at 61% .AIDS was the single largest mortality-causing disease in this region(UNAIDS, WHO ,2007; Epstein, 2007).
Countrywide, South Africa has the largest AIDS population with Nigeria and India following South and South East Asia also had high prevalence of AIDS, comprising of 18% of total population and nearly 300,000 casualties due to AIDS. AIDS has drastically affected life expectancy in countries with high incidence. For example in Botswana, life expectancy decreased from 65 years to 35 years due to AIDS deaths (Kallings, 2008).
Inspite of extensive research in the medical field, no direct medicine for treatment of AIDS has been developed so far. The only alternative left for treatment is to slowdown the course of AIDS and HIV. Mortality and morbidity of HIV infection can be controlled by antiretroviral treatment (Gazzard, Balkin & Hill, 2010; Siegfried, Uthman, Rutherford & Siegfried, 2010). But drugs for such treatment are very costly and they are not available in most of the countries. In the absence of a direct and effective treatment, prevention of AIDS is given a lot of importance by educating people about safe sex and other anti-contamination measures of blood-related transmissions.
AIDS is not merely a debilitating disease (Ho-Yen & Chang, 2008), but also carries a lot of social stigma for the patient. Since there is no treatment, Governments are trying their best for prevention of its incidence by educating people about methods of safe sex and other methods relating to prevention of onset of AIDS(Kirby, Laris & Rolleri, 2007). Research has shown that such education has shown positive results. Correct and consistent usage of Latex condoms helps preventing HIV transmission in a highly effective manner (Feldblum, Welsh, & Steiner, 2003; Center for Disease Control, 2002).A possible prevention method is ‘retrocyclin pseudogene’ reactivation which was shown as part of concept study of cells undergoing tissue culture (Venkataraman, Cole, Ruchala , Waring , Lehrer , et al. ,2009).

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