AIDS and HIV, as we all know, are constant health concerns in our society. HIV Vaccine Awareness Day raises awareness of the ongoing need for a vaccine every year. Every year on May 18, it is held. It raises awareness of the need for a vaccine and honors those who work toward it. On this painful day, all those who assist infection sufferers are praised.
History: World AIDS vaccine day
US President Bill Clinton gave a speech on May 18, 1997, at Morgan State University in Maryland, known as the World AIDS Vaccine Days. He said, “only an effective, preventive HIV vaccine can diminish the threat of AIDS.”
People commemorated the first anniversary of Clinton’s speech on May 18, the following year. Since then, the annual custom has spread around the world.
Symptoms of HIV
HIV symptoms differ according to the stage of infection. However, people living with HIV are most infectious in the first few months. Following illness, many do not realize they are infected until later. For example, people may have no symptoms or an influenza-like sickness in the first few weeks, such as fever, headache, rash, or sore throat.
They may develop other signs and symptoms when the virus impairs their immune system, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea, and cough. Besides, severe illnesses like TB, cryptococcal meningitis, and severe bacterial infections. It leads to malignancies like lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma if they don’t get treatment.
HIV is spread by exchanging body fluids such as blood, breast milk, sperm, and vaginal secretions. HIV can be passed from a mother to her kid during pregnancy and delivery.
It’s vital to remember that HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who are suppressed do not spread it to their partners. Therefore, early access to antiretroviral therapy and encouragement to stay on it is crucial for improvement. It is vital for HIV patients’ health and for preventing HIV transmission.
HIV can be detected with quick diagnostic tests that offer results on the same day. It makes early diagnosis and linking to treatment and care much more manageable. HIV self-tests are also available for people to use. But, no test can offer a complete diagnosis. Therefore, confirmatory testing by certified and trained health or community worker is essential.
Within 28 days of infection, most people have antibodies to HIV. After that, people go through the so-called window period. Yet, they can still transmit HIV to others. For example, an individual may transmit HIV to a sexual or drug-sharing partner. Also, a pregnant woman’s infant during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
While HIV testing has become efficient for adolescents and adults. It is not the situation for newborns born to HIV-positive mothers. Serological testing is insufficient to detect HIV infection in infants under 18 months. Virological testing should begin at birth or six weeks of age.
New technologies are now available to perform this test at the point of care and provide same-day findings. In addition, they allow faster treatment and care coordination.
HIV risks can be lowered by reducing their exposure to risk factors, including:
Treatment regimens consist of three or more ARV medicines to manage HIV illness. Unfortunately, antiretroviral therapy (ART) does not cure HIV infection. Still, it reduces viral replication in the body and helps the immune system improve.
By June 2021, 187 nations had ratified the recommendation. It represents 99 percent of all HIV-positive persons worldwide. Besides, WHO recommends individuals with HIV receive quick ART initiation. That includes ART on the same day as a diagnosis for those ready to begin treatment.
In 2021, 28.2 million persons living with HIV were on antiretroviral therapy (ART). In 2020, global ART coverage was 73 percent [56–88 percent]. Yet, more efforts, particularly for children and adolescents, are needed to scale treatment. For example, at the end of 2020, only 54% [37–69%] of youngsters (0–14 years old] were receiving ART.