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Expert Blog: HIV Prevention- Ending The HIV Epidemic Together

Treating HIV positive individuals lowers the amount of virus in their bodies and this reduces their risk of transmitting it to their sexual partners by a dramatic 96 per cent

Expert Blog: HIV Prevention- Ending The HIV Epidemic Together

It has been almost 35 years that mankind has been battling with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). The last two decades have seen game-changing developments both in HIV management and prevention. The advent of newer antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment brought in extremely effective, safe and convenient ‘once-daily single tablet’ regimens. This, along with affordable treatment costs, did transform HIV from a deadly disease to a chronic manageable condition just like diabetes or hypertension.

Watch: HIV Cases In India Reduced By 38 Per Cent: Global AIDS Report 2020

As of 2019, India has 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS and our country alone sees around 88,000 new cases annually. In 2015, UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) set a global goal to “end AIDS as a public health threat” by 2030 and for this it has a shared vision of zero new HIV infections.

While India was very quick on adopting all the developments in HIV treatment, we have not kept pace with the scientific developments in HIV prevention. The only HIV prevention modes that continue to be known are ABC i.e. Abstinence, Be faithful (have just one partner) and Condoms. While the first two just highlight the hypocrisy in our society, it was only condom usage that played the main role in bringing down our numbers in new infections over the last 25 years. Today, we have more tools to effectively prevent HIV than ever before. Since no single tool offers complete protection or is right for every person, a combination of the below methods is needed to help reduce HIV transmission.

Using antiretroviral medications (that are otherwise used to treat HIV) for HIV prevention:

1. Treatment As Prevention (TasP) For People with HIV: Treating HIV positive individuals lowers the amount of virus in their bodies and this reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners by a dramatic 96 per cent. This is why it is important to expand and encourage HIV testing so that people who are infected with HIV can quickly be linked to care and can begin treatment before they transmit the disease to others.

2. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): It is a four week course of antiretroviral medications given to individuals within 72 hours of exposure to HIV. PEP has always been used for professional exposure in doctors and nurses after an accidental injury with an infected needle. But sexually active individuals should also be aware that PEP can reduce the risk of HIV transmission after exposure to an HIV infected person or a person whose HIV status is unknown to them.

Also Read: World AIDS Day 2020: A Look At How HIV-AIDS Has Been Impacting The World

3. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): People who are not infected with HIV but who have an HIV infected or multiple sexual partners can take a daily dose of antiretroviral medication to lower their risk of acquiring HIV through their sexual activity by more than 90 per cent – or from injection drug use by more than 70 per cent. The level of protection is strongly dependent on how well the person adheres to the daily regimen. Use of PrEP has been very successful in many countries of Africa, America and Australia. And although PrEP is a game-changer in HIV prevention, PrEP users should know that it does not protect them from other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy and therefore PrEP is an additional tool and not a replacement to condoms.

Restrengthening The Awareness On Condoms

The age of sexual debut has gone down over the last few years and studies in India have shown that this could be as low as 16 years. It has been seen that young people often attribute condom usage only to sex with a commercial sex worker not realizing that casual sex with friends or individuals they meet on dating apps is equally risky. Moreover, it has also been seen that condom usage is lower in homosexual relationships. While condoms are highly effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV – they need to be accessible and be used consistently and correctly.

Screening and Treatment of Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may reduce risk for HIV transmission because STIs increase an individual’s risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV, and STI treatment may reduce HIV viral load.

Staying HIV-free is a right. And now, more than ever, we can end new HIV infections so that together we can end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Also Read: Adolescent Sexual Health: Parents, Teachers Need To Break The Cycle Of Silence Around Sex And Sexuality, Say Experts

(Dr Trupti Gilada is an Infectious Disease Specialist at Masina Hospital, Mumbai)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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