30 November, 2021
Ever since HIV was discovered by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnieri in 1983,we have come a long way in the understanding of this disease with respect to course of illness,diagnostics,treatment options and monitoring.However huge disparity still exists with respect to the reach of the benefits gained by the constant cutting edge research to the affected groups. Economic, socio-demographic,perceptual and even human rights inequalities have been some of the reasons contributing to this less than ideal scenario as far as universal optimal treatment of HIV-AIDS is concerned. Hence the theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is “End inequalities. End AIDS”. With a special focus on reaching people left behind, WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.
Misinformation and a variety of myths about HIV-AIDS have also contributed to the suboptimal acceptance of treatment among the target groups .I would like to address a few commonly held myths.
|HIV can spread by hugs, kisses, and sharing common plates||HIV mainly spreads by unprotected sex with an infected partner, HIV contaminated needle or sharp injury, receipt of blood or blood products from an infected donor & from an infected mother to child|
|Medicines used for HIV have a lot of side effects||Most recently used drugs a very well tolerated and barely have any side effects|
|One can wait for long periods before starting treatment after being diagnosed with HIV||While this was practiced not till very long ago, very robust evidence has shown the maximum benefit in starting the treatment at the earliest.|
|An infected mother transmitting the virus to the newborn cannot be prevented.||With expert care during the antepartum and peripartum periods, the transmission risk to the baby can be decreased to almost zero.|
|HIV treatment is lifelong||Well, this is true for now, but extensive research is in place to find a definitive cure. Until then, yes it is very important to take drugs without skipping doses.|
A compassionate approach towards all HIV patients is the most potent medicine one could offer and we invite all readers to approach them with the same and by doing so we could fill them with FAITH, HOPE & LOVE…the greatest of them being LOVE.
MBBS, MD – Internal Medicine, DTM&H-RCP (London)
Consultant in Tropical Medicine & Infectious Disease
Category: Tropical Medicine