World AIDS Day

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    In News

    • Every year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day

    About the Day

    • It was first observed in 1988 by WHO. 
    • Aim: To spread awareness about the disease 
    • Theme (2021):  ‘End inequalities. End AIDS’.

    Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) 

    • About:
      • It is a chronic, potentially life-threatening health condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which damages the human immune system.
    • Transmission: 
      • Through direct contact with certain body fluids (blood, semen, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid or breast milk) from a person infected with HIV.
    • Symptoms:
      • Stage 1: Flu-like illness (Fever, chills, rashes, night sweats)
      • Stage 2: Clinical latency (No particular symptoms)
      • Stage 3: AIDS (Weakening of Immune System)
    • Prevention & Treatment: 
      • Prevention is better than cure, using protective techniques, non-contaminated needles & preventing mother to child transmission.
      • Effective antiretroviral treatment (ART) prevents HIV transmission from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. 
      • HIV is treated with antiretroviral therapy consisting of one or more medicines.
      • ART does not cure HIV but reduces its replication in the blood, thereby reducing the viral load to an undetectable level.
      • ART enables people living with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives. It also works as an effective prevention, reducing the risk of onward transmission by 96%.
      • ART should be taken every day throughout the person’s life. People can continue with safe and effective ART if they adhere to their treatment.
      •  In cases when ART becomes ineffective due to reasons such as lost contact with health care providers and drug stock outs, people will need to switch to other medicines to protect their health.
      • Someone who is on antiretroviral therapy and virally suppressed will not pass HIV to their sexual partners.
      • Condoms prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and prophylaxis use antiretroviral medicines to prevent HIV. 
    • HIV Facts & Figures: 
      • AIDS Society of India, India has the third-highest HIV burden with 2.35 million.
      • In 2019, there were 69,220 new HIV infections and 58,960 AIDS-related deaths in India. 
      • UNAIDS Report 2020,  Asia Pacific region saw a 12% decline in new HIV infections and a 29% decline in AIDS-related deaths over the last decade

    Global Efforts 

    •   UNAIDS:
      • The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS  (UNAIDS) is an international organization that is working towards stopping new HIV infections, ensuring that everyone living with HIV has access to HIV treatment, promoting human rights, and producing data for decision-making. 
      • The organization leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. 
    • WHO recommends that every person who may be at risk of HIV should access testing
      • People diagnosed with HIV should be offered and linked to antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible following diagnosis. If taken consistently, this treatment also prevents HIV transmission to others.

    Steps taken by Government of India

    • National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) (Central Sector Scheme) 
    • India has achieved the 6th Millennium Development Goal (MDG 6) of halting and reversing the HIV epidemic.
    • Prevention from Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme
    • HIV/AIDS Act 2017 (prohibits discrimination or unfair treatment of HIV-infected people on any grounds)
    • PALS (PPTCT ART Linkages Software) System (Repository of HIV positive pregnant women)
    • 90:90:90 strategy as adopted by UNAIDS (90% (diagnosed, treatment (by anti-retroviral treatment (ART)) & suppression)) by 2020.
      • Extended by 10 years with the goal post of 95-95-95.
    • Social Awareness through workshops.
    • Viral Load Testing Facilities: They  have been scaled up, and HIV counselling, testing and community-based screening for early diagnosis have been ramped up to achieve the target of Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV. 
    • Project Sunrise: It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2016) to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states. 

    Challenges

    • Removing Social Stigma, human rights violations, social exclusion
    • Inequalities that drive AIDS.
    • Shortage of medicines for HIV like lopinavir/ritonavir. 
    • Dearth of financial resources.

    Way Ahead

    • Action against inequalities to end AIDS by 2030, 
    • Centre and States coordination
    • Involvement of NGOs & enhance budget allocation.

    Source: IE