What are the latest developments in fight against HIV worldwide?

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Numerous developments are taking place in various parts of the world to find new ways to combat the HIV menace. While a number of treatments indicate at a possible cure for the deadly virus that remains incurable till date, attempts are also on to curb its spread in various countries. Governments in various countries along with health organizations including WHO are stepping up efforts to fight spread of AIDS.

In recent times the World Health Organization issued revised and new guidelines to treat HIV infected population. While the new guidelines have received support from a majority of doctors and health experts, there are some experts who think the directive may fall short of target. The missing part is adequate financing by global donors as well as affiliated nations to ensure treatments are available widely. As of now, nearly 34 million people worldwide suffer from this ailment that has no specific cure. A section of them are being given anti retroviral therapy which can only prolong their life by some years but cannot eradicate the virus.

The new guidelines instruct medical professionals to start giving antiviral drugs earlier than what is unusual timing now. As per the new guidelines 26 million people will come under treatment reach. A section of health experts however suggest that irrespective of their CD4 cell count HIV affected persons should be given the therapy. This will bring down the risk of transmitting the deadly virus to a large extent. While a vaccine is a better solution it will still take some more years to develop viable vaccine to cure the syndrome completely.

An AIDS expert from South Africa has said that new WHO guidelines for HIV treatment can act as a distraction to the nation’s current treatment plans. Prof Francois Venter reacted to WHOS’ latest revised guidelines for HIV treatment saying before its implementation, prevalent treatment system needs to be set right. As the South African health system is struggling to meet requirements of the AIDS affected population with shortage of drugs being major problems, implementing new rules seem dubious. Prof Venter said it is important to ensure every affected person has access to life saving drugs.

A big problem in HIV treatment is South Africa is low awareness level of people with HIV about their status. It has been deduced that 5.9 million people in South Africa have HIV positive status. This is what the UNAIDS data indicates. The actual figure can be much higher.

In Australia the government is undertaking a number of efforts to slow down spread of AIDS. Minister for Health and Medical Research Tanya Plibersek along with Mark Dreyfus, the Attorney-General announced availability of new funding for HIV/AIDS Legal provisions. The Australian government will offer 80,000 AU dollars extra to the center in next few years.

In another significant development that can provide new impetus to the fight against HIV epidemic in South Africa, noted actress Charlize Theron threw her weight behind the endeavors. The Academy award winner actor met President Jacob Zuma to discuss several issues on ongoing fight against the killer virus and syndrome triggered by it. The actress is of South African origin and she said in her speech that she is determined to put in efforts to consolidate fight against the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

The ‘Devil’s Advocate’ actor said in her speech the youth of the nation should be aware about the implications of getting afflicted with HIV, without their support and active participation, the country’s population cannot get rid of the health menace. President Zuma welcomed the participation of the actress and said she discussed several important aspects regarding HIV fighting in the nation with him.

Incidentally, the 38 year old actress was made a UN messenger of peace 5 years back and she was representing joint United Nations programmed on HIV/Aids. In last couple of years, the number of HIV affected persons in South Africa has reduced by 1 percent as per UNAIDS estimate. The actress met the president in Union Buildings and had a breakfast meeting with him. The meeting was also attended by Unaids executive director Michel Sidibé and Aaron Motsoaledi, the Health Minister. Theron met the South Africa President in Switzerland earlier this year when she was given WEF Crystal award.

The blonde actress said that she believes under leadership of a person like president Zuma, the nation can usher in future where the threat of HIV will not loom large. She also said that she felt special to do something for people in her homeland. However, she was quick to add that progress has been made to an extent but there is still some way to go. Theron said HIV needs large scale intervention and steady endeavor to be defeated. Removing the obstacles of stigma caused by low awareness in remote parts of the country is another necessity.

The actress has also said that she will make use of her organization, named Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Programme to strengthen fight against Aids pandemic. She said with time new treatments and tools have been unveiled and those can be used to eradicate and reduce onslaught of HIV.  The pretty actress is of the view, those who are not afflicted with HIV should also come forward and join this fight. She concluded saying that people should lend their support irrespective of their race, religion, gender, political ideology and similar issues to win the fight against HIV.

Link:

http://www.health24.com/Medical/HIV-AIDS/News/Experts-cautious-of-new-HIV-treatment-guidelines-20130726

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/opinion/realities-in-global-treatment-of-hiv.html?_r=0

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/health/2013-07/30/c_132586064.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/charlize-theron-aids-south-africa_n_3670431.html

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