Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

World AIDS Day 2018, "Know your status", celebrates 30th anniversary

World AIDS Day 2018,

Since the start of the epidemic in 1981 about 77.3 million people have become infected with HIV and 35.4 million [25.0 million-49.9 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same period.

The Maine CDC says individuals who don't know their HIV status should get tested, and there are a number of facilities around Maine that provide that service. By 2017, 75% of the people estimated to be living with HIV (28 million out of 37 million) had accessed HIV testing and been diagnosed. And around 5 million people are living with both HIV and viral hepatitis, with most of these people unaware.

The World Health Organization says HIV-positive mothers could pass the virus to their children during breastfeeding.

Despite this progress, however, in Latin America, the rate of new HIV infections remains unchanged at around 100,000 per year - a reduction of just 1 percent since 2010.

Health authorities in ME are encouraging people to use World AIDS Day to learn their status about the disease. Doing so can help people with and at risk of HIV access the care they need - be it for TB, mental health, hepatitis or another disease. Sex workers and their clients, transgender women and people who inject themselves with drugs are also disproportionately affected by HIV. The agency's also reminding people ME that HIV care and prevention have dramatically changed since the discovery of the virus in 1984, and many patients are able to live long lives. PAHO/WHO recommends that health systems expand options for HIV testing to include HIV self-tests and lay provider tests, which can be done at home, as well as in places other than health centres, with flexible hours and same-day results. This is particularly important given that approximately one third of new HIV infections occur among young people aged 15 to 24 years old.

- In sub-Saharan Africa young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men.

2012 - The oral prophylactic drug PrEP is approved for HIV-negative people to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.

On its 30th anniversary, the World AIDS Day campaign reminds us that we should not become complacent in our response to HIV.

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