Which statements about msds are wrong

Right or wrong? 7 myths about HIV / AIDS that are still believed to be true.

Doctors Without Borders publishes the report "Out of Focus" today: In the global fight against HIV and AIDS, numerous countries in West and Central Africa must no longer be neglected. More than a quarter of the people who died of the consequences of HIV and AIDS worldwide in 2014 came from these countries. And almost half of all children born with HIV worldwide are born in West and Central Africa.

Despite this terrifying reality, HIV / AIDS myths and rumors persist. Find out which of these are true or false here:

1. HIV is a death sentence.


HIV / AIDS is the deadliest pandemic in recent history: it has so far claimed twice as many lives as the Second World War. But the progress that has been made in the fight against the disease in just 30 years is spectacular. Today, someone with HIV who takes antiretroviral drugs on a daily basis has very little risk of developing AIDS - and can lead a long and fulfilling life.

... but unfortunately RIGHT for everyone who does not have access to medication.

Because if you are unlucky you live in a place where there is hardly any access to life-saving, antiretroviral drugs. More than 75% of all people with HIV living in West and Central Africa are not receiving antiretroviral treatment. All of these 5 million people are therefore doomed to suffer slow, painful, and unnecessary deaths. The situation is even worse for the approximately 730,000 HIV-positive children in the region: 90% of them have no access to these drugs. Therefore, steps are urgently needed to change this situation.

2. HIV mainly affects homosexual men.


This statement may be true for Western countries, but not for the whole world. In truth, the global "face" of HIV is a young woman: 59% of all people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. In South Africa, girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are at eight times more likely to become infected with HIV than their male counterparts.

Correct is…

... that men who have sex with men are more severely affected by the pandemic. The same applies to sex workers and drug addicts who inject substances into themselves. That is why the United Nations (UN) plan in the fight against HIV / AIDS is increasingly focusing on these high-risk groups.

Yet despite everything, 45% of all children born with the virus are born in West and Central Africa. Why? Because their mothers didn't have access to treatment.

3. You cannot give birth to a healthy baby if you are HIV positive yourself.


An HIV-positive pregnant woman who is optimally treated with antiretroviral drugs has less than a 2% risk of transmitting the virus to her child. This is fantastic news: thanks to antiretroviral drugs, the number of children born with the virus worldwide has been reduced by 60% since 2000. Last year, even Cuba became the first country in the world to declare that mother-to-child transmission of HIV could be completely eliminated.

But this victory is also directly related to the availability of antiretroviral drugs. In West and Central Africa, only 39% of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving treatment. That is why the number of children born with the virus is so above average in this region: While 17.9% of all those infected with HIV worldwide live in West and Central Africa, almost half come in the region of all children born HIV-positive.

All of these babies are born with a disease that could have been prevented. And it is particularly dramatic because 90% of HIV-positive children in this region also do not have access to pediatric HIV treatment. Without treatment, a third of children affected by HIV will not see their first birthday; half will not celebrate their second birthday and only one in five children will celebrate their fifth birthday.

Learn more: Innovative Approach to Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV / AIDS

4. Using condoms is the only way to avoid infecting sexual partners or becoming infected with HIV yourself.


Of course, using condoms is a very effective way to prevent HIV infection. But it's not the only way.

Studies show that best treatment with antiretroviral drugs reduces the risk of transmitting the virus in couples, one of whom is HIV positive, by 96%. New drugs enable even HIV-negative people to protect themselves from infection.

Promoting condom use is an important tool in the fight against HIV. But people need to be able to choose from a combination of preventive tools that best suit their situation. Providing antiretroviral drug treatment to everyone is key to bringing the HIV / AIDS pandemic under control. It is therefore a huge problem that so few people - fewer than one in four people with HIV - in West and Central Africa have access to treatment. If everyone who needs treatment cannot get it everywhere, the chances of containing the global pandemic are very slim. Therefore calls Doctors Without Borders a rapid, ambitious catch-up plan for countries where few people have access to antiretroviral treatment.

5. The more people affected by HIV in a country, the more AIDS deaths.


South Africa is by far the country with the largest number of people living with HIV (6.8 million people) and AIDS is still taking a staggering toll, killing around 140,000 each year. Yet despite these painful losses, the number is below the death rate in Nigeria, which is home to half as many HIV-positive people. Why? The answer is again very simple: the Nigerian population has much more limited access to antiretroviral treatment (only 22%) than the people of South Africa (45%)!

The situation is very similar in Guinea: In 2014 there were roughly the same number of AIDS deaths (3,800) as in Swaziland (3,500) - but twice as many people live with HIV in Swaziland (210,000) than in Guinea (120,000)! The country has the world's highest spread of HIV among adults: 27.7% of the population live with the virus.

In summary, it can be said that wherever antiretroviral drugs are not widely available, people are more likely than average to suffer from HIV / AIDS and die from it.

6. The fewer people with HIV in a country, the easier it is to take action against the disease.


Logically, one could assume that the Democratic Republic of the Congo - where “only” 1.2% of the population lives with HIV - has an easier time providing antiretroviral treatment than Malawi. After all, both countries are relatively easy to compare on paper, for example in terms of per capita income (according to the World Bank, 182 and 182) or the development index (174 and 186). But despite this, Malawi has managed to treat 50% of the population with HIV with antiretroviral drugs. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, however, it is less than 25%.

That does not make sense? Well, there are a couple of explanations: If, like in the DR Congo, HIV is no longer so visible on the social, media and political agenda, it is drowned out among the many other health topics. That is understandable. But it is less understandable why international actors continue to ignore countries with low HIV prevalence such as in West and Central Africa.

7. Only rich, stable countries can provide lifelong, daily treatment.


This point also seems to make logical sense - after all, even the health systems in rich countries are already under great pressure to provide appropriate treatment for a growing number of people with chronic diseases: diabetes, obesity, ... And that in comparison to the situation in one A country like Malawi, which has to ensure daily HIV treatment for 10% of its adult population - although the country has six times fewer health workers than the World Health Organization recommends as a minimum standard.
Indeed, the most remarkable progress against HIV / AIDS has been made in resource-poor countries. The introduction of antiretroviral drugs in the 2000s was the most important factor in increasing life expectancy in South Africa.

We have to act now!

Doctors Without Borders was able to gain a lot of experience over the years on how to enable treatment for HIV-infected people in conflict regions - for example in Yemen or in the Central African Republic. This prevents people from becoming victims of war and their HIV status at the same time. Continuous treatment is imperative even in the most challenging, unsafe areas.

Just because a country has limited resources, or the situation is complicated or unsafe, doesn't mean that people living with HIV can't get antiretroviral drugs.

It is absolutely essential that none of us, nowhere in the world, forget the most neglected victims of HIV / AIDS. Therefore calls Doctors Without Borders Encourage donor countries, affected governments and the United Nations to develop and implement a speedy catch-up plan so that life-saving antiretroviral treatment can be ramped up in countries where it reaches less than a third of the population - particularly in West and Central Africa.

It is time.

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