The AIDS Awareness Month of December provides an opportunity for doctors, patients and public health experts to discuss the implications of an illness that afflicts millions around the globe. Frustratingly, research has yet to find a definitive cure for HIV; and the infection poses a daunting challenge to its victims along with the doctors who endeavor to treat it. However, a therapy that launched in 1996 has markedly improved the quality of life for AIDS patients. The discussion below gives a snapshot of the current prevalence and treatment of HIV.
AIDS.gov reports that 1.2 million Americans have HIV, but 12.8 percent are unaware of it. While the number of people diagnosed with the illness has risen over the past ten years, the yearly number of new cases remains approximately the same. Since many may be undiagnosed, those who suspect they are infected should ask their doctor to test them.
When the AIDS epidemic started in the 1980s, the life expectancy of those diagnosed was a few years at the most. The advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has given AIDS patients more years of life because of the following four benefits:
• Prevents the virus from growing inside the body • Increases longevity of immune cells • Reduces the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others • Decreases the risk of contracting an illness unrelated to HIV
Per the World Health Organization (WHO):
“Expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in a stark reduction of AIDS-related deaths. At the same time, increasingly effective prevention efforts have reduced numbers of new HIV infections. Since the epidemic’s peak in 2004, the number of – deaths has fallen by 42% with some 7.8 million lives being saved over the last 15 years, according to a new WHO report. The number of new infections has fallen by 35% since the turn of the century.
Over the last 15 years, scale-up of ART has been most dramatic in the WHO African Region where now more than 11 million people are receiving HIV treatment, up from 11 000 at the turn of the century. People living with HIV in Africa are now more likely to receive treatment than people living in most other parts of the world. Globally, in June 2015 close to 16 million people out of a total of 37 million people living with HIV were taking ART.”
Although ART doesn’t cure HIV, it suppresses the symptoms. Despite its advantages, the therapy has side effects as well as a high cost. A solution of using ART periodically gives the patient’s body a break and cuts the expense.
New medical therapies can be a double-edged sword. Consider the frustrating case of compounding pharmacies: Why Are Compounding Pharmacies So Dangerous?
Our D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can help you and your family understand your potential options to seek compensation. Call us today for a free consultation.