by Kandee Degraw
HIV and AIDS in 2018: 25 Things Accomplished & 25 Things To Do
25 THINGS WE HAVE DONE
1. ELISA Test — The most commonly used HIV test is used to detect antibodies in the blood.
2. Home Tests — Approved by the FDA and are now sold over the counter in pharmacies.
3. Saliva Tests — A cotton pad is used to obtain saliva with results available in three days.
4. Rapid testing — Uses a cheek swab or a finger prick, and gets results in under twenty minutes.
5. Viral Load Test — This test is used effectively to detect early HIV infection.
LOWER TRANSMISSION RATES
6. With a simple medical intervention of antiretroviral medications, mother-to-child transmission rates have been reduced to below 5% worldwide.
7. The WHO certifies that Cuba is the first nation to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis.
8. In industrialized countries, the transmission of HIV infection by blood transfusion is almost zero.
9. HIV rates among injection drug users have dropped dramatically due to improved education and the availability of syringe exchange programs.
10. New infections among adults in the U.S. are estimated to have declined by 15% for the general population in the last 7 years.
11. Treating people with HIV lowers the amount of virus in their bodies and can dramatically reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to others. Undetectable=Untransmittable
12. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) allows people who are not infected with HIV to take a daily dose of medication to lower their risk of acquiring HIV - and it works!
13. Condoms are now an accepted part of sex and sexuality in the U.S.
14. Most Americans know about HIV and AIDS and how to protect themselves appropriately.
15. Legalized needle exchanges are now more common than ever. These programs provide sterile injection equipment and serve as a link to other important public health services.
PUBLIC POLICY CREATED
16. The Hope Act of 1988: the first comprehensive federal AIDS legislation.
17. The Ryan White CARE Act of 1990: provides support to hard-hit states and communities and remains a primary source of federal funding for HIV/AIDS services and care today.
18. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990: protects people with HIV and AIDS.
19. PEPFAR (2003): the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief provides funding to the countries hardest hit by the epidemic.
20. December 21st, 2015: Congress gave states the opportunity to use federal funds to support certain components of syringe exchange programs.
QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVED
21. Early medical intervention after HIV is detected reduces the chances of death or life changing illness.
22. Medications are easier to take now. A lot of people with HIV take just one pill once a day.
23. People living with HIV no longer run the risk of having a medication fail with a single missed dose.
24. Drugs have fewer side effects. HIV treatment is much safer and easier to tolerate than it used to be.
25. People living with HIV can live long and healthy lives without progression into AIDS.
25 THINGS TO DO
1. Get tested regularly. In the U.S., 1 in 8 people are living with HIV and do not know it.
2. Bring your friends.
3. Take your teenage children to get tested.
4. Offer to volunteer with on-site testing at shelters, schools and events.
5. Lead by example and make HIV testing as casual as getting a flu shot.
TALK ABOUT IT
6. Talk about how HIV is transmitted - roughly a quarter of Americans still believe that sharing a drinking glass can transmit HIV!
7. Talk about it with everyone. Certain groups in the U.S. continue to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV so we need to continue the conversation with everybody at risk.
8. Talk about LGBT Issues! Though HIV affects everyone, men who have sex with men and transgender individuals still have higher rates of infection than the general population.
9. Ask your elected officials what they know about HIV and what they plan to do about it. Keep the conversation relevant in politics and funding.
10. Talk about it with your parents. People aged 50 and over accounted for 17% of HIV diagnoses in 2015 in the United States.
11. Raise Money – Global funding for HIV/AIDS programs has plummeted in the past 10 years. To keep the successes going, funding has to come from somewhere. We have the tools to end this epidemic; we do not have the funding.
13. Get your local, county, state and federal officials to fund programs, research and education.
14. Encourage needle exchanges, patient care and outreach in your community.
15. Vote for people who support HIV/AIDS funding and research. If you don’t know, ask them, often.
16. Don't have unprotected sex.
17. Discuss your HIV risk and status with all sexual partners.
18. Get tested, regularly. Without a test, HIV can go undetected for years.
19. Learn about PrEP. If you are at risk for HIV, it may save your life.
20. If you inject drugs, only use clean needles and works, and never share.
21. Know the facts. Educate yourself about HIV and AIDS.
22. Be aware of your attitudes and behavior. We've all grown up with prejudices but we can overcome them.
23. Choose your words carefully.
24. Educate others and talk openly about the issues.
25. Speak up when you hear ignorant comments.