HIV / AIDS – AN ENEMY WITHIN
Hats off to his Excellency, President Barrack Obama of USA who made a private commitment to himself to eradicate this killer disease in India that saved tens of thousands in India from the clutches of death.
It was Rock Hudson, (the first victim to AIDS), one of the highly paid Hollywood’s action-packed heroes who succumbed to this Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) known as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), a dreaded disease -an enemy within – in the 80s. This disease was discovered only after his untimely death!
First, there was no medicine to combat AIDS. Later, the medical science fraternity worked at it and found a remedy. Meanwhile, Aids had claimed many thousands of lives in India and abroad.
A study says that ‘Antiretroviral’ treatment had cut down the transmission of HIV by 96 percent. As a result, it declined 50 percent in between 2000 and 2009. Of late, (US) President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) ably helping and guiding the National AIDS Control Programme and addressing areas like HIV prevention & treatment, strengthening the health systems, helpline, group insurance, drop-in centers, national policy on gender, migration and the affected children due to transmission from parents, HIV counseling, and other strategies.
Despite its hard economic times, that the USA is reaching out to help India to turn the tide as mooted by Obama, is praise-worthy. With science as the road map, the on-going war against AIDS continues.
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, a 3 day conference on AIDS began on Jan. 20, 2012, known as, “HIV Science 2012”, discussed many intricacies like HIV epidemiology, immune response to infection, disease progression, TB and viral hepatitis, in addition to key infectious diseases, too.
On the first day of this conference, the experts advised the patients not to stop the treatment immediately after the cure as it would create resistance strains of virus. Preventing is equally complicated as treatment. The thing is to identify and test the positive, first, before embarking on the journey of treatment.
These experts, who had visited many countries, studied and treated the patients there, would submit papers pertaining to their observations. What mattered most was that, to raise awareness about it in every nook and cranny in the globe. It is time that India opened many avenues to render treatment to this disease.
Every case referred to, is studied deeply, first, to assess the nature of this illness. Of the numerous tests carried out, screening test in a laboratory and then explanatory screen and so on. For this purpose, all arrangements have been made in the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Laboratory in New York and other major cities.
Now, the numbers of AIDS cases are fast declining all over the world. However, meeting the challenges of this disease, there are certain aspects that require immediate focus. It needs commitments from all levels, including the government of the affected countries, donor government, civil societies, voluntary and faith-based organizations and private sectors as well.
About doctors, Jonathan Swift had said, “The best doctors in the world are doctor diet, doctor quiet and doctor merry man.”