There are about two million HIV-positive children under the age of 15 in the United States. most of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The virus can be passed vertically from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. When no preventative measures are implemented, mother-to-child transmission occurs between 15% and 45% of instances. However, the risk can be decreased to 5% or less with treatments such as maternal treatment or preventative antiretroviral medicine administration to the newborn infant.
UNAIDS created a framework dubbed Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS-Free to prevent new HIV infections among children and adolescents and guarantee young people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral medication. This effort aims to accelerate action in the 23 countries that account for Globally, 85 per cent of pregnant women, toddlers, and adolescents are HIV positive.
People in these 23 countries who had a new child get sick between 2010 and 2018 had the number fall from 240,000 to 130,000. Progress has been uneven: In 2018, half of all new infections in children came from just six countries. It is a goal to cut down on the number of new infections that children get each year to under 20,000 by 2020 is still a long way off (Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda).
Living with HIV since birth
The idea of being born with a long-term condition is bad enough, but being born with a disease that society doesn’t want you to talk about because of its taboos is impossible for most people. And In the UK and Ireland, there are about 1,200 or so kids who got HIV from their moms, either when they were in the womb or when they were breastfed.
In the past before Now
babies born to HIV-positive mothers didn’t usually live very long. In the 1980s, medical research came up with a new treatment. This medicine, which was then called “highly active antiretroviral therapy” (HAART) and is now called “art,” changed how people with HIV were cared for.
During the early days, there was no treatment. Doctors who used to run the National Study of HIV during Pregnancy and Childhood said this to People (NSHPC). “The babies used to get sick and die.”
When HAART was put in place, the chances of an HIV-positive mother passing on the virus to their unborn child dropped from 20%-30% to less than 1%. It also meant that HIV-positive babies could live into their teens and even into their 20s and 30s.
There is still a lot of work to be done to make paediatric antiretroviral therapy easier.
Antiretroviral medication has changed the way HIV infection is treated. Today, the majority of persons afflicted can keep their viral load undetectable, live healthy lives, and avoid spreading the infection to others. Infected children, on the other hand, must begin therapy as soon as possible and continue to take the drugs for the rest of their lives.
The issue is that therapy regimens for infants and toddlers are still complex and poorly suited. The tablets are always difficult to swallow, and syrup formulations require refrigeration, which is a luxury not available in many nations. While the drug’s granules may be separated from capsules and given to babies with milk or food, the medicine’s disagreeable taste makes administration challenging, especially in the first few months of life before the baby begins to eat solid foods.
“African culture has a significant impact on the prevalence of HIV among women.”
In Sub-Saharan Africa, women have become the face of HIV and AIDS, accounting for 61 per cent of HIV-positive adults. In Africa, girls and young women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, with 74 per cent of new infections occurring among African adolescent girls in 2013. HIV prevalence among women is heavily influenced by African culture.
Women’s ability to control their health is hampered by expectations about their roles in relationships and at home. Early marriages are still widespread, putting girls in danger of becoming sexually active and contracting HIV at a younger age. When the surgical instrument is not sterilized, female genital mutilation can increase the risk of HIV transmission among females. With over 15.7 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa, orphan girls are more likely to drop out of school to care for their siblings, and they often resort to prostitution due to a lack of specialized skills.
Girls and young women often have less knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and prevented than men.
Many young women drop out of education after becoming pregnant or because their husbands and families expect them to stay at home and care for the family. Girls who drop out of school have a lower chance of receiving complete sex education, which is essential for HIV awareness. There is a general shortage of competent HIV and sex education programs available outside of the classroom. Women have always been the ones who are most at risk of contracting HIV, and men also have a Bigger role to play in lowering HIV prevalence among women. They should defend women against a culture that puts them at higher risk of contracting HIV. Men can also contribute to the reduction of HIV prevalence among women through using protection during sex, practising monogamy, and modifying their attitudes on traditional gender roles for women.
Finding out you have HIV can be a complicated process. However, with proper treatment and support, individuals living with HIV can live long, entire healthy lives.
There are millions of people living with HIV – you are most certainly not alone. The majority of people contract at least one STD during their lives, and having HIV, or another STD is not cause for shame or embarrassment. This does not imply that you are “filthy” or a nasty person.
Being diagnosed with HIV can be quite upsetting. At first, you may feel angry, embarrassed, fearful, or ashamed. However, you will likely feel better with time – having a strong support system and seeking counselling are extremely beneficial. There are a lot of medications available to assist you in maintaining your health, as well as numerous techniques to avoid transmitting HIV to anyone with whom you have intercourse. The reality is that persons living with HIV can engage in sexual activity, have intercourse, and lead normal lives with a few safeguards.
While there is currently no cure for HIV, there are medications that can help people living with HIV live longer and better lives. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a type of HIV treatment that works by reducing the amount of virus in your body (called your viral load). This accomplishes two goals:
- Reduces the impact of HIV on your body, hence keeping you healthy.
- Reduces or even eliminates your risk of transmitting HIV to sexual partners.
- Certain patients on ART have such a low virus load in their bodies that they cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners at all.
- Even if you’re feeling perfectly well right now, schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible to discuss the best strategies to stay healthy.
It’s also critical to look after your emotional wellness. It’s also a good idea to consult with a counsellor or therapist who has been trained to work with persons who have HIV. There are several online and in-person support groups that can give you a safe place to vent your feelings with others who understand.
More information about treatment, counselling and other ways to maintain physical and emotional health can be found at HIV.gov.
It is critical that you inform anyone with whom you are having intercourse that you have HIV. This is not an easy conversation, but it is critical.
What to know about dating while HIV-positive
When people learn about HIV, they may believe their love lives are finished, but this is not the case. HIV-positive people can have satisfying love and sexual relationships. People living with HIV can have relationships with partners who are HIV-negative (serodiscordant) or HIV-positive (concordant) (called seroconcordant). HIV medication keeps you healthy and prevents you from spreading the virus to others. If your partner does not have HIV, they can take a drug called PrEP to help protect them from contracting the disease through sex.
It is critical to inform your sexual partners about your HIV status. As a result, you and your partner will be able to make more educated decisions regarding safer sex, testing, and treatment that are best for you both.
It’s natural to be concerned about your partner’s reaction. And there’s no avoiding the fact that some folks will be terrified. If this occurs, remain cool and discuss your goal to keep healthy as well as how they may remain HIV-free. Allowing your partner some time and space to process could be beneficial. You could also propose that they speak with your HIV doctor about strategies to stay HIV-free.
It’s not okay if you inform someone you have HIV, and they hurt, embarrass, or make you feel horrible. You deserve to be with someone who values and cares about you, and there are plenty of people who will do so.