Though a cure for HIV/AIDS is continually proving elusive, it’s been exciting to see research prove this year that treating HIV+ individuals with ARV drugs provides a strong barrier to transmission of the virus. This article by Richard Knox of NPR details how effective the treatment of HIV is in preventing the spread of the virus. Because of this, President Obama and the US government have committed to increasing funding for ARV medication in the developing world (including East Africa). Many experts in medicine and development are also encouraging a focus on treatment as not only a way to keep those with HIV alive, but a way to eventually eradicate HIV/AIDS!
At CARE for AIDS, we’ve long believed that part of our contribution to HIV prevention is making sure that AIDS ends with every one of our clients. It’s encouraging to know that, by starting and keeping all of our clients on the proper medication, we are making it much less likely that they will pass on the virus to someone else. It’s not always easy to make this happen, though! Many people in poverty struggle to have enough food for the medication to be effective, so the side effects of the medication leave them virtually incapacitated. Knowing this, when they have to choose between feeding their children or themselves, they often choose to go hungry and stop taking the medication.
When we are able to provide them with food and get them started in producing an income, they don’t have to choose between their children’s survival and their own health. Once our counselors teach them how the medication works and why it can keep them alive, they are able to take it properly and experience for themselves what it’s like to live healthily again. The lessons of this past year show that they are protecting their spouses, children, or others from infection at the same time!
Read the full text of the NPR article here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/28/144320653/antiviral-drugs-sparkle-in-the-race-to-end-aids
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