Nowadays, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is one of the most serious problems faced by many countries. AIDS is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV). It is considered to be an advance stage of HIV infection. HIV attacks the immune system of an individuals and makes them susceptible to other infections and certain types of cancers (WHO,2019).
HIV was firstly identified in 1981 (HIV.gov,2019). Countries with high prevalence of HIV infection include Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. 27.20% of Swaziland’s population is affected by HIV. 25.00% and 21.90% population of Lesotho and Botswana are affected by HIV respectively (chepkimoi,2019). This is the world’s sixth leading cause of death among young men and women (Glenville,2010). 25 million have died as a result of HIV infection (Todd and Spickett,2010).
People affected by HIV, face problems such as social isolation, lack of family support, unemployment, homelessness, fear of infecting others and depression. Till now no cure has been developed for HIV infection (WHO,2019). Therefore, HIV patients should be treated with respect and care and should be supported by possible ways.
The background of disease, symptoms and treatment methods of AIDS will be discussed, leading to the topic of interest which is socio-economic problems faced by HIV victims and thereby raising awareness about this life-threatening disease.
Background of HIV and socio-economic problems faced by HIV victims
Scientists identified the source of HIV infection is to be a type of chimpanzees in West Africa. HIV is the mutated form of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), which is the chimpanzee version of immunodeficiency virus. The virus might come into contact with humans, during hunting. The virus slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world (The AIDS Institute,2018). HIV spreads through bodily fluids and most often by sexual contact with infected partner. The virus enters to the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis or mouth during sex. The most common route of transmission, especially among men who sex with men. There are some other ways HIV spread from person to person such like sharing needles, syringes, other items for injection drug use and during the breast feeding as well. HIV is not spread through casual contacts such as skin to skin contacts, hugging, shaking hands, kissing, wearing the same cloths, sharing a toilet or bedding, air or water and also it would not spread through mosquitoes or other insects (Murrell,2018).
The current social and individual perception is that it is a shame to be infected with HIV. All human rights must be enjoyed by HIV positive individuals: the rights to free motion, health care, education, jobs, compatibility with their capacity. Nobody has the right to restrict freedom or individual rights merely because, regardless of nationality, gender or sexual orientation, they are infected with HIV (Procedia-social and Behavioral Science,2013).
The premature death of big numbers of young adults has an inevitably impacts societies affected by HIV. Houses and families bear the brunt if AIDS poverty. The effects on home and families begins as quickly as a member of a household being to suffer from HIV related illness. Three kinds of effects can be differentiated in this regard. The first one is the loss of family members’ revenue and households output, in specific the breadwinner’s life. The second effect is household increases and medical expenditure. The third effect is the indirect costs arising from the absenteeism of family members from college or work to take care of them.
There is increasing proof that AIDS has a catastrophic impact on economic growth and earnings. It is very important to have a job for infected individuals. It gives them a sense of economic security, fulfillment and keeps them occupied. But AIDS decrease the number of healthy employees, especially skilled employees. In general population, infection often leads to unemployment, withdrawal by wife or partner, family or community, inter personal owing to guilt and shame, taboo and social stigma. Societal, financial and cultural effects are usually catastrophic for HIV positive people and their families.
Infected people’s professional and social rejection often leads to the destruction of private and community ties and profound moral, cultural and financial distress. For these reasons, infected individuals often tend not to reveal their status to their wife or frequent sexual partner (UNAIDS,2001).
HIV patients face some social integration issues such as family negligence, physical abuse, verbal abuse, deprivation of love and care, accused of spreading the virus, moving away when infected individuals passed by, not permitted in social gatherings, asked to leave the place and kids were dismissed and were not permitted to play with other kids (International Labor Organization,2003).
People do not convict HIV patients, do not isolate them in their home or work place, do not frighten them with suffering and death. Prepare them for a smooth journey to death in the terminal stage, do not take many relatives to see the patient admitted in hospital and do not distinguish them from spouses or kids because they are the greatest support for them. It is essential for them to spend beautiful time together with their family (Kirloskar,2013).
Symptoms and diagnosis
People can identify the HIV disease by some symptoms. Not everyone will have the same symptoms it depends on the person and what stage of disease they are in. There are several types of symptoms of HIV such as fever, headache, rash, muscle aches and joint pains, sore throat, swollen lymph glands mainly on the neck, fatigue, chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, extreme and unexplained tired and night sweats. Some of these symptoms can be so mild that people might not even notice them (Avert.org,2019).
Those who have HIV suffer more in their life. For example, people living with HIV are twice as likely to depression compared to those who are not affected by this disease, trouble on getting services and their needs those who infected by this, loss of social support and isolation, going through changes in their physical appearance or abilities due to HIV/AIDS and the loss of relationships or even death (National Institute of Mental Health,2016).
Treatment and the way people need to take care HIV patients
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are different types of drugs are available to control this virus. Such treatment is called Antiretroviral therapy (ART). Each class of drug blocks the virus in different ways. Now ART is recommended for everyone, regardless of CD4 T cell counts. CD4 T is a cell that normally protect the body from infections and other types of diseases. In HIV treatment taking several pills at specific time is very important in their life. Each medicine comes with its own unique set of side effects. Some of the treatment side effects are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, heart diseases, weakened bones and bone loss, breakdown of muscle tissue, abnormal cholesterol levels and higher blood sugar (mayoclinic,2018).
People who have infected with HIV need care and support from their friends, families and community, especially when they are ill. Friends and family members are concerned that they may be infected when caring for the HIV person. But it has been discussed previously that how HIV can be passed and cannot be passed. People can assist those infected by displaying love, respect and support, by knowing the facts about HIV/AIDS and by speaking publicly about the disease, by helping them to decrease stress and stressful situations, by helping them to provide balanced and nutritious meals and also by encouraging them to receive the therapy when they are sick. There may be circumstances where individuals need to wash body fluids or blood from someone who infected with HIV. To avoid direct contact, it is essential to use rubber or plastic gloves or other obstacles such as plastic bags or dense cloths (KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health,2001).
HIV research has gone a long way since the disease was discovered in the 1980’s. ART was a major milestone that has changed the lives of millions of people, but the goal now is to find an HIV cure before 2020. One of the most advanced functional HIV cures in development seeks to inhibit the ability of the virus replicate and produce more copies of its own genetic material of itself. A comparable method is frequently used to treat infection with herps, and although it does not completely eliminate the virus, it can prevent its spread. Although there are several approaches that could eventually bring about a functional HIV cure, some changes still remain ahead. One of the biggest concerns about any HIV treatment is the ability of the virus to rapidly mutate and develop resistance, and for many of these new approaches there are still no data as to whether the virus can become resistant (Fernandez,2018).
As the functional cures have not reached the late-stage of clinical testing it seems likely that the goals of having an HIV cure by 2020 will not be achieved. However, this year is likely to mark a significant milestone as the first late stage tests being that year. It successful, the first functional HIV cure could be approved in ten years (Fernandez,2018).