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HIV: many people do not get treatment

HIV: many people do not get treatment

Scientists have found that, particularly in rural Africa, many patients do not receive adequate HIV treatment – in West and Central Africa this affects 42 percent of those infected. Mostly due to lack of medical care facilities. For many patients, the nearest facility is more than an hour away. Here, however, the researchers found strong geographic differences: in Sudan and Mauritania, there is very limited access to medical care. On the other hand, those infected in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi have to drive less than an hour. This was demonstrated by scientists from the University of Cincinnati using a map of Africa. They mapped residents who would have to walk or drive 10, 30 or 60 minutes to get to the nearest medical facility.

The coronavirus pandemic is also exacerbating HIV treatment

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated this situation, as foreign aid organizations are often not allowed to enter the country during these times, according to the researchers. Therefore, the expansion of the health system must be accelerated in order to contain the disease. In the past, mobile supply stations often proved their worth, as local public transportation was in short supply, especially in rural areas.

HIV, short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, enters the body through the exchange of body fluids. There is a high risk of infection especially during unprotected intercourse, when using unclean syringes and during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding of untreated mothers. After infection, viruses attack and weaken the immune system. The body is no longer very good at fending off diseases that have no complications for healthy people. The virus replicates slowly and destroys the immune system. After a latency period of about 10 years, which is usually asymptomatic, this leads to the onset of AIDS, the so-called acquired immunodeficiency disease. It represents the final stage of HIV infection and cannot be cured.

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HIV treatment reduces the viral load in the body

There is no complete cure or vaccination against the hepatitis C virus. People infected with HIV are treated with what is known as virotherapy. This prevents the virus from multiplying in the body and thus from the outbreak of AIDS. This also reduces the viral load in the body and patients can no longer pass the infection on to others. Treatment is essential to contain the disease, especially in countries with very low hygiene standards. Africa is one of the continents with the largest number of patients. 70 percent of people living with HIV worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa. In Botswana, one in four is affected.

What do I do 10.1371 / journal.pgph.000013