Understanding The Problems With Access To HIV/AIDS Medication
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has influenced the health of millions of people across the globe. The condition ultimately leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which causes the failure of an individual’s immune system. Once a person’s immunity begins to fail, opportunistic infections, such as Kaposi’s Sarcoma, ultimately lead to an individual’s death. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that roughly 2.2 million people were infected with the virus in 2011. Today, no cure exists for the disease, although research and science have led to the discovery of treatments that might slow the progression of the disease. Despite this, HIV AIDS medicine access determines the overall outcome of an individual’s health.
What Treatments Are Available for HIV/AIDS?
Two approaches deliver treatment for HIV/AIDS infections: antiretroviral therapy and management of infections. Antiretroviral treatment therapy combines a number of drugs that inhibit the progression of the condition. Generally, doctors prescribe between three and four drugs, called “cocktails,” that help diminish the virus’s presence in the system and restore the immune system. Medical professionals use different “classes” of drugs to create the cocktail. For example, entry inhibitor drugs prevent the virus from binding with cells in the human system. When an individual takes the appropriate drugs at different stages of the infection, she might experience near-normal mortality.
Managing the infections that present themselves throughout the disease’s lifespan can improve an individual’s quality of life and delay death. Individuals experiencing opportunistic infections should seek treatment and manage infections as directed by a healthcare professional. In addition to drug and infection treatments, medical professionals seek to lower the mother-to-child transmission rate through drug therapy.
Concerns with Access to Life-Saving Medication
One of the most important concerns in delivering treatment to infected individuals is access. The WHO reveals that only 11 percent of women expecting children receive the drug treatments required to prevent transmission to their children. The cost of receiving life-saving drugs and medical care for diseases is cost prohibitive for people in underprivileged countries and cities around the world. The issue of access offers a complex set of problems that organizations around the world are attempting to address. Educating the global population about the importance of testing for HIV/AIDS and preventing the spread of the disease ultimately contributes to managing the number of people who require access to medicine. In addition, identifying those populations that are at most risk of contracting the disease and delivering medical services will improve life expectancy.
Despite the problems with access for people, the WHO reports that access increased significantly in 2006. For example, in 2006 28 percent of HIV-positive individuals in sub-Saharan Africa received treatment in 2006. In 2003, only 2 percent of individuals were receiving assistance.
Access to medication that can delay the progression of HIV/AIDS has a significant influence on the global population. Cocktails designed to address each stage of the disease significantly improve an individual’s health and set the stage for healthier living. International organizations are working to improve access to life-saving medications for the population living with the disease.
Chris Silvers writes about HIV/AIDS news and helps spread awareness all over the globe in hopes of erradicating this disease.