The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

HIV remains major global public health issue

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) remains a major global public health issue, having claimed 32.9–51.3 million lives so far with ongoing transmission in all countries globally; with some countries reporting increasing trends in new infections when previously on the decline. Also, estimated 33.1–45.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2022, two-thirds of whom 25.6 million are in the WHO African Region. Human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the disease. HIV targets the body’s white blood cells, weakening the immune system. This makes it easier to get sick with diseases like tuberculosis, infections and some cancers. HIV is spread from the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs, or sharing food. It can also spread from a mother to her baby. HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Untreated HIV can progress to AIDS, often after many years. WHO now defines Advanced HIV Disease (AHD) as CD4 cell count of less than 200 cells/mm3 or WHO stage 3 or 4 in adults and adolescents. All children with HIV younger than 5 years of age are considered to have advanced HIV disease. In Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on the occasion of World AIDs Day said that the number of patients affected by “Human Immunodeficiency Virus” (HIV) has decreased. According to data of the country’s Ministry of Public Health, 183 positive cases of HIV have been registered in the country in 2023, which shows the reduction of this disease compared to previous years. Currently, there are 12,000 HIV patients in the country, of which 11,162 are under treatment. The ministry says although HIV has decreased in the country, they need the cooperation of international institutions in fighting HIV in the country and this ministry is trying to eradicate HIV in the country. It is worth mentioning that in 2022, 630,000 [480 000–880 000] people died from HIV-related causes and 1.3 million [1.0–1.7 million] people acquired HIV around the world. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives. WHO, the Global Fund and UNAIDS all have global HIV strategies that are aligned with the SDG target 3.3 of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. By 2025, 95% of all people living with HIV (PLHIV) should have a diagnosis, 95% of those should be taking lifesaving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 95% of PLHIV on treatment should achieve a suppressed viral load for the benefit of the person’s health and for reducing onward HIV transmission. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.