Will HIV Treatment end the AIDS pandemic?

Most people think of HIV as a death sentence. However, with the advancements in medicine, it no longer is. If you are diagnosed with HIV, and it has not turned into AIDS, it is very possible to live a pretty normal life as long as you get adequate care and stay on your medications.  This is great news for the 15.8 million people worldwide are currently receiving HIV treatment.  According to the United Nations AIDS program, the fast-track strategy to end the AIDS pandemic is starting to show results.

UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections have fallen by 35% since 2000, while deaths related to AIDS have gone down by 42%.  This is amazing progress within the last 15 years and a big part of the improvement is the amount of people on HIV treatment.  The numbers have increased from 2.2 million in 2005 to 16 million people today.  Increasing the amount of people on life-saving treatment seems to be the key to breaking the epidemic and keeping it from resurging.

According to the World Health Organization, all those diagnosed as HIV positive need access to antiretroviral AIDS drugs, to keep the HIV virus from progressing and becoming AIDS.  The antiretroviral drugs halt the virus and allow those diagnosed with HIV to continue to lead relatively healthy lives. UNAIDS hopes to end the threat of AIDS pandemic by 2030, and has put a five-year, fast-track plan together making HIV treatment more available to those diagnosed, quicker.  Thus far, their fast track plan has shown results, and we are hopeful it will mean less death by AIDS globally. 

HIV cannot be cured. Currently, there is no cure for HIV. However, there are treatments available to help keep virus levels low and help maintain your immune system. Some drugs work by interfering with the proteins that HIV needs to copy itself. Others work by blocking the virus from entering or inserting its genetic material into your immune cells.

Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. HIV is a virus that destroys the body's CD4 immune cells. These cells help fight disease. With the help of certain drugs, you can live with HIV for many years without HIV turning into AIDS. HIV can only turn into AIDS when you have HIV as well as certain opportunistic infections or your CD4 cell count drops below 200.