Epidemiology of HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) emerged as a global epidemic in 1970s and by 2007 an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV with 2 million people dying of AIDS living about 15 million children orphaned. In America alone there has been changing trends and statistics showing that most white men contacted the disease through a male-to male and drug injection. However by the beginning of 2007, heterosexual had surpassed male-to-male transmission with 27.6% of prevalent HIV cases with a reported increase in female infection in the United States.
Further, statistics show that a great number of people in the United States living with HIV do not receive proper care while others living with HIV without having knowledge of it therefore making them more likely to infect others. Earl case finding programs and ineffective testing are major factors that contribute to this occurrence according to CDC reports. The world report shows that HIV is more prevalent in the sub-Saharan Africa with a 5% prevalence by the year 2010 making it the only region to hit above 1% in terms of prevalence.
HIV primarily affects people in their most productive years mainly under the age of 25 years. It therefore has a negative impact on economic growth and development of nations. In other instances it has been associated with poverty with most people living under the poverty level reported to have been greatly affected. Main factors influencing the prevalence in poverty hit areas include: drug abuse, sexual intercourse, injection and crime related infections such as rape.
There have been new global efforts to help curb the epidemic with positive signs of decreasing infections reported. The number of deaths and infections has reduced in most parts of the world helping to stabilize the epidemic in most developed countries though in most developing countries world and regional reports indicate an increase in HIV infections
Recommendations for HIV Testing
HIV testing for should be routinely performed to people aged between 13 to 64 years regardless of the risk of infection. Screening for HIV should be initiated in health centres unless the prevalence falls below 0.1%. It should also apply to patients of tuberculosis and those seeking treatment for other sexually transmitted diseases.
During screening and testing health officers should engage the patient and make them understand the importance of testing and screening before conducting a diagnostic testing. However a separate written consent is not necessary. Further, prevention counselling is important to help in reducing the spread of HIV. It offers the patient the ability to take care of themselves when found with HIV or to adopt safety measures to avoid contacting HIV.
Essentially, screening and testing are based on a voluntary principle; people between the age of 13-64 should undergo regular screening; diagnostic testing and preventive counselling to help fight the epidemic.
Manifestation and risk of HIV
People infected with HIV tend to develop a flu-like illness within a month or two months after the virus entry into the body. At this stage the illness known as acute or primary infection may last for a few weeks with the person developing recurrent diseases like fever, headache.
Muscle ache, rashes, chills, sore throat, genital or mouth ulcers, swollen lymph glands, joint pains, diarrhea and night sweats. However these symptoms can go unnoticed though the amount of virus is high in the blood at this time. In cases of Clinical latent infections, a person develops swelling of lymph glands with no other symptom manifesting. It can go for several years typically eight to 10 years after which a person may progress to a more severe disease.