Essay: HIV and AIDS Impact on Rehabilitation

The first case of AIDS, which is considered to be the most dangerous and still incurable disease of the 20th century, was registered over 20 years ago. AIDS threatens not only human life and dignity, but the whole society, because of its terrible impact either on people’s health, or on the economy of the country, or on its demographic policy.

We can often hear people say that taking no action against the growth of the epidemic is the only right way out of the problem. I really think that’s a fatal mistake. The HIV/AIDS epidemic turns out to be a much more serious ordeal than it seemed from the first sight.

The HIV virus is thought to be the most perfect weapon of mass destruction on the planet. It presents a great threat to all of us, because of its killing influence upon the sphere of public health, the sphere of social stability and national security.

HIV/AIDS spreads rapidly. This global disaster spreads its wings upon different countries and continents. Due to the recent statistics forty million of the HIV-infected (both adults and children) were registered in the world.

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The problem needs to be solved as soon as possible but what we need to remember is those who suffer from these diseases because their rehabilitation is of paramount importance since they should not be excluded from social life and constitute an essential part of society. At the same time, the problem of rehabilitation should be solved in complex. It means that it is not only the state or health care organisations that should take a primary concern about the rehabilitation but the whole society should be involved in this process for it is a very difficult and expansive process. No one says that these will be easy. But every of these tasks will have a great positive impact and should be supported by the international community.

However, before discussing the problem of rehabilitation it is necessary to briefly dwell upon some basic notions mentioned above in order to better understand the entity of the problem. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which causes AIDS is transmitted through body fluids. The three main ways in which transmission is possible are: the first, and the most common – unprotected sex with an infected partner; the second, through blood, for example, infected transfusions and organ or tissue transplants, or the use of contaminated injection or other skin-pierced equipment; the third, from HIV-infected mother to the child at birth or in the womb.

HIV weakens the human body’s immune system, so it becomes very difficult for the organism to fight even the little infection. You can be infected and live for five or more years without any symptoms of it. The first and the earliest of them can include: herpes and some other mouth infections, mental changes, weight loss, fever and cough. The body’s weakened immune system can be attacked by such diseases as cancer, meningitis and tuberculosis. Periods of illness usually change with periods of remission, but in spite of this fact AIDS is almost always fatal.

Numerous clinics are searching for the vaccine from HIV, but still none of them is a success. Certainly there are special medications which slightly slow the progression of the HIV-infection to full-blown AIDS.

Antiretrovirals (they slow the progression of the disease) and prophylaxis (they prevent opportunistic infections) are the most common medications used in drug therapies.

The main problem is the cost of these drugs. It remains a major barrier to treatment. Health agencies continue to pay some of the highest prices in the world for HAART and other HIV/AIDS medications: triple-combination therapy ranges from 6000 to 15000$ per patient.

Many of the world’s AIDS centers do not have expensive laboratory equipment for CD4 testing, viral load testing, and ARV resistance testing that are required to effectively monitor AIDS treatment, and even fewer have the psychological or support services to complement drug therapy. Moreover, most patients are unaware of their rights and responsibilities related to HIV treatment.

Furthermore, even the most developed countries such as the US face numerous problems on the way of the solution of the problem of HIV/AIDS and rehabilitation. In general there are several basic sources of financing, they are as follows: state, including both federal and local budget, charity funds for non-profit organizations, international funds, and private financing. The state budget as a rule does not provide for sufficient funding of the national programmes on HIV/AIDS. That’s why its so important to turn the attention of the society to organisation of social programmes and funds, either local, or national and international.

It is extremely important to combine the efforts of different institutions financing rehabilitation and treatment of HIV/AIDS because it is impossible to solve the problem if their actions are not coordinated. This is why it is quite natural that the categories and communities that are at higher risks, i.e. drug addicts, low-income classes, etc. are in the focus of attention of state programs and work of non-profit and health care organizations.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the prevention of the spread of the disease is very important this is why the financing of programs that are aiming at possibly earlier diagnosing of the disease that provides better opportunities to treat it more successfully. At the most basic and humane level, reliable access to treatment and support is necessary to keep HIV-infected people alive.

The long-term financial and social costs, however, could be even greater if adequate treatment is not provided now. If treatment access does not improve, mortality rates for AIDS are expected to increase, especially in developing countries where the situation is even worse than in developed ones. For instance, in 1996 between US 1.4 billion and US 2.2 billion were needed for HIV/AIDS preventing in developing countries each year.

The battle against AIDS will not be won without the necessary resources. We need to mobilize seven to ten billion dollars a year for all aspects of this struggle in low and middle-income countries. Part of these funds will be found in those countries themselves. In the war against HIV/AIDS, there are no us and them, no developed and developing countries, no rich and poor – just a devious enemy that threatens everyone. But we must all remember that while HIV/AIDS affects both rich and poor, the poor are much more vulnerable to infection, and much less able to cope with the disease once infected.

…Throughout history there have been many moments that required people to join forces in a powerful alliance for the benefit of the international community. This is time to confront an equally significant threat to global peace and prosperity. Yet, there is a hope, and powerful voices are calling us to action.

References:
UNAIDS, WHO. AIDS epidemic update: December 2002. Geneva: UNAIDS and WHO, 2002.
Department of Health and Human Services (January, 2005). A Pocket Guide to Adult HIV/AIDS Treatment January 2005 edition. URL accessed on 2006-01-17.
World Bank. Costs of scaling HIV program activities to a national level in sub-Saharan Africa: Methods and estimates. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2000.

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