It is estimated that there are 36.7 million people living with HIV globally with 1.8 million new infections in 2016 alone (1). This number represents an 11% drop in the number of new infections from 2010 . Some might consider this an achievement or a testament to the impact of strategic national and global policies aimed at tackling the epidemic. But in reality, these numbers mask the discrepant pace in the effort to tackle transmission and AIDS-related deaths in countries across the globe.
By Bianca Masuku, Eh!woza
Eh!woza is an evolving public engagement project focused on two infectious diseases (HIV and TB) that continue to burden communities within South Africa. The initiative is based at the recently awarded Wellcome Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Africa, and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. Previously described on this blog, this piece provides insights into an anthropological investigation of the work of Eh!woza, as well as the personal and lived experiences of persons affected by TB throughout South African communities.
By Dr Angela Bailey, Consultant HIV/GU medicine, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
The Jefferiss Wing at St Mary’s hospital is one of the biggest sexual health clinics in the UK. As well as providing services for testing (walk in and bookable online), we have an active Clinical Trials Centre and many of our clinicians are involved in sexual health research which gives our patients a chance to participate in studies and access to the latest developments in STI care. Some key areas, which have been in the news over the last year, are discussed here.
By Anastasia Koch and Bianca Masuku, Eh!woza
Khayelitsha, a peri-urban township outside of Cape Town, South Africa, has some of the highest rates of HIV and TB in the world. Many members of this community have had personal experiences with TB and HIV, either being directly infected or as a result of the death of loved ones. This is also the setting for a major clinical research site established by The Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI). The research group, which focusses on finding better ways to intervene in and understand HIV-associated TB, was established by Professor Robert Wilkinson and has laboratory and academic space at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM).
By Professor Sarah J Fidler, Professor of HIV and Communicable Diseases at Imperial College London
There has been the most dramatic improvement in the treatment and care now available for people living with HIV; a result of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). This represents a huge success in terms of life expectancy as well as reducing the risk of passing virus infection from an HIV-positive person to their partners or children. In fact, if people start on ART when they first test HIV-positive and remain on treatment so that the level of virus in their blood tests remains below the limit of detection; “undetectable” they can expect to live a normal healthy life and not risk passing the virus on to their partners or children.
By Professor Robert Wilkinson, Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Director of the University of Cape Town Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) and Professor in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London
Today, 1st December, is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with the disease and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million people have died of HIV.