Globally there are 36.7 million people living with HIV. Almost half of them - 15.6 million people - have no access to medicines to combat the virus. The number of new HIV infections has been decreasing in recent years, but not quickly enough according to “Aidsfonds” (the AIDS foundation). Every minute three people become infected. That amounted to 1.8 million people last year!
What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The virus breaks down your immune system. You can slow down or inhibit this process by taking medication. If you do not take medication, your immune system will be broken down further. When your body is no longer able to fight infections, because the immune system has been broken down too far, causing you to become ill, this is referred to as AIDS. People with AIDS can ultimately die from relatively simple infections.
How are we doing on fighting the virus?
In the Netherlands, a great deal of progress has been made since the epidemic in the 1980s. HIV no longer needs to be a life-threatening illness. The health of people with HIV has improved a lot, even though they are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer, osteoporosis and conditions affecting the liver, kidneys and brain.
What is the life expectancy of people with HIV?
Despite the increased risk, the life expectancy of people living with HIV in the Netherlands is similar to that of the rest of the population.
Undetectable = Untransmittable
As a matter of fact, if a person with HIV is being (successfully) treated and does not have any measurable virus for more than six months, then the virus cannot be transmitted. You will find more information about this on the website of the Association for people living with HIV