Today’s HIV

What is HIV?

HIV is a virus that attacks cells in the immune system, which is our body’s natural defense against illness. The virus destroys a type of white blood cell in the immune system called a T helper cell, and makes copies of itself inside these cells. T helper cells are also referred to as CD4 cells.

As HIV destroys more CD4 cells and makes more copies of itself, it gradually weakens a person’s immune system. This means that someone who has HIV, and isn’t taking antiretroviral treatment, will find it harder and harder to fight off infections and diseases.

If HIV is left untreated, it may take up to 10 or 15 years for the immune system to be so severely damaged that it can no longer defend itself. The rate at which HIV progresses, however, varies depending on age, general health, and background.

Basic facts about HIV

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.
  • People with HIV can enjoy a long and healthy life by taking antiretroviral treatment which is effective and available to San Juan County residents in need.
  • Once a person has HIV, the earlier they are diagnosed, the sooner they can start treatment which means they will enjoy better health in the long term.
  • Regular testing for HIV is important to know your status.
  • HIV is found in semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and breastmilk.
  • HIV can’t be transmitted through sweat, saliva, or urine.
  • Using external (or male) condoms or internal (female) condoms during sex is the best way to prevent HIV and other other sexually transmitted infections.
  • If you inject drugs, always use a clean needle and syringe, and never share equipment.
  • If you’re pregnant and living with HIV, the virus in your blood could pass into your baby’s body during birth or afterwards through breastfeeding. Taking HIV treatment and becoming undetectable eliminates this risk.

The United Nation’s (UN) Current Reported Facts on the Global Crisis of HIV and AIDS

  • 36.9 million [31.1 million–43.9 million] people globally are living with HIV.
  • 21.7 million [19.1 million–22.6 million] million people are accessing antiretroviral therapy.
  • 1.8 million [1.4 million–2.4 million] people became newly infected with HIV in the past year.
  • 940,000 [670,000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS related illnesses in the past year.
  • 77.3 million [59.9 million–100 million] people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic.
  • 35.4 million [25.0 million–49.9 million] people have died from AIDS related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.

People Living with HIV

  • On a global scale, the current risk of acquiring HIV is 27 times higher among men who have sex with men; 23 times higher among people who inject drugs; 13 times higher for female sex workers; and 12 times higher for transgender women.
  • Last year, there were 36.9 million [31.1 million–43.9 million] people living with HIV.
    • 35.1 million [29.6 million–41.7 million] adults.
    • 1.8 million [1.3 million–2.4 million] children (<15 years).

People Living with HIV Accessing Antiretroviral Therapy

  • Last year, 21.7 million [19.1 million–22.6 million] people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy, an increase of 2.3 million since 2016 and up from 8 million [7.1 million–8.3 million] in 2010.
  • Last year, 59% [44–73%] of all people living with HIV were accessing treatment.
    • 59% [44–73%] of adults aged 15 years and older living with HIV had access to treatment, as did 52% [37–70%] of children aged 0–14 years.
  • Last year, 80% [61– >95%] of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.

New HIV Infections

  • New HIV infections have been reduced by 47% since the peak in 1996.
    • Last year, there were 1.8 million [1.4 million–2.4 million] new HIV infections, compared to 3.4 million [2.6 million–4.4 million] in 1996.
  • Since 2010, new HIV infections among adults have declined by an estimated 16%, from 1.9 million [1.5 million–2.5 million] to 1.6 million [1.3 million–2.1 million] in 2017.
    • Since 2010, new HIV infections among children have declined by 35%, from 270,000 [170,000–400,000] in 2010 to 180,000 [110,000–260,000] in 2017.

AIDS Related Deaths

  • AIDS related deaths have been reduced by more than 51% since the peak in 2004.
    • Last year, 940,000 [670,000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS
    • Related illnesses worldwide, compared to 1.9 million [1.4 million–2.7 million] in 2004 and 1.4 million [1 million–2 million] in 2010.
(Made possible by the UN and AVERT)

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