Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘PrEP’

AIDS: Not Gone but Forgotten?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 1st December, 2019

World AIDS DayToday is World AIDS Day, but you are unlikely to see as many people wearing the related red ribbon symbol as was the case some years ago. Because effective drugs now mean that the HIV virus can be suppressed, though not yet eliminated, there is a tendency not to take the matter so seriously any more. In Britain, there are around 100,000 people currently living with HIV/AIDS but it is no longer the guaranteed killer that it was in the 1980s and 1990s. However, some people are still getting infected by not taking to heart the warnings about unprotected sex, in particular. Surveys show that there is rising nonchalance among some high risk groups, notably promiscuous gay or bisexual men, so some of them are now benefitting from wisely using PrEP — HIV prevention pills that substantially reduce the risk of infection. In Britain, the NHS does regard combatting HIV/AIDS as a top priority and most doctors, hospitals and STD clinics deal with sufferers with sensitivity. Yet there is still quite a high level of public stigma attached to HIV status which can put great psychological pressure on people who are HIV+, especially those who have no-one in whom they feel they can confide. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, of course, the situation remains much worse, with AIDS decimating the populations of many countries, notably among heterosexuals. The rate of infections has recently slowed, thanks to better health education and the availability of free or cheap drug treatment. But much still needs to be done. That is why on World AIDS Day people must acknowledge that the problem has not yet gone away, and should not be forgotten. Richer countries, including Britain, must continue helping the global fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as providing the necessary education, treatment and support at home.

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