Despite, scientific advance that have been made in recent years about the treatment of HIV, there has still been an increasing death rate around the UK and within the South West.
More than100.000 people are living with HIV in the UK
A North Bristol NHS Trust statement said: “More than 1,000 people regularly attend the clinics, with about 100 new referrals made to the service each year”.
The number of new HIV diagnoses in the South west area climbed approximately Threefold between 1986 and 1996.when They have continued for rise since that date. HIV cases have risen from 313 in 1997 to 804 in 2015. This intensification commenced after a comparatively steady period in the early 90’s HIV diagnoses fluctuated between 289 and 336. The increase happened between 1997 and 2005 when the figure of newly diagnosed people with HIV went from 313 to 1,220, and was the highest in the 30-year period. Shockingly in 1994 saw the highest number of deaths, when 251 people died from HIV/AIDS and a great number of those were male. Although HIV is now normally seen as a nonfatal disease because of advances in retroviral drugs, however there were still 117 deaths in 2015. Moreover, the preponderance of new HIV diagnoses appears between age groups of 35-49. There were 14,846 from 2000 to 2015 and 9,531 were men. The research confirmed that in the current years, sex between men has once again become the main most likely cause of spread of HIV.
Southmead Hospital is among the main HIV treatment centres in the South West, receiving recommendations from other services in the area such a sexual health clinics or General Practitioners (GPs) for patients with more complicated needs.
The Southmead Hospital service is composed of specialist nurses, research nurses, specialist pharmacists, consultants, clinical psychologists, and specialist dietitians and also healthcare assistants, who are all motivated in assisting and helping HIV positive people to overcome their illness.
The treatment of HIV has dramatically improved over the last 30 years and has now been recognized as comparable other to long-term health conditions. However, the danger is still if you don’t take your medication every day as recommended.
Kieran Sharkey, HIV Nurse Specialist at Southmead Hospital states: “It is now a treatable illness, although it is not curable”.
People still don’t know the facts about how to prevent and protect themselves as well as others against the HIV virus.
Community Support services Coordinator Bonnie Holt explained: “People don’t think HIV will affected them, they are going into new relationships without consideration for safe sex.” She added: “People can live with HIV for years without knowing if they are affected.”
HIV Specialist Nurse Liz Williams believed that: “It is a devastating diagnosis for a lot of people. Some people have friends who are HIV positive, while others feel like is the end of the world.” HIV positive people are also more likely to have following health disease such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and other infections disease that can be spread sexually or by injection drug use.
Having HIV raises the risk for some related health issues due to the damage that the virus does to the immune system and other parts of the human body. Generally, the HIV virus destroys the immune system and the body’s ability to prevent infection. This places HIV positive people at higher risk of having various health complications that include: tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia and other respiratory contagions; lymphoma, cervical cancer, and other cancers; cardiovascular disease; and problems that affect the brain and central nervous system such as dementia, nerve damage, and memory loss. HIV positive people are also at greatest risk for life-threatening opportunistic infections if they do not get a suppressed viral load and their immune system have been rigorously weakened.
Kieran Sharkey added: “A lot of the challenges now are to do with ageing and the complications that patients can have with dealing with a chronic illness.”
Even though there is no cure for HIV, however treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy.
World Aids day takes place each year on 1st December and its vital worldwide message is to bring people together to fight against the HIV virus. It supports people who are living with HIV and remember those who have died from Aids.
There many positive HIV people who understood their illness and have decided to live their lives to the full
Andrew Pulsipher is an HIV positive person who was born with and has lived for 33 years with the virus and rejoices his 10 years of married life with his wife Victoria and his three negative children. He wants to inform people about his dealing with the virus and to tell them that being HIV is not the end of life. Andrew declared: “showing what a healthy family with a member who is HIV positive can look like will help to break down the stigma around the virus and educate people.” He added: “Having a negative family can be the most positive thing in your life.”
A 22 years old HIV positive women Slinda, a London Fine art student who won the Miss Congo UK beauty queen contest 2017 allegedly discovered her HIV status at 11years old. She decided to carry out HIV/Aids Campaigns in her homeland of Congo, subsequent to winning the contest.
Speaking after winning she said: “I’ m happy I’ve won at least something in my life, my story has warmed people’s hearts and that’s the most important thing.”
Carol is a 61-year-old living with the HIV virus for 21years. She had contacted HIV when she was on holiday in Kenya. When diagnosed, Carol thought she had been given her death sentence. She kept secret her illness for 5 years, since she lost forever her friend in 10 minutes by revealing her HIV to them. Carol’s life changed from the meeting Terrence Higgins Trust (31 years’ experience) and Brigstowe Project (21year’s experience). They both support and teach HIV people how they can live very long healthy lives and encourage them always to love the person they are. They both provided a wide range of assistance and support that included one to one support, holistic therapies, health, well-being, fitness, yoga and creative writing where HIV positive people can put down their words. With the help of the Terrance Higgins trust and Bristowe project Carol found encouragement and hope to cope with HIV. Respecting the medication recommendation HIV (31) people can live and enjoy normal life. For example, Carol HIV+ is married with a negative new partner Paul and they both enjoyed intimacy without condoms. Due to Carol’s low viral status, she is not considered to be dangerously infections.
Carol explained: “I Know HIV has a negative stigma, but it doesn’t have to and I want to help change that. It is a treatable disease and you can have a normal life with it.” Additionally, she added that: “At the beginning my feelings had been all over the place because of the disappointing reaction I got from some of my close friends, when I revealed my HIV diagnosis.”
However, the present and future look more hopeful, Bonnie Barber-Holt from the Terrence Higgins Trust commented: “I never thought when I started many years ago that we would have these medications that would help HIV positive people to lead healthy and normal lives.”
Bonnie’s advice is however still that having unprotected sex could lead to the risk of contracting HIV. Always look after your sexual health and so avoid HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.