In Albania, the number of people affected by HIV-AIDS is growing year after year.
On 1 December, on the World Day of AIDS, Albanian Ministry of Health officially confirms that during the first 11 months of this year, 102 new cases of Albanians affected by HIV-AIDS have been identified.
Thus, the number of people affected by AIDS until today reaches 984. But this is only an official figure of people who have been registered by health authorities.
There are suspicions that the number of people affected by this dangerous illness is different from this one. Also, several others are suspected to have died during these years from the fatal virus.
Most concerns relate to people who do not carry out any health checks and have been carrying the virus for a while, without knowing or receiving treatment.
HIV continues to remain a big public health problem on a global level. More than 35 million people have died so far from causes relating to HIV, 1,1 million in 2015 alone.
On a global level, until 2015 there are close to 36,7 million people who lived with the virus and 2,1 million people were infected with the virus in 2015.
Sub-Sahara Africa is the most affected region with 25,6 million cases in 2015 and this makes up for two thirds of the global total number of new HIV infections.
There is no cure against HIV. However, antiretroviral effective medication (ARV) help to control the virus and to prevent it from being transmitted, in order for people with HIV and those who are endangered from it, could live a healthy and productive life.
According to estimates, only 54% of people with HIV know their status. Until the end of 2015, on a global level, around 17 million people who live with HIV have received antiretroviral therapy.
Between 2000 and 2015, new HIV infections have dropped by 35%, the number of AIDS related deaths has fallen by 28% and around 7,8 million people have been saved as a result of international efforts.
What is HIV/AIDS
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely. So once you have HIV, you have it for life.
HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. If left untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last state of HIV infection.
No effective cure for HIV currently exists, but with proper treatment and medical care, HIV can be controlled. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of transmitting the virus to others. Today, a person who is diagnosed with HIV, treated before the disease is far advanced, and stays on treatment can live a nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested.