AIDS or the acquired immune deficiency syndrome is one of the most dreaded infections in the history of mankind. It affects the immune system of the body making it more susceptible to infections and renders it incapable of dealing with even common infections, ultimately resulting in death.
The incidence of the disease and the consequent death rate varies in different countries. A 2013 study shows that Russia is the undisputed leader as far as death from AIDS is concerned (58000 reported by 2011), with China and India following close on its heels, Several other countries like.the U.S. and the European countries are also affected.
The incidence and the death rate from the disease have been controlled successfully in some countries, whereas it has been on the rise in others. The reasons for this could be manifold. For example, in India, a pro-active Government policy, reaching out to the people who are at risk for the disease, has helped in tackling the problem. New infections have been reduced by spreading awareness, prevention, and timely treatment of the people suffering from the disease.
Latin America is another area where the prevalence of AIDS infections and the resultant deaths is very high. However, easier availability of anti-retro viral therapy used for treatment has considerably reduced the occurrence of new infections, particularly among children. In China, the infection rate itself is relatively low but, being a very populous state, the numbers have been considerable with 39000 deaths reported till 2007. The Government has promulgated laws against drug abuse and prostitution and more recently started distribution of free condoms. It has thus been successful in maintaining the rate of occurrence of AIDS on par with the developing countries. Germany has been fighting the AIDS epidemic successfully through sex education in school children and distributing condoms to people including school students. Only 500 deaths have been reported till 2011.
In the middle east, the incidence of the disease is relatively low. But there is still cause for concern because the rate of prevalence, as well as deaths, have been on the rise. This is probably because of the patients, particularly the women and children, not getting the ART therapy when indicated.
If we talk about Europe and North America, it is the latter that is responsible for more than two third of the AIDS-related deaths occurring here. This may seem surprising considering that these are developed countries where treatment is available easily. Non-compliance of patients to treatment could perhaps be the major contributor to this.
Russia is one country where the disease has been on the rise. This is probably because of the conservative approach adopted by the Russian Government. It is estimated that Russia will have about 1 million people with AIDS by the end of the year. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the disease is tackled more aggressively.
The people more at risk are homosexuals, transgenders, and drug addicts, and public policy needs to focus on such populations in order to be able to control the disease. The reasons for the spread of the disease vary considerably and local issues need to be addressed as well.
AIDS is an infection that affects mostly young people. Therefore, it is imperative that Governments and voluntary organizations join forces in order to gain the upper hand on this epidemic and protect our youth.