Wednesday October 24, 2018

Every Three Minutes a Teenage Girl is Infected by HIV – UNICEF

The solution, according to Angelique Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who contributed to the report, is education and economic empowerment

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School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)
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One girl between the ages of 15 and 19 is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, every three minutes of every day, a United Nations report found.

The report, released Wednesday at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, said teenage girls are bearing the brunt of the AIDS epidemic, largely due to gender inequality.

Henrietta Fore, head of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called it a “crisis of health.”

“In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just power to say no to unsafe sex,” she said. “HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalized, leaving teenage girls at the center of the crisis.”

The report said while there was significant progress in the battle against AIDS in other age groups, it is notably lacking among adolescents.

While AIDS-related deaths among all other age groups have been falling since 2010, those among children aged 15 to 19 have seen no reduction.

HIV Aids
The report said while there was significant progress in the battle against AIDS in other age groups, it is notably lacking among adolescents. Flickr

In 2017, 1.2 million 15- to 19-year-olds were living with HIV, three in five of them were girls, according to UNICEF.

Actress and activist Charlize Theron addressed the issue in her speech at the conference.

The AIDS epidemic is “not just about sex or sexuality,” she said. It is also about “the second-class status of women and girls worldwide.”

Also Read: HIV Drug Is Not Linked to Depression: Study

The solution, according to Angelique Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who contributed to the report, is education and economic empowerment.

“We need to make girls and women secure enough economically that they don’t have to turn to sex work,” she said. “We need to make sure they have the right information about how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves.” (VOA)

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Individual Types of HPV Linked to HIV Infection

Previous study with female sex workers showed that the HPV vaccine still provided protection to high-risk groups

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Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

Scientists have for the first time identified 37 individual types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that are specifically linked to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

The findings showed that a person with any HPV type, more than one HPV type, or high-risk HPV are more likely to test positive for HIV.

“Although most studies have shown a general link between HPV and HIV co-infection, our findings illustrate the strong relationship between individual HPV types and HIV infection,” said lead author Brandon Brown, Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside.

“Some HPV types are more linked to cancer and others to warts. This further illustrates the potential utility of HPV vaccine for men who have sex with men and trans women, not only for HPV prevention but also possibly for HIV prevention,” Brown added.

Brown explained that previous research has shown that HPV, in general, was linked to HIV infection, but his research team looked at infection with 37 HPV types and found that individual types are linked, “which is more specific than saying HPV is linked”.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, identified HPV types such as HPV16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 52, 58, linked to HIV.

For the study, the team investigated nearly 600 men who have sex with men, or MSM, and transgender women in Lima, Peru.

HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Brown and his colleagues started with two groups, one with genital warts and one without, and followed participants over two years to see who contracted HIV.

Of the 571 participants who completed at least two study visits, 73 acquired HIV in two years — a 6 per cent HIV incidence rate.

Previous study with female sex workers showed that the HPV vaccine still provided protection to high-risk groups.

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Regarding prevention and treatment, Brown recommends the HPV vaccine, widely provided to everyone regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation before sexual debut, and for genital wart treatment.

“Even if the vaccine is not provided before sexual debut, there can be strong benefit if given at any time to prevent HPV-associated disease and also HIV,” he said.

“We know that HPV is the most common STI, and we know that HPV vaccine works to prevent chronic HPV infection. What we need now is to implement the vaccine in a better way. The availability in many other developing countries is low at best and absent at worst.” (IANS)

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