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The AIDS Epidemic Continues Due To Stigma, Fear And Ignorance

The biggest thing that we've learned for preventing HIV in the last decades is that there is no magic bullet.

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HIV AIDS, Pakistan
A patient is seen in a ward at the state-run Lavra clinic, Ukraine's main HIV treatment center, in Kyiv. VOA

As the 30th World AIDS Day approaches, the World Health Organization says fear, stigma and ignorance are the reasons the AIDS epidemic is not over, because doctors can treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

With treatment, no one needs to die from AIDS, and those with the virus can’t give it to someone else. In addition, with prevention therapy, no one needs to get infected.

Dr. Jared Baeten, an HIV specialist at the University of Washington, says even with these tools more people still contract the HIV virus and eventually die from AIDS each year, “because the ability to deliver those at the scale and with the coverage needed to be able to get HIV to go away is not nearly where it should be.”

Nearly a million people still die every year from AIDS. Professor Steffani Strathdee at the University of California San Diego says one of the biggest challenges is that HIV often affects people on the fringes of some societies around the world.

“There are populations all over the world that are underserved and these include injection drug users and sex workers, in particular,” she said.

It also includes men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners and the sexual partners of these people. Strathdee says people who are hungry or need shelter are more concerned about their immediate needs than they are about HIV.

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A man walks past a banner tied on a bus before the start of a charity walk on HIV/AIDS at the Ebute Mata district in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, April 21, 2012. (VOA)

“My research and research in this field really shows you have to address the whole person and their needs in order to address HIV as one of their health concerns,” she said.

Strathdee says unless this happens, countries will have to bear the heavy social and economic costs of AIDS.

In addition, Baeten says testing and treatment have to be available to everyone.

Also Read: Melania Trump Calls Opioid Epidemic The’ Worst Drug Crisis’ In American History

“The biggest thing that we’ve learned for preventing HIV in the last decades is that there is no magic bullet, but when you put a whole bunch of really good things together and it has exactly the kind of impact that a magic bullet can give you,” he said.

Scientists say using these tools, educating people and getting more people into treatment will reduce stigma, and then, when a vaccine comes along, we can finally put an end to AIDS. (VOA)

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Know How Higher Intake of Sodium Can Treat Lightheadedness

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

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"Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms," Juraschek said. Pixabay

Higher sodium intake should not be used as a treatment for lightheadedness, say researchers challenging current guidelines for sodium consumption.

Lightheadedness while standing, known as postural lightheadedness, results from gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults.

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

However, contrary to this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) found that higher sodium intake, actually increases dizziness.

“Our study has clinical and research implications,” said Stephen Juraschek, researcher from BIDMC in Boston.

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Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Pixabay

“Our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness. Additionally, our results demonstrate the need for additional research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness,” Juraschek said.

For the study, reported in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the team used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1500, 2300, and 3300 mg/d) on participants’ blood pressure for four weeks.

While the trial showed that lower sodium led to decrease in blood pressure, it also suggested that concerns about lower level of sodium causing dizziness may not be scientifically correct.

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The study also questioned recommendations to use sodium to treat lightheadedness, an intervention that could have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

“Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms,” Juraschek said.

“Clinicians should check on symptoms after initiation and even question the utility of this approach. More importantly, research is needed to understand the effects of sodium on physical function, particularly in older adults.” (IANS)