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Sexually transmitted diseases: One child or youth under 20 ‘infected with HIV every 100 seconds’

One child or youth under 20 infected with HIV every 100 seconds: UNICEF.

According to the data, nearly 3,20,000 children and adolescents were newly infected with HIV and 1,10,000 children died of AIDS last year.

Approximately once every minute and 40 seconds, a child or young person under the age of 20 were infected with HIV last year, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

Prevention efforts and treatment for children remain some of the lowest amongst key affected populations, and in 2019, a little less than half of the children worldwide did not have access to life-saving treatment, UNICEF said in a new report.

Nearly 3,20,000 children and adolescents were newly infected with HIV and 1,10,000 children died of AIDS last year, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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CHILDREN GETTING INFECTED AT ALARMING RATES

Speaking to the media, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that the children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. This was even before COVID-19 interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services putting countless more lives at risk.

According to UNICEF, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened inequalities in access to life-saving HIV services for children, adolescents, and pregnant mothers everywhere, and there are serious concerns that one-third of high HIV burden countries could face coronavirus-related disruptions.

Fore added that even as the world struggles in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the ravages of the HIV epidemic.

LACK OF PROPER MANAGEMENT OF HIV SERVICES

Data from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), cited in the report, showed the impact of control measures, supply chain disruptions, lack of personal protective equipment, and the redeployment of healthcare workers on HIV services.

Pediatric HIV treatment and viral load testing in children in some countries fell by 50 to 70 per cent, and new treatment initiation by 25 to 50 percent in April and May, coinciding with partial and full lockdowns to control the novel coronavirus.

Health facility deliveries and maternal treatment were also reported to have reduced by 20 to 60 per cent, maternal HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation by 25 to 50 per cent, and infant testing services by approximately 10 percent.

DEEP REGIONAL DISPARITIES PERSIST AMONG EVERYONE

Though the easing of control measures and the strategic targeting of children and pregnant mothers have successfully led to a rebound of services in recent months, challenges remain, and the world is still far from achieving the global 2020 pediatric HIV targets, said UNICEF.

Despite some progress in the decades-long fight against HIV and AIDS, deep regional disparities persist among all populations, especially for children.

While the Middle East and North Africa region recorded 81 percent pediatric ART coverage, only 46 per cent and 32 per cent were covered in Latin America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, respectively.

The South Asia region recorded 76 per cent coverage, Eastern and Southern Africa 58 per cent, and East Asia and the Pacific 50 per cent.

When there is so much about HIV, let's understand how HIV gets transmitted.

HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?

The person-to-person spread of HIV is called HIV transmission. People can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as through sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Pre-seminal fluids
  • Rectal fluids
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Breast milk

HIV transmission is only possible if these fluids come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or are directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe). Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.

HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION?

Anyone can get HIV, but you can take steps to protect yourself from HIV. Below listed are some of the measures which you can take to keep HIV at bay.

# Get tested for HIV

Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex. Use this testing locator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find an HIV testing location near you.

# Choose less risky sexual behaviors

HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or without taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Always use barriers, such as a condom while indulging in sexual activities.

# Limit your number of sexual partners

The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with poorly controlled HIV or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Both of these factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Apart from the above, also make sure to not let anyone inject syringes that are used. Personal hygiene and safety measures can ensure your good health. Also, here are some of the home remedies for STDs that can get transmitted during an unprotective sexual indulgence.

HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT STDs

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat STDs. But several natural remedies have been used for centuries to treat these STDs. Let's see some of them which can effectively reduce the symptoms of these STDs and help you fight the odds that may come with it.

# GARLIC

Garlic has a number of proven health benefits and has been a popular home remedy for centuries. Because of its antibacterial properties, garlic is used as a common home remedy for bacterial infections that lead to STDs.

# GOLDENSEAL

Goldenseal plant, also known as berberine or Hydrastis Canadensis L., is known for its antimicrobial properties. According to the studies, it can treat a number of conditions, including upper respiratory infections, canker sores. There are even some claims that goldenseal might treat STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia.

You can get goldenseal in capsule form for ingestion and also as creams for topical use. Before taking the capsule, consult a doctor or trained herbalist for the right dosage.

# TURMERIC

Turmeric has been shown to provide numerous health benefits. Curcumin, a plant chemical in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. All you need to do is to consume raw and organic turmeric on an empty stomach this will kill all the bacteria surviving in your body.

# APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Apple cider vinegar has several health benefits. It is also known as one of the best natural remedies for STDs. Apple cider vinegar can be taken orally or applied topically as a solution. The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar may help you, but be careful it's also highly acidic, which can irritate the delicate tissues of your genitals.

Some other natural treatments that can be useful in the treatment of sexually transmitted infections include colloidal silver and honey!

Colloidal silver can help reduce inflammation and promote healing of syphilitic lesions, and honey contains an enzyme (glucose oxidase) that helps kill bacteria.

A well-balanced nutrient-dense diet is recommended in all cases to ensure optimal health and strong immunity.

A diet low in trans and saturated fats, sugar, and refined foods are important.

NOTE: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are highly contagious and serious health conditions. If you see any of the above-mentioned symptoms, visit the doctor immediately for proper medication as early as possible. Also, the above-mentioned home remedies are all from nature but if you are planning to include them in your daily life, do inform your doctor about it. Stay safe, stay healthy!

(With inputs from agencies)

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