The study found that someone aged 20 or older on ART in the U.S or Canada is now expected to live into their early 70s – a life expectancy that’s approaching that of the general population. However, the study also found that if a 20-year-old is a man, and starts HIV treatment early with a CD4 count at or above 350, they can expect to live an additional 69 years, or to approximately 89 years old, 10-12 years longer than the general population.
Dr. Gary Blick, Chief Medical Officer of World Health Clinicians and co-founder of HIV Equal, says this is clear evidence of the success of newer and improved HIV drugs:
“One of the main reasons for the increase in life expectancy above that of the general population has everything to do with knowing your HIV status…If you are diagnosed with HIV and get in and stay in care, you will get better monitoring and treatment than someone in the general population who might otherwise not seek medical attention. The only sobering fact is that large differences in life expectancy still continue to persist in certain patient sub-groups, such as between MSM and intravenous drug users or other HIV risk groups, as well as between Caucasians and all other races. We need to better understand the specific reasons for these life expectancy differences and improvements”.
How can this actually be?
Doctors say it’s mainly due to the incredible pharmacological advances that have been made in how the virus is treated and managed. “Highly active antiretroviral therapy” have resulted in being able to maintain the infected person’s immune system and therefore prevent the opportunistic infections that resulted in the development of AIDS and led to death. This medication usually involves taking 1-2 tablets a day.
Another reason for the increased life expectancy is that a person infected with HIV goes to the doctor to get their blood checked every 4 months, which can mean they’re more likely to catch other diseases that they wouldn’t have caught had they not seen a doctor.
According to Dr. Pemberton, the people who became dangerously unwell with the disease “are often immigrants who have been infected for years, and present to hospital late with the kind of infections that we no longer see in those on medication.”
This underscores the importance of catching HIV early and getting on treatment as soon as possible.
According to AIDS Map, transmission mostly occurs when people don’t know they have it. When HIV infected people are on medication, they become far less likely to transmit it to others.
While we still haven’t found a cure for HIV/AIDS, we shouldn’t ignore the miraculous advancement western medicine has made in treating people with the disease.
Dr. Pembertion says it best:
“HIV/Aids wards and specialist units have closed simply because there is no longer the volume of patients to fill them. This is a hugely encouraging fact, which would have seemed impossible to those who stood, in the 1980s and 1990s, as friends, family and loved ones faded away while doctors stood by utterly helpless. What is truly startling is the speed with which medicine responded to HIV.”
It’s not clear whether the lion on top was exerting dominance over the other lion or was responding to the lack of attention received from the female lioness, although park director Cheryl Williams subsequently said she believes the two male lions are just playing in a boisterous way.
It’s not the first time that male lions have been spotted having sex. Rob the Ranger captured the following video in South Africa, although clarifies in the caption to the video that the mounting is a show of affection rather than an indication of the lions being gay. See for yourself:
Another video captured male lions having sex at Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2008, with the caption “being such social animals, homosexuality is a common thing among lions.”
If you had to narrow down everything that’s important to you in one tweet, would you be able to do it?
This was the challenge set forth by one scientist on Twitter this week, and hundreds of scientists have leapt at the chance to explain what is most interesting about their work and why it matters.
It’s provided a fascinating glimpse into what scientists think the world should know about their work during a time when it seems the role of science in the United States is becoming increasingly politicized.
It all began with this tweet from Dalton Ludwick, a doctoral researcher in entomology.
If you could have the entire world know just one thing about your field of study, then what would it be? #MyOneScienceTweet
Vaccinations are one of the most incredible inventions from modern medicine. They have eradicated lethal diseases that have previously wrecked havoc on humanity.
And yet, despite doctor’s reassurance and evidence that cites the safety and value of vaccination, many educated, dedicated parents are still wary of vaccines.
Although national immunization rate has been stable over the past decade, it’s still below the government’s goal of 80%.
In certain areas, some parents are delaying shots for their kids or skipping ones altogether, citing religious or philosophical exemptions.
As a consequence, there have been recent outbreaks of serious diseases that vaccines had virtually wiped out in the U.S, including measles, mumps, whopping cough and haemophilus influenza type b.
Disease specialists say these cases are due to what’s known as the “herd immunity”. If a community is to be fully protected against a disease, 80 to 90 percent of its population needs to be vaccinated.
Whenever coverage drops below that level, a school, a church or a neighborhood becomes susceptible. Babies who aren’t old enough to get the shot are at the most risk.
The Council of Foreign Relations have released an interactive map showing the horrible outcome of not getting vaccinated, which now published on the Vaccines Work website.
This interactive map gives a gut sinking tour of global outbreaks of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough from 2008-2017. These diseases have fatal consequences, yet are easily prevented by vaccines.
The majority of these deaths occur in impoverished regions with very little access to vaccines. In the case of developed countries like US or UK, they shouldn’t be occurring at all.
The Big Fear
Why do some parents object to getting their kid vaccinated? The most common answer is: autism.
Many people believe that the increase number of vaccines -children now get twice as many as they did in 1980 and can receive up to 20 injections by their first birthday – are to blame for the rise in kids with autism spectrum disorders.
This idea became well known when Andrew Wakefield, M.D, a British gastroenterologist, published a study of 12 children in the Lancet that linked the measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccine with intestinal problems that he believed led to autism.
The vaccine-autism hypothesis was solidly in the mainstream by the time actress Jenny McCarhy went public with her belief that vaccines cause her son’s autism. This was enough to scare any Mother.
However, at least 7 large studies in major medical journals have found no association between the MMR vaccine and ASD.
Also, the Lancet officially retracted Dr. Wakefield’s original paper (as he has failed to disclose connections to lawyers involved in vaccine litigation).
Furthermore, several demographic analyses have found that autism rates continued to rise after thimerosal was removed from all vaccines, except flu shots.
So, why are there so many reports of children developing autism after getting vaccinated?
Experts believe it’s almost certainly coincidental. Children get their first dose of the MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months, the age at which autism symptoms become noticeable, says Paul Offit, M.D., director of the vaccine education center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the author of Autism’s False Profits: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. “It’s the same reason why there are reports of SIDS deaths after DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) immunizations,” says Dr. Offit. “Infants start the DTaP vaccine between 2 and 6 months, which is the time they’re also most likely to die from SIDS.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks when it comes to vaccines. However, the risks far outweigh the cons. Doctors say the odds of experiencing a vaccine-related injury are greatly outweighed by the dangers of catching a vaccine-related injury.
For example, the DTaP vaccine causes seizures or temporary shock-like state in 1 in 14,000 people, and acute encephalitis (brain swelling) in 11 in 1 million. But the diseases it prevents – diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis – are fatal in 1 in 20 cases, 1 in 10 cases and 1 in 1,500 cases, respectively.