The first official reporting of HIV was made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on June 5, 1981. It was at this time that HIV was discovered, as five gay men were diagnosed with auto-immune deficiency disorders. Days after the report came a flood of similar diagnoses, and research efforts were made to understand and treat it.
In addition, a negative stigma was born out of homophobia and the national attention of this disease that seemed to impact mostly gay men. After decades of battling such stigmas and discrimination, much of the world has come to accept the LGBT community, and treatment for a previously untreatable disease is now available. Now, there can be an attitude of hope for those with HIV, an important factor in fighting any chronic disease.
Though it remains a global issue, this progress was due to the efforts and attention made to fight HIV and AIDS in men. The resulting problem, however, is that HIV does not exclusively affect men. As reported by the Telegraph, the dilemma now is that women have been largely left out of the treatment and awareness for this disease.
The article is based on a report by the Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity dedicated to eradicating HIV in the U.K. The charity helped with No Longer Invisible: Women and HIV, a project dedicated to “set out clear recommendations for policy and service development to ensure that greater focus is given to women affected by HIV.”
According to the charity’s research, “women make up one third of people living with HIV in the UK, yet are left out of research, decision-making and service design and delivery.” Other key findings of the report include the following:
- Slightly less than half (45%) of women living with HIV live below the poverty line.
- More than half of women living with HIV in the UK have experienced violence due to their HIV diagnosis.
- Almost one third (31%) of women have avoided or delayed going to healthcare because of fear of discrimination.
- Almost half of those surveyed (42%) said that barriers prevent them from testing for HIV.
In an effort to help improve this issue, No Longer Invisible: Women and HIV came out with five key tasks that sum up the changes needed to make a difference. These changes include achieving gender parity, ensuring that HIV research addresses gaps in education and awareness, striving to reduce the late diagnosis of HIV in women, improve data on HIV in women, and invest in HIV support services specific to women.
Fortunately, most of these solutions are typically a question of awareness and knowing when to get tested for STDs. According to Medical News Today, there have been positive patterns finding that consistent treatment for HIV helps to prevent transmission among men, as well as the development of more accurate and efficient HIV tests. Applying the same treatments and healing processes to women can help similarly lower the rates of transmission.
With the help of organizations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust, sexual health awareness and treatments for the disease can continue to grow. A couple decades ago, there seemed to be no hope for the treatment of HIV. Today, it can be treated with a once-a-week pill. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring a more permanent solution for everyone.
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Guest Author Bio
Geo Sique is a writer from Boise, ID with a bachelor’s’ degrees in Communication and French and a background in journalism. When she’s not travelling outside Idaho, she loves rock climbing, hot springs, camping, and exploring the world around her.
Website: Georgette Siqueiros