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December 1st is World AIDS Day, and one topic is certain: AIDS can be treated better and better all over the world, but still one in two people worldwide does not know that he / she is infected - in Europe, every seventh person.
No help without knowledge
Therapy advances, especially in AIDS research: British researchers achieve a cure. In order to undergo therapy that keeps the virus in check, it is still essential to know your own infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is therefore calling for self-tests - although they are illegal in Germany.
37 million infected
The WHO estimates that 37 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus, of which 18.2 million are on antiretroviral drugs. These prevent the infection from becoming a broken down immune deficiency. The other 18.8 million mostly do not know that they are infected.
The risk of death increases
The later the infection is discovered, the greater the risk of dying from AIDS. In 2015, the disease was fatal to 1.1 million people.
In 2015, the WHO demanded: AIDS should be ended by 2030. The WHO's goal today is: in 3 years, 90% of those infected should know about their infection, 90% of the people diagnosed will be treated positively, and the virus should be suppressed in 90% of those treated.
What tests are there?
Today's tests reliably detect antibodies in blood, saliva and urine. Confirmation from the doctors is necessary, however, because laypeople easily make mistakes in their use.
Men are carefree
Men in particular are rarely tested. This is a particular problem in Africa because AIDS is mostly transmitted through heterosexual traffic. But even in Europe and America, men hardly go to the test despite being informed about the virus.
In Europe and America, homosexual contact between men is the greatest risk of infection.
Teenage girls are one of the most vulnerable groups worldwide. Nevertheless, in South and East Africa in particular, where young women are infected up to eight times more often than men, too few of those affected go to the test.
Key groups suppress the danger
Tests are also hardly widespread among the main risk groups, sex workers and users who inject drugs. In Greece, for example, there was an increase in HIV infections among drug users.
No all-clear for Europe
AIDS is now much easier to contain than at the beginning of the disease. However, the infections do not decrease in any way: in 2015, 27,022 people in Western Europe were newly infected with the virus.
Groups that particularly ignore the danger are teenagers and partners of people infected with HIV. Teenagers lacked “alarmism” during the first wave of AIDS deaths in the 1980s and paid less attention to “safe sex” than the generation of teenagers at the time.
Little affected in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe as a whole is still little affected, but the number of infections increases proportionally, in 2015 it was 5,297. Homosexual men are particularly affected, who are also exposed to persecution in countries such as Poland, making open education impossible.
Former Soviet Union is a crisis region
The countries of the former Soviet Union developed into a hot spot of infection. In 2015, doctors diagnosed 121,088 new HIV infections there, and an 80% increase in the outbreak of the disease. Above all, there is a lack of prevention options for vulnerable groups such as homosexuals, prisoners and drug users. All of these groups are socially excluded.
The development in Germany is positive
The situation is relatively good in Germany: 72,000 of an estimated 84,700 infected people are aware of their infection, and 60,700 of them take antiretroviral drugs. In 2015, “only” around 460 people died - out of 1.1 million worldwide. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)