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Human Immunodeficiency virus(HIV) has claimed 32 million lives worldwide since it was first detected in the 1980s. By the end of 2018, approximately 38 million people were living with Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome(AIDS) globally while 1.7 million new infections were recorded in the same year itself.


The good news is that in the last 18 years since the beginning of 2000, several positive steps have been taken towards controlling AIDS. Statistics are proof. While new infections reduced by 35%, AIDS deaths went down by 45% and 13.6 million people around the world were saved from the clutches of this deadly disease due to antiretroviral therapy (ART). This has been possible with countries stepping up the ante on their national AIDS programmes and encouraging the participation of NGOs in the fight against this deadly disease.

AIDS and its transmission

HIV is known to target the immune system gradually lowering the capability of your body to fight against infections. Exchange of body fluids from an HIV infected person is enough to transmit the disease. A new born baby can also get infected from an HIV positive mother. The infected person might be completely unaware in the absence of any distinct symptoms. Infection is accompanied by fever, rash, headache or a sore throat. AIDS is a condition that develops if this HIV infection goes untreated for 2 to 15 years. Initial AIDS symptoms include swelling of the lymph nodes, losing weight, fever, loose motions and cough. If AIDS treatment is not provided in time, patients develop tuberculosis (TB), cryptococcal meningitis, complex bacterial infections and life threatening cancers.


Activities which increase the risk of patients to contract the disease and develop their very first AIDS symptoms include:


  • unprotected sex
  • a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as syphilis, herpes, gonorrhoea etc.
  • injury due to a needle prick, especially among health workers
  • sharing an infected needle, syringe or any such equipment
  • an unsafe medical procedure such as a blood transfusion or tissue transplant

The road to treatment success

A CD4 cell count is one of the earliest diagnostic tests to undergo if you notice any of the AIDS symptoms mentioned above. It detects antibodies produced by your immune system in response to HIV and helps in getting the patient started on AIDS treatment. This is a crucial step in the battle against the disease and it is commendable how with the concerted scientific efforts worldwide, antiretrovirals (ARVs) have emerged as an effective treatment for AIDS.


It was in 1987 that the first ARV was approved and by 1995 they were being prescribed for AIDS treatment in different combinations since single use benefitted only in the short term. In 1996, 60 to 80% reduction in AIDs related deaths was reported using 3 ARVs. This came to be known as highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART).


High costs complicated the efficacy of treatment and generic production of ARVs began to increase the access to those most affected by the disease. UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) was established in 1996.The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals for controlling AIDS in 2000 with a three pronged strategy -prevention of HIV infection in young people, improved HIV testing and standard care for those living with AIDS . In 2002, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was set up as the financial arm to pool resources for the battle against AIDS.


The National AIDS Control Organisation(NACO) was set up in India in 1992 and its work has been quite the success story. Today, new infections have come down by a whopping 80% percent and mortality due to AIDS is down by 79%. While globally, an average reduction of 47% in HIV infections and 51% in death due to HIV has been recorded. Given its track record in controlling AIDS, the cabinet earlier this year approved continuation of the National AIDS control programme for 3 years.


Unhealthy lifestyles are giving rise to the increased incidence of communicable and non-communicable disease. Rising healthcare costs including medicines can increase your financial burden. In such a scenario, it makes sense to protect yourself with health insurance and be prepared for what the future has to offer.


Health insurance available on Bajaj Markets provides financial assistance of up to 50 lacs and allows you to make cashless payments in more than 6500 hospitals all over India. There is no hassle of going through a medical check-up before applying for it. It also comes with maternity benefits and supports ayurvedic and homeopathic treatment with its well-rounded approach towards your health.


You can opt for an individual health insurance or a family cover available on Bajaj Markets at nominal rates per month. A top-up facility is also available to help provide you with additional cover. A smooth claim settlement process and an impressive settlement record should put all your doubts to rest. Quick online policy renewal is just the cherry on the cake!

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