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Benefits Of Drinking Water

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Benefits Of Drinking Water

Benefits Of Drinking Water –

* Helps To Lose Weight
* Healthy Skin
* Fights Infection
* Get Rid Of Body Toxins
* Healthy Heart
* Prevent Joint Pains & Arthritis
* Boost Energy
* Prevent Constipation
* Reduce Risk Of Cancer
* Improves Productivity

 

Choose the Right Tooth Paste

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog, Doctor's Articles | Comments Off

Choose the Right Tooth Paste

The humble toothpaste makes its way into all our grocery lists. But how many of us are truly informed about this hygiene essential, is a different story altogether. The earliest toothpastes originated in India, Egypt and China. They were made of flower petals, salt and water mixed into a thick paste and rubbed onto teeth using twigs of medicinal plants.

Modern day toothpastes have a base of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide along with various other additives which cater to a variety of dental requirements.

Types Of Toothpastes

Just the number of options you have when you buy a tube of toothpaste can be overwhelming. Should you go for tartar control or fluoride or both? Not to mention whitening toothpastes or formulas with all natural ingredients. When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for you, it’s important to think about your unique oral health needs.

Fluoride Toothpaste
Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starch that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It works in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and therefore it is less likely to suffer acid damage. Second, it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by re-mineralising areas that have started to deca.

Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth

For people who have teeth that are easily irritated – for instance, by hot or cold temperatures – there are toothpastes that are specially formulated for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes usually contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These chemical compounds, which can take up to four weeks to offer relief, reduce tooth sensitivity by blocking pathways through the teeth that attach to nerves.

Whitening Toothpaste

To help people on a quest for pearly whites, many whitening toothpastes are now being marketed for everyday use. Whitening toothpastes do not typically contain bleaches. Instead, they contain abrasive particles or chemicals that effectively polish the teeth or bind to stains and help pull them off the tooth surface. Although you might be concerned that the abrasiveness of whitening toothpastes could damage your teeth, studies suggest that whitening toothpastes are no harder on tooth enamel than other types of toothpastes.

Choosing The Best Toothpaste
  • Opt for IDA approval. Whatever be your toothpaste needs, be sure to select the toothpaste that has earned the Indian Dental Association seal of approval. IDA approved toothpastes are evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board of scientific experts.
  • All toothpastes with the IDA seal of approval contain fluoride – the most important ingredient in any toothpaste.
  • Consider your needs and the needs of your family members. As long as you select a fluoride containing toothpaste, the best toothpaste is a matter of personal choice and preference.
  • If you’re committed to an all-natural lifestyle, you may want to opt for IDA-approved toothpastes that contain only natural ingredients.
  • If you are trying to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children, why not choose fruit-flavoured toothpastes with sparkles to entice them to brush their teeth?
  • If you are seeking to restore whiteness in your teeth, you must opt for whitening toothpastes that contain appropriate whitening ingredients.

Concerns on the abrasiveness of whitening toothpastes apart, studies suggest that whitening toothpastes are no harder on tooth enamel than other types of toothpaste.

——————————-

Dr Pradeep Reddy,

In-charge, Apollo Dental Centre,

Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

What is Puberty

Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog, Doctor's Articles | 1 comment

What is Puberty

What is Puberty?

Puberty is the transition phase from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. During puberty, changes occur in the body, both on the outside as well as inside,  in preparation for having children in the future.

 

What are the early signs of puberty in a girl?

The first sign of puberty in a girl is the development and change in appearance of the breast, which is initially felt like a small breast bud. This is usually followed by growth of pubic hair and then axillary hair. In some children, however, hair growth can occur before breast development.

 

What are the early signs of puberty in a boy?

The first sign of puberty in a boy is enlargement of the testes and increase in penile length and size of scrotum. This is followed by growth of pubic hair and axillary hair.

 

When does puberty start?

Pubertal changes in girls are seen between 8-13yrs of age. In boys pubertal changes are seen a little later between 9 to 14yrs of age.

 

What is early puberty?

If the normal pubertal changes are noticed before 8yrs in a girl or 9yrs in a boy, it is considered as early puberty. Early puberty can affect the final height of the child as growth may start earlier, but also end earlier and the child may be shorter than expected.

If a child matures or has physical changes of puberty earlier than his/her peers, this could lead to  adjustment issues and psychological problems.

 

What is delayed puberty?

If there are no body changes of puberty by age 13yrs in a girl and 14yrs in a boy, this is considered as delayed puberty.

 

What do I do if I see early signs of puberty in my child?

If you are concerned or worried that your child shows signs of pubertal changes at an earlier age than expected, then you should contact your Pediatrician or a Pediatric Endocrinologist to evaluate your child. You should also consult your doctor if your child is not showing signs of pubertal development as expected for age.

——————————

Dr Leenatha Reddy,
Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

CONJUCTIVITIS

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog, Eyes, General Health | Comments Off

CONJUCTIVITIS

INTRODUCTION

Also known as “Pink eye” is a common condition that causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer that covers the front of the eye i.e. the conjunctiva. Symptoms include mild pain with redness of eyes, discharge, itching, and stickiness of lashes on waking up in the morning. Normally conjunctivitis takes around 2-3 weeks to completely subside, depending on the severity.

CAUSES OF CONJUNCTIVITIS

Bacterial conjunctivitis: Highly contagious. Rapid onset of redness, lid swelling and mucopurulent discharge. Typically starts in one eye and then spreads to the other eye in 2-5 days duration.

Viral conjunctivitis: Often associated with an infection of the respiratory tract, common cold or sore throat. Associated with watery discharge, and mild itching. Highly contagious in nature.

Allergic conjunctivitis: Presents with redness of eyes, watering and severe itching. Common allergens include pollen from flowers and dust. This type of conjunctivitis is NOT contagious.

TREATMENT OF CONJUNCTIVITIS

Treatment in cases of bacterial conjunctivitis includes topical antibiotic eye drops and antibiotic eye ointment at bedtime.

Treatment in cases of viral conjunctivitis includes liberal amounts of lubricating eye drops.

Treatment in allergic conjunctivitis includes cold compresses to eyes, antihistaminic and mast cell stabilizer eye drops, lubricants, and topical steroids in cases of severe allergic conjunctivitis.

DOs and DONTs in CONJUCTIVITIS:

Avoid touching or rubbing the infected eye.

Avoid use of eye makeup and stop using contact lenses.

Frequently wash hands with soap and warm water

Avoid sharing articles like face towels and pillows or eye makeup like eyeliners with an infected person.

 

Dr. Rachna Vinaya Kumar, MBBS, MS, FAICO, FICO

Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Squint specialist, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad

Why is breakfast important?

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Why is breakfast important?

“Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Beggar”

Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast – that’s where its name originates, breaking the fast!  Without breakfast you are effectively running on empty, like trying to start the car with no petrol!

Nutritionists advise that breakfast should be eaten within two hours of waking

People’s energy needs vary depending on activity levels and life stage but typically men require more energy than women.  Growing children require a lot of energy, as an example boys aged 7-10yrs should consume approx. 1970 kcals per day, and girls aged 7-10yrs should consume approx. 1740 kcals.  For adults, men require approx. 2500 kcals and women approx. 2000 kcals per day.

“Eating breakfast has long term health benefits.  It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Breakfast is an excellent occasion to eat together as a family when possible.  Establishing good breakfast habits in childhood and maintaining them throughout adolescence may be an important factor in reducing the prevalence of breakfast skipping and developing good eating habits that last a lifetime.

Happy New Year 2016

Posted by on Jan 1, 2016 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Party Smart & Party Happy

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Apollo Health Blog, General Health | Comments Off

Party Smart & Party Happy

You may sometimes need reasons to drink lavishly & if it’s New Year Party Time then you don’t need reasons to start. Having drinks lavishly lead to several liver problems. Symptoms won’t show up & later on lead to serious problems.

‘Party Smart & Party Happy’ don’t lose control, you need to drive / go back home safe. Now-a-days teenagers & youngsters between the age group of 18-30 yrs, are seen mostly in hospitals on the day after partying with many health problems. If you are going to party in the night ensure you have a healthy light meal whole day, it would compensate your heavy meal or drinks of the night..

World Health Organization states that men can shouldn’t consume more than 21 units & women 14 units of liquor  per week.

Don’ts:

  1. Never mix up drinks on your own
  2. Don’t over eat
  3. Don’t lose self-control
  4. Don’t drive when you are drunk

Do’s:

  1. Healthy breakfast & add fruits to your lunch and ensure its light.
  2. Carry less cash / or keep a limit in your card so that you will not over drink
  3. Hire a driver in advance
  4. Keep family members informed about your party venue & expected time of return.

Total Hip Replacement

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Apollo Health Blog, Doctor's Articles, Joints & Bones | Comments Off

Total Hip Replacement

Healthy Hip Joint:

  • Hip joint is formed by head of the femur (Thigh Bone) and cup like acetabulum of the pelvis. The upper end of the thigh bone is shaped like ball which snugly fits into the socket (Acetabulum) of pelvis bone.
  • The ball and cup of the hip joint is lined with smooth firm material cartilage, which cushions and allows smooth movement.
  • The joint is also lined with synovial membrane which produces joint fluid.
  • The ball of the thigh bone has a precarious blood supply, so any trivial trauma or insult can cause avascular necrosis of the femoral head.

Causes of hip pain: Damaged or Arthritic Hip

When the cartilage lining of normal joint wears or gets worn out it may result in pain and stiffness in the hip.

The cartilage may be damaged by

  • Ageing: a result of natural wear and tear which is termed as Osteoarthritis of hip.
  • Avascular necrosis of femoral head.
  • Injury / fractures around hip joint.
  • Diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, etc.
  • In some individuals genetic factors may also predispose to early damage to cartilage.

OSTEOARTHRITIS OF HIP JOINT (OA):

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is commonly seen in elderly, above the age of 50 years. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by wear and tear of the cartilage. As cartilage wears off the ends of bone rub against each other causing pain and stiffness. A young individual can develop secondary osteoarthritis due to trauma or diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis etc.

AVASCULAR NECROSIS OF FEMORAL HEAD:

Avascular Necrosis is a condition in which there is loss of blood supply to the bone due to fracture or vascular damage.  Avascular necrosis of femoral head can occur following trauma, using certain medicines and some medical diseases. As a result bone cells in the head of femur dies, then collapses, the joint is destroyed and patient develops painful and stiff joint. This can take 2-8 years to develop, but can happen at an early age too.

The most common causes of Avascular Necrosis of femoral head are:

1. Trauma: Fractures and dislocations

2. Non Traumatic causes:

  • Alcohol abuse,
  • Use of steroids
  • Certain blood disorders

TREATMENT OPTIONS:

When medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment fails to relieve pain, total hip replacement may be recommended by surgeon.

How will Hip replacement help you?

  1. Improvement of quality of life
  2. Significant pain relief
  3. Mobility is increased.
  4. Help to lead independent and comfortable life

Most of the replaced hip joints last for 10 to 15 years and patient can have pain free life

Getting ready for Hip Replacement Surgery:

A. Medical evaluation:  You will be asked to undergo complete health check-up. They will help you to identify the conditions that would interfere with your hip surgery.

B. Cardiac Evaluation: Cardiologist will evaluate you by checking blood pressure, getting ECG and 2D echo. He may order special tests like Dobutamine stress echo or Stress Thalium if necessary to know the status of heart.

C. Tests: Lab tests include Blood, urine and cardiac tests.

D. Preparing your Hip: Surgeon examines your Hip prior to the surgery. There should be no skin infection, wounds around the Hip and skin should be clean.

E. Others: You should be in good general condition prior to planned date of surgery. There should not be any fever, generalized weakness etc. You should inform doctor about any blood thinning drugs like Ecospirin, Clopidrogrel if any prior so that you will be advised to stop them at least week before the surgery. You should also inform about any procedures on tooth, urinary tract, eyes that are scheduled during perioperative period.

F. Anaesthetic evaluation: after getting all the blood tests and cardiologist opinion you will be examined by anaesthetist. He will evaluate you and gives you fitness for giving anaesthesia and advices different modalities of pain relief during postoperative period.

 SURGERY:

On the day before surgery:

  • You will be admitted in the hospital or asked to come directly to the hospital on the planned day of surgery.
  • You need to take the medications as advised by the anaesthetist.
  • You should have light dinner without much oil and spices and plenty of water. You should start fasting from 11PM on the day before surgery till further advice.
  • You should give consent and sign an informed consent.
  • Follow you anaesthetist and surgeons orders if any given to you in writing.
  • Have a neat shower.

On the day of surgery:

  • You should be on fasting, take your regular blood pressure and thyroid medications if any with sips of water at around 6 AM.
  • You can have a plain shower bath
  • Limb to be operated will be marked by the surgeon.
  • You will be shifted to operation theatre half hour prior to surgery.
  • Anaesthetist will evaluate once again and prepares you for giving you anaesthesia.

Anaesthesia:

Most of the Hip replacement surgeries are carried under Epidural and General anaesthesia. In rare cases when a patient is not fit for general anaesthesia, Hip replacement is performed under Spinal anaesthesia. Postoperative pain relief is achieved by continuous Lumbar epidural pump.

Total hip replacement surgery:

Total Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which damaged bone and cartilage is removed and replaced with prosthetic components.

There are 2 main components used in total hip replacement:

  1. The acetabular shell replaces the hip socket
  2. The femoral stem and head replaces the worn out top of femur

There are two types of Hip replacement

  1. Cemented Hip replacement
  2. Uncemented Hip replacement

 

Cemented Hip Replacement:

The damaged femoral head is removed and thigh bone medullary canal is prepared to take the femoral stem component. Bone cement is used to fix the femoral stem. A metallic ball is inserted on the top of the stem.

The damaged lining of cup (acetabulum) is removed by using special reamers. A plastic cup mimicking the original anatomy is fixed using bone cement.

The artificial joint is relocated and supporting tissues around the hip are sutured back.

 Uncemented Hip Replacement:

The damaged femoral head is removed and thigh bone medullary canal is prepared to take femoral component. The femoral stem is made to press fit into the bone

The artificial head is available in two materials – 1. Metallic head; 2. Ceramic head

The damaged lining of cup (acetabulum) is removed by using special reamers. A metallic cup mimicking the original anatomy is fixed using press fit and sometimes augmented with screws.  There are three types of liners which can be inserted into the metallic cup:

1. Plastic liner; 2. Ceramic liner; 3. Metallic liner

After inserting appropriate liner the artificial joint is relocated and supporting tissues around the hip are sutured back.

There are various combinations of head and liners to make up new joint

1. Metal on metal; 2. Metal on poly; 3. Metal on ceramic; 4. Ceramic on ceramic

 

RECOVERY IN HOSPITAL:  POSTOPERATIVE PERIOD

First 24 hours:

  • Immediately after Hip surgery you would be shifted to ICU (intensive care unit) and observed for at least for 24 hours.
  • After a day you will be shifted to ward of your choice.

First postoperative day:

  • On the bed you are advised to perform deep breathing exercises.
  • Ankle pump and static quadriceps exercises on the bed.
  • Gentle mobilization on bed with legs hanging down the bed and knee movement exercises.
  • If you are strong enough you would be made to stand.
  • Cemented hip replacement: walking with full weight on operated leg with walker.
  • Uncemented Hip Replacement: Walking without weight on operated leg with walker.
  • You will be shifted to ward.

Second Postoperative day:

  • To continue the exercises on bed and walking with help of walker.
  • Drain tubes urinary catheter will be removed on the second day.
  • You need to take plenty of fluids and regular diet.

Third Postoperative day :

  • Depending on speed of your recovery discharge would be planned.
  • The dressing on the hip is changed to simple dressing.
  • You are advised to continue exercises and walking, gradually increasing the pace.

Fourth postoperative day:

  • Some patients with slow recovery are discharged on 4th postoperative day.

Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will be helped to achieve:

  • Getting in and out of the bed independently.
  • Walking with the help of walker.
  • Using toilet or commode chair

DISCHARGE ADVICE:

RECOVERY AT HOME

You should continue to stay active when you are at home for full recovery. However remember not to overdo it. You will observe gradual improvement and increased endurance over the next 6 to 12 months.

Tips to make you return home comfortable:

  1. Planning your work:

You will be able to walk on crutches or a walker soon after surgery. But you will need help for many weeks with tasks like cooking, shopping, bathing and doing laundry. Make advance arrangements to have someone assist at home.

  1. Home planning:

Before going for surgery, follow the steps given below to make your recovery at home easier.

  • Fix safety bars in your shower or bathroom.
  • Secure your stairways for support and safety.
  • Keep a stable chair, for your early recovery period, with firm cushion, firm back, two arm, and footstool for leg elevation.
  • If you have low toilet seat, fix a seat raiser with arms.
  • Walking up or down the stairs within you pain limits and depending on your recovery.

DO’S AND DONT’S DURING YOUR RECOVERY.

DO’S

  • Keep the wound area clean.
  • If your wound appears red or begins to drain, inform your doctor.
  • Check temperature regularly and inform your doctor if it exceeds above normal
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you have calf pain, chest pain, or shortness of breath.
  • Practice / initiate regular walking using crutches or walker.
  • Perform exercises to strengthen calf and thigh muscles.
  • Keep pillow between the legs if you want to turn to one side.

DONT’S

  • Do not bend.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • Do not squat or sit on the ground.
  • Do not play high impact sports.
  • Do not jog, run or jump.
  • Avoid gaining weight as it can hasten wear and tear of the implant.
  • Do not shower or bath until the sutures are removed.

 

—————————————————————————————

Dr.A. Mohan Krishna M.B.B.S M.S. Orthopaedics, MCh Orth (U.K)

Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon,

Specialization: Trauma, Joint Replacements, Arthroscopy,

Super Specialization: Paediatric Orthopaedics, Bone tumor surgery,

Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

 

*** To book Appointment with Doctor for Consultation click here

Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment of Flu

Posted by on Dec 13, 2015 in Apollo Health Blog, General Health | Comments Off

Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment of Flu

“Aaaaaanchuuuu” *snif snif*  well winter is coming, so is christmas & the new years eve, with all of this, comes our yearly guest – the flu! So here is a little bit about what it is and how to keep your self well protected from this bug.

The flu – short form of the in-flu-enza virus is actually a bug – a virus, causing an infectious disease better known in its milder form to us as the ‘common cold’. With people sneezing, coughing and a runny nose to severe forms of lung and throat infections resulting in hospitalisation – it can cause it all !

Symptoms seen usually start with symptoms of low grade fever in the mornings to high temperatures during evening to night hours, a cold, some cough with a runny nose or sometimes even diarrhoea especially in children. Other features may include fatigue, body ache and rashes.

Usually it is self limiting illness, as it’s a viral infection and because of our god-gifted immune system – the bug is killed and the patient recovers in a couple of days.

More severe forms of disease are seen in patients with other co-existing diseases like asthma, lung disorders, extremes of age or with much more virulent strains of the influenza virus – like the infamous – swine flu. (influenza a h1n1)

So how do i protect myself?

Well to understand this we need to understand how this bug spreads –

The influenza virus can be spread in three main ways:

  • By direct transmission (when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person);
  • The airborne route (when someone inhales the aerosols produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting) and through
  • Others like – hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a hand-shake.

 

So protecting ourselves from this virus requires us to start right from our personal hygiene level, doing things like

  • Not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with bare hands / uncleaned.
  • Frequent hand washing (with soap and water, or with alcohol-based hand rubs)
  • covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people; and
  • Staying home yourself if you are sick.
  • Avoiding spitting is also recommended.
  • Cleaning surfaces with alcohol is an effective sanitizer against influenza viruses, while ammonium compounds can be used with alcohol so that the sanitizing effect lasts for longer.
  • In hospitals, quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach are used to sanitize rooms or equipment that have been occupied by patients with influenza symptoms.
  • At home, this can be done effectively with diluted chlorine bleach.
  • When small numbers of people are infected, isolating the sick might reduce the risk of transmission.

Prevention:

Available in the market are vaccines for the human Influenza A and B with strains of H1N1 as well.

Taking the vaccine is recommended for health care workers, teachers, and patients with other coexisting illnesses amongst others so as to prevent spread of this disease.

Treatment:

People with the flu are advised to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of liquids, avoid using alcohol and tobacco and, if necessary, take medications such as paracatemol to relieve the fever and muscle aches associated with the flu

Antibiotics have no effect on the infection; unless prescribed for secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia. Antiviral medication may be effective. If given early, but some strains of influenza can show resistance to the standard antiviral drugs but maybe tried in severe cases like oseltamivir.

According to the world health organization: “every winter, tens of millions of people get the flu. Most are only ill and out of work for a week, yet the elderly are at a higher risk of death from the illness.

Stay safe!

 

———————————————

DR SHAEQ MIRZA MD. Dip Diab.

CONSULTANT PHYSICIAN,

APOLLO HYDERGUDA, HYDERABAD

WORLD AIDS DAY

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Apollo Health Blog, Doctor's Articles | Comments Off

WORLD AIDS DAY

It’s been more than 30 years since a disease now called AIDS was first recognized in the United States. Back then, it was considered a death sentence. No treatments were available, its cause was unknown, and people often died within a few months after being diagnosed. Today, people infected with HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—can live full, healthy lives.

The world  is poised to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 – provided it can accelerate the pace of progress achieved globally over the past 15 years, according to a new  World Health Organization (WHO) report. By 2014, the number of HIV deaths was reduced by 42% – from a peak of more than 2 million in 2004 to an estimated 1.2 million.

The terms HIV and AIDS can be confusing, because they’re related but different. HIV is a virus that harms your immune system by invading and then destroying your infection-fighting white blood cells. AIDS is the final stage of an untreated HIV infection. People with AIDS can have a range of symptoms, because their weakened immune systems put them at risk for life-threatening infections and cancers.

If you get a diagnosis of HIV infection, and you begin antiretroviral therapy in a timely fashion, before your immune system becomes substantially compromised, your prognosis is excellent,” says Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIH’s infectious disease chief, who first began treating AIDS patients in the early 1980s. Studies show that with early treatment, HIV levels may become so low that the virus becomes undetectable in the blood. That lengthens life and reduces the risk of spreading HIV to others. If those who are infected stay on therapy, they can save their own lives and also help keep HIV from infecting their sexual partners.

Some people avoid getting tested because they’re afraid of the possibility of being HIV-positive. Others may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about sexual issues, and so they don’t get tested. But the earlier HIV is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Recent findings from clinical trials have confirmed that the early and expanded use of antiretroviral treatment saves lives by keeping people living with HIV healthier and by reducing the risk that they will transmit the virus to partners. The same drugs that help people living with HIV to remain healthy also prevent people at substantial risk of contracting HIV from becoming infected. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is the use of an antiretroviral medication to prevent the acquisition of HIV infection by uninfected persons. In a quest to step up prevention, WHO now recommends PrEP be offered to all people at substantial risk of HIV infection.

At the UN General Assembly in September, world leaders endorsed the Sustainable Development agenda. This agenda includes the target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 – by reducing new infections by an additional 75% by 2020 and by ensuring that, in the coming 5years, 90% of people living with HIV are aware their infection, 90% of those are on ART, and 90% of people on ART have no detectable virus in their blood (UNAIDS’ “90-90-90” target).

Safer and more efficacious ARV drugs are becoming available, and a newer class of drugs – integrase inhibitors – is becoming more affordable for low- and middle-income countries.

  • New point-of-care viral load testing technologies have the potential to expand access to viral load testing

Efforts should be made to reduce the time between diagnosis and ART initiation to improve health outcomes.

HIV tests involve a simple check swab, finger prick, or urine sample. Experts recommend that you get tested for HIV if you answer yes to any of these questions:

  • Have you had sex with someone who is HIV-positive or whose HIV status you didn’t know since your last HIV test?
  • Have you injected drugs and shared equipment (such as needles or syringes) with others?
  • Have you been diagnosed with, or sought treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, like syphilis?
  • Have you been diagnosed with hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB)?
  • Have you had sex with anyone who has any of the risk factors listed above or whose history you don’t know?

“Despite the significant progress, half the people living with HIV globally do not know they have acquired the virus and do not receive treatment that can save their lives and avoid infecting others,” said Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, WHO Assistant Director General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. “We must now step up our efforts to reach the missing half with testing and treatment and the prevention of new infections, or we will miss the unique opportunity to end the AIDS epidemic within a generation,” she added.

————————————

Dr. Rajib Paul MD

Consultant Physician & Intensivist,

Apollo Health City,

Jubliee Hills, Hyderabad