The School of Nursing at Rutgers is leading a $6 million project to slow the spread of HIV. Aging HIV health care professionals and the fact that not all people with HIV are being treated are two of many issues that need to be tackled.
John Nelson is the director of the National Coordinating Resource Center at Rutger’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center, or FXB Center. Nelson stresses the importance of testing for and treating HIV.
Testing and treating for HIV infection need to be part of routine primary health care. All health care providers need to consider HIV infection the same as any other chronic illness, such as hypertension and diabetes.
Rutgers Today reports that the FXB Center will be starting their campaign in the coming months to teach primary health care providers practices which they hope will prevent about 50,000 cases of HIV per year in the United States. They also hope that the campaign will encourage patients who already are infected with HIV to get treatment.
HIV and AIDS continues to be a large issue globally even though the death rate has fallen. Persuading high risk individuals is a problem that has not been adequately solved. Andrea Norberg, the executive director of the FXB Center says that early treatment can result in full life expectancy and less chance of transmission to others.
We have known for a while that treating a person with HIV as early as possible in the infection leads to significantly better outcomes. A person who is diagnosed early and then started on the medications to lower the level of HIV in the body, can live a full life expectancy with a lower chance of getting sick from HIV and transmitting the virus to others.
The grant funding will be used to help make clinics more patient friendly as well as educating individuals about how the disease is spread.
Hopefully due to this education along with better testing, including this smartphone device which can test for HIV, and hopefully soon a vaccine, HIV will no longer be such a big threat to so many people’s quality of life.