According to a Report on HIV Infection and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Status, Challenges and Opportunities by Ayesha B. M. Kharsany and Quarraisha A. Karim: “Global trends in HIV infection demonstrate an overall increase in HIV prevalence and substantial declines in AIDS related deaths largely attributable to the survival benefits of antiretroviral treatment. Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionate burden of HIV, accounting for more than 70% of the global burden of infection. Success in HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to impact on the global burden of HIV. Notwithstanding substantial progress in scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART), sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 74% of the 1.5 million AIDS related deaths in 2013.

Of the estimated 6000 new infections that occur globally each day, two out of three are in sub-Saharan Africa with young women continuing to bear a disproportionate burden. Adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years have up to eight fold higher rates of HIV infection compared to their male peers. There remains a gap in women initiated HIV prevention technologies especially for women who are unable to negotiate the current HIV prevention options of abstinence, behavior change, condoms and medical male circumcision or early treatment initiation in their relationships.

The possibility of an AIDS free generation cannot be realized unless we are able to prevent HIV infection in young women.”

Emotional Impact of an HIV Diagnosis

Further, according to a Report on The Emotional Impact of HIV Diagnosis compiled by Andrea Peirce and reviewed by Dr. Sanjai Sinha MD: “Hearing that you have the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, will change your life. In the moments after you learn about your diagnosis, you may experience a range of emotions, including anger, shock, sadness, or even denial. You may also struggle with depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people who are HIV positive are twice as likely as people without the virus to be depressed. Compounding the problem, people with HIV may withdraw from their friends and family members in the hopes of hiding their status from others.

Finally, doctors at the NIMH and around the country now recognize that the virus itself can cause emotional, behavioral, and other mental health problems — and that some of the antiretroviral therapies, or ART, used to control HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, can trigger the symptoms of depression, too.”

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