With the fear of HIV/AIDS cases resurfacing in future, the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) has said that a vaccine for the deadly infection is imperative.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS and Indian scientists are actively engaged in developing vaccines against the virus. “Despite the programme advancement, vaccine will remain important. You never know when the disease can resurface. Vaccine itself is the most effective prevention tool,” Dr KS Sachdeva, Deputy Director General, NACO, said.
“Advocacy for HIV/AIDS is in the evolutionary stage. This is one disease where the social context is more relevant that the treatment context. Standing at an inflexion point, one can say that much has been achieved. We are close to almost eliminating HIV/AIDS,” he said.
In 2015, HIV/AIDS prevalence in India was an estimated 0.26 per cent of total population. India has almost 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS. India’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is however slowing down, with a 32 per cent decline in new HIV/AIDS infections (86,000 in 2015), and a 54 per cent decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2007 and 2015.
“We are moving towards elimination but we will have some bottlenecks along the way. Vaccine will be welcomed as that will be an additional tool. We should not miss that momentum just because money is decreasing,” said Nicole Seguy, Team Leader for Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organisation, India country office.
Recently, Indian scientists have identified a new antibody against HIV/AIDS subtype-C from Indian patients. This finding will help design vaccines against HIV/AIDS in the future. Scientists said that when given along with retroviral drugs, such a vaccine will be able to reduce viral load in patients. This will also help in passive immunotherapy — killing low amounts of virus in patients who may have been accidently infected with the virus.
The Indian scientists have named the identified antibody as C11 since it is specific to subtype-C of HIV/AIDS virus. As much as 90 per cent patients in India and South Africa are affected by this subtype. Scientists took blood samples from a set of patients visiting All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai, for treatment.
-NEETU CHANDRA SHARMA |DNA India
With more than two-thirds of U.S. adults overweight or obese, and over 17 percent of children and adolescents, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is the perfect time for all Americans to rededicate ourselves to the health benefits of an active lifestyle.
The risks of being overweight or obese include chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
While having a family history may make you more likely to develop any of these conditions as you age, there are several ways you can delay, improve and even avoid these diseases entirely. These include eating a healthful diet, staying within your recommended weight range and being active.
As an orthopedic surgeon, I’ve cared for thousands of patients who suffer from osteoarthritis—the progressive deterioration of healthy cartilage in a joint. Almost half are overweight or obese, leading to increased wear and tear on their hip and knee joints. When you consider that every additional pound of body weight adds 5 pounds of pressure on each knee joint, it’s easy to see why excess weight compounds the problem.
That’s why my first recommendation to these patients is often to lose weight to relieve the increased stress on their joints. I also urge sedentary patients to step up their activity levels. Just like any other part of the human body, cartilage needs to be used to stay healthy. Stronger muscles can also stabilize joints, reducing pain and inflammation.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness regimen. Once you have the okay, remember any activity is better than no activity. Start slowly and don’t put yourself at risk. Build up your endurance gradually, making sure to stretch both before and after workouts. Most injuries I see happen when people aren’t physically ready for an activity.
If you find it hard to exercise because of joint pain, doctors have a number of treatment options that can help relieve your symptoms, including physical therapy, medications and injections. If your pain continues, the next step may be minimally invasive surgery to diagnose and treat the problem.
Should the pain start to affect your quality of life, partial or total joint replacement surgery may be your best choice. Joint replacement, the gold standard of treatment for advanced osteoarthritis for 40 years, is now better than ever with the introduction of robotic technology.
What’s happening now with joint replacement is similar to what’s happened in the auto industry. Cars have been around for decades, but as the technology improves, so does the quality.
Today’s joint replacement surgeons can now use the latest robotic-assisted surgical techniques to ensure the precise placement of joint implants, crucial to their long term success. Implants have improved dramatically, too, with newer models providing more natural results and lasting a lifetime.
Better technology means even people with debilitating osteoarthritis don’t have to sit on the sidelines anymore. They can reduce their risk of serious disease and enjoy a more active lifestyle that helps get them in shape for life.
For the rest of us? No more excuses. Let’s all commit to improving our health with a more active lifestyle during this year’s National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
Dr. John H. Velyvis is Medical Director of Robotic Orthopedic Surgery at Seton Medical Center in Daly City. Recognized as one of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons on the West Coast using robotic-assisted technology, Dr. Velyvis received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Harvard University and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. On days when he’s not seeing patients or performing surgery, Dr. Velyvis is often found on one of his favorite tennis courts.
New film warns: Hepatitis-B common among Asian Americans
Be About It by Christopher Wong screened on May 11 at University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, followed by a panel discussion.
Wong described his own lack of awareness of the disease and its prevalence before making the film: “The funny thing was that I was not aware of the disease myself. I didn’t know that it even had to do with the liver; that’s how uninformed I was. So when I started to dig deeper I was really shocked by the fact that over 50 percent of the cases are people of Asian descent. That really made me interested.”
Be About It is the story of two Asian fathers, their families and their reality of living with hepatitis-B, a potentially deadly disease that affects approximately one million Asian Americans.
Hep B, caused by the hepatitis B virus, can result in serious liver problems before symptoms become noticeable and is frequently referred to as a “silent killer.” Up to two million people are infected in the U.S., and as many as two out of three Asian Americans living with it aren’t aware they have it. Often stigmatized and misunderstood, hep B is the most common cause of liver cancer among Asian Americans.
Hep B is caused by a virus that is transmitted via blood and other bodily fluids. Hep B can be managed, and the disease can be prevented – but if left untreated, the complications of hep B can potentially be life threatening.
As Asian immigrants are projected to be the largest immigrant population in the country over the next 40 years, the need to call attention to this so-called “silent” disease is more critical than ever. The good news is that hep B can easily be detected with a quick and simple blood test. Everyone should talk to their doctor about getting tested – especially if you are of Asian descent.
If you test negative for hep B, there is a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent hep B, and it is widely available in the United States. If you test positive for hep B, talk to your doctor about whether treatment would be appropriate for you. Regular screenings to monitor the health of your liver are very important, and there are treatments that may potentially lower the amount of virus and decrease the risk of further damage to the liver – some are just one pill a day.
So on Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19, join millions of Asians here in the United States and around the globe and get tested for hepatitis B.
Visit hepBsmart.com for information about chronic hepatitis B, and to learn about the documentary film short BE ABOUT IT, sponsored by Gilead Sciences, which chronicles the lives of two Asian Americans, Alan and AJ, as they battle chronic hepatitis B, and how their families cope with the impact of this potentially life-threatening disease. The film aims to educate, inspire and ultimately dispel myths about hepatitis B. BE ABOUT IT is subtitled in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese, and community screening kits are now available.
When Hack put stealthing on the radio earlier this month, Brendan* was listening in - now he had a name for what he had been regularly doing with sexual partners, without their knowledge.
Stealthing is where one partner removes a condom during sex without the consent or knowledge of the other. A study from Yale Law School found it's been happening more often - part of a disturbing trend of gender-motivated sexual violence.
Since that story, we've been contacted by readers and listeners with their own stories of manipulation and deceit - of being stealthed.
Brendan thought this was bullshit.
"I've only just heard about stealthing now and I think it's a ridiculous claim," he said.
He agreed to an interview with Hack host Tom Tilley to explain why he stealths "most of the time" and isn't phased by the risk of unplanned pregnancy or STIs.
Is it sexual assault? Yes, according to the president of The Law Society of New South Wales, Pauline Wright. "Removing a condom after there's been a prior agreement that a condom is going to be used, basically undoes that agreement. Because there is no consent," she said.
It's almost impossible to verify Brendan's story, though we have verified his identity. This is what he says he's done.
Listen to the interview at 5.30 on Hack. Here's the full transcript:
Tom: Why do you do it?
Brendan: Because it feels better with no condom on.
Shouldn't you negotiate that before sex?
I should, but if I have no reason to wear a condom then I don't really see the problem.
What about the risk of transmitting an STI or getting a person pregnant?
I really don't want to get them pregnant so I definitely wouldn't be leaving a trace. As for STIs, I don't want to get them but I would run the risk.
But you're making them take the risk?
Yeah I am. But I'm confident I get checked regularly. I'm pretty safe in saying I'm clean when I'm clean.
So every time you've stealthed someone you've been tested between that occasion and the last sexual partner you've had
So there is a risk?
Yes there is but there's a risk crossing the road and we all do that.
So you really don't care? It's all about the pleasure?
Of course I care. But I can still look at it from the point of view where I'm pretty sure [about my sexual health], and where I'm pretty sure ... then I'm happy to do it.
How many times would have stealthed someone?
Most of the time. If I'm asked to put one on - which isn't as often as you might think. People are pretty chilled with doing it bareback.
And therefore chilled about their sexual health?
I guess so. I'm not a dirty-looking guy.
So what does that mean? You have less chance of having an STI?
I think so.
Have you ever been busted stealthing someone?
Yeah. I've been asked to put a condom on before and normally I will.
So you put one on and then take it off without them knowing. How long into having sex before you sneak it off?
I don't know. Pull it out, take it off, put it back in. Everyone's happy.
Most of the time do they notice or not notice?
Have they ever got angry at you?
No-one's ever angry but if someone asks me to put it back on I'll put it back on for sure. That's fair.
So no-one has ever said 'how dare you do that to me, I don't know if you're going to give me an STI and get me pregnant'?
No. No-one's ever said that.
So what's the usual reaction?
'Do you mind - it's safer'. Something to that effect.
But you made an agreement to wear a condom and then you breach that without the person knowing.
I don't know. I don't think I really make an agreement. I just put one on and if nothing is said I take it off. I don't think it's breaking the law.
But if that person has asked you to put on a condom, they're having sex with you on the understanding that's what's going on.
I'd be more worried about getting an STI than getting someone pull a lawyer on me for fraud when I'm having sex and I take a condom off.
Well, both could happen.
Well, I'll take those chances.
Is this a view held by most of your mates?
Yeah I'd say so.
*Name has been changed.