HIV and AIDS impacts the entire world in different levels. In developing countries, like Swaziland, HIV has a higher prevalence rate than in developed countries like the U.S. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is an incurable virus and will eventually progress to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and cause fatality. HIV is transmitted by dirty injectable needles, sex, delivering children, and from contact with secreted bodily fluid. In Brazil, the prevalence of HIV in adults is up to 60%. Of those 60%, only 64% are on antiretroviral treatment. As a medical healthcare specialist, my hope is to one day help every country get the supplies and knowledge they need to treat and educate their residents.
As HIV and AIDS is more prevalent in developing countries, treatment is harder to receive. Not only are treatments scarce, they are expensive as well, and that is a major issue. According to UNAIDS, 36.7 million people worldwide are either living with HIV or AIDS at this moment in time, and that number continues to increase every day. A whopping 70% of those people who are living with HIV don’t even know they have contracted the virus. Uneducated teens spread the virus unknowingly. Drug addicts using dirty needles contract and spread HIV unknowingly. In Brazil, the HIV situation seems to get worse every year. The most affected population are gay men, with a prevalence from 10.5% to 18.4%, and according to AVERT, around 47% of gay men have unprotected sex. America is one of the biggest funders of HIV prevention and treatment in developing countries. America has funded billions of dollars in an attempt to combat the global prevalence of HIV and AIDS. Also, PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plain for AIDS Relief) has provided an enormous amount of donor funding and reassured healthcare workers that treatments could be provided in developing countries effectively and safely.
At ViiV Healthcare, our focus is to find new medicines to help improve the lives of HIV positive people and to prevent and treat the disease. Our priority is to find better ways to limit the spread of HIV and to one day create a cure to treat those who have contracted the virus and disease. We have made Tivicay (dolutegravir), an integrase inhibitor/ HIV-1 treatment available in Brazil on the national health program. This showcased our belief on the issues at hand. We believe that all who suffer from HIV or AIDS should be cared and get the innovative treatment that they need. Why should only developed countries be equipped with the technology and supplies to treat their patients? Developing countries and poorer citizens have the same importance and that is why we work hard to create more global access to innovative treatments for HIV and AIDS.
As an advisory member of President Trump’s, I propose a new policy of trade between America and Brazil. America can donate volunteer healthcare specialists’ time and knowledge in exchange for one of Brazil’s natural resource: petroleum. Healthcare specialists would be a key resource in better educating the transmission of HIV, treating those that are infected, and helping to reduce the spreading of the virus. American companies, like Gilead Sciences, could sell HIV treatment drugs at a lower price to developing countries. These types of foreign aid are crucial and could potentially save many lives. These two ways of aid address my priority issue on helping developing countries receive more treatments for a less expensive price in order to help those who are less fortunate receive the care they need.
HIV is a progressive virus and will eventually transform into AIDS within months to years. AIDS will weaken the immune system of those who have been infected and they will die. Everyone who is HIV positive, whether they live in a developed or developing country, deserves to be treated with antiretroviral treatments. Those treatments need to be readily available to all and should not cost them an arm and a leg, or their life. Wealthier countries and those who have the resources should help out others who aren’t as well off. In return, natural resources, pacts, agreements, or other valuable resources could be used to trade. HIV/AIDS needs to be slowed down and I believe we have the resources to do so.