Gender inequality in PLWH

With advancement in our healthcare services we might have progressed far but still opportunistic infections are a great challenge. Health education or awareness has been noticed as a crucial lagging point.

Data was collected from UNICEF data repository and analyzed for the gender inequality among People Living with HIV. When I went deep in the data I realized the reason for inequality. Data was mainly dragging our attention towards the difference in availability, utilization and adherence to various health care services by females.

There are three key points to note :

  • Adherence : As compared to males, females are less adhered to medical instructions.

  • Availability : Lack of approachability to Healthcare services.

  • Utilization : Lack of utilization of healthcare services

If you visualize death then also somewhat the same trend can be found.

But the point to note is that the peak of infection was near 1995 and AIDS related death has its peak near 2005. The gap of 10 years is not just merely a coincidence. This delivers an important point. This is clear indication of lack of health care services to control the death due to HIV in between 1995-2005. To understand this lets go a little deeper in history.

In 1996 CANFAR-funded researcher Dr. Mark Wainberg contributed to the development of 3TC, a drug being used to treat HIV. This was a combination drug therapy, which brought about an immediate decline of between 60% – 80% in rates of AIDS-related deaths and hospitalization for patients who could afford it. There are an estimated 23 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.

In 1999 The World Health Organization announced that AIDS was the fourth biggest cause of death worldwide and the number one killer in Africa. An estimated 33 million people were living with HIV, and 14 million people were recognized to have died from AIDS since the start of the epidemic.

In 2000 The UN adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which included a specific goal to reverse the spread of HIV, malaria, and TB. UNAIDS negotiates with 5 pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of HIV medication for developing countries.

In 2005 Health Canada approved a rapid HIV antibody test for sale to health professionals in Canada, which enables point-of-care (POC) testing that can provide an accurate HIV antibody test result in two minutes.

Advances from 1996 to 2005 have direct influence in sudden decrease in new HIV cases and the same can be visualized clearly. But those who had already suffered could not be saved, leading to a high increase in death in 2005. In 2011, confirmation was published that the first person to get cured was Timothy Ray Brown also known as “Berlin Patient” .