World AIDS Day 2015 hopes to break the stigma about the disease
As a provider of numerous sexual health products and treatments, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy are proudly supporting World Aids Day 2015, which presents a fantastic opportunity for everyone around the world to unite in the huge fight against HIV and AIDS. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the immune system; our body’s natural defence mechanism against infections and disease. Health Protection Agency statistics from 2011 showed 95% of UK diagnoses stemmed from sexual contact, according to NHS Choices - failure to use a condom during sexual intercourse being the primary factor. Those who share infected needles, syringes or other drug paraphernalia are also at a high risk. Following infection, symptoms can take between 2 to 6 weeks to show, including common flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, tiredness, muscular pain and a body rash may also appear. Those that believe they might be at risk should not delay in being tested. Delaying vital critical treatment can be fatal and somebody diagnosed at a late stage is actually 9 times more likely to die within 12 months of receiving their diagnosis compared to somebody who gets tested and diagnosed at an early stage. If HIV is left untreated or insufficiently managed, HIV then develops into AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). At this stage the body is no longer able to fight off life-threatening infections due to the severe damage inflicted to the immune system. According to the World Health Organisation, HIV is still a huge global public health issue. Even though the virus was only formally identified in 1984, so far HIV or AIDS has been responsible for the loss of more than 35 million lives. Most people will have heard in the news recently that controversial Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen confirmed he was diagnosed with HIV back in 2011, putting an end to persistent rumours circulating around Hollywood. During an interview with NBC’s Today programme, the former 2 and a Half Men star said he sought medical help following consecutive nights of waking up soaking in sweat, and that his subsequent treatment has apparently rendered the virus almost “undetectable” in his system. Sheen’s interview revealed he had paid “millions” to buy the silence of those aware of his condition, and only proved a reminder that the virus has not gone away and neither has the stigma about HIV and AIDS, with so many people reluctant to seek help initially, running the risk of receiving a diagnosis when it could be too late. By the end of 2014, there were approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV and within the UK, an estimated 18,000 people of the 100,000 with HIV are unaware that they are living with the virus. Every year on 1 December the National Aids Trust charity host World AIDS Day, using the day to boost people both discussing HIV and to help spread information about the virus. It is hoped that by more people talking about it, HIV will slowly lose the secrecy and stigma that surrounds it. More understanding and knowledge about HIV and AIDS, should hopefully result in less prejudice and better prevention methods. Moreover, HIV is just one of many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in circulation. Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can provide STD treatment for many of the more common STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes. In addition, Medical Specialists® can provide almost 100% accurate pregnancy tests to be used in the privacy and comfort of the person’s own home, a wide variety of condoms to suit different preferences, emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill), other contraceptive pills, and even a chlamydia test that can be used at home and posted off for a quick analysis and result, saving the time and embarrassment of having to personally attend a clinic for a check-up. Please note that for every prescription medication mentioned which are provided by Medical Specialists®, all patients must first undergo an online consultation with one of the GMC-registered doctors at Medical Specialists®, or send in a private prescription by post, obtained by the patient's own doctor.