World AIDS Day—which became the first ever global health day in 1988—recognized 30 years this past December 1st. Since HIV/AIDS became a public health concern in 1981, over 35 million people have died from AIDS-related complications worldwide. An estimated 940,000 people died from HIV-related causes in 2017 alone. At the beginning of 2018, approximately 36.9 million people were living with HIV, with 1.8 million newly diagnosed in the year prior. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 75% of people with HIV are aware of their status. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the advanced stage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, most commonly through sexual contact or transfusing blood unsafely (i.e., intravenous

drug use) with someone who is infected. A mother could also transmit the virus to their child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. The HIV infection attacks the immune system until an opportunistic infection such as certain kinds of pneumonia, toxoplasmosis, as well as rare cancers and brain illnesses are contracted, at which time the diagnosis has progressed to AIDS. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, though there are life-extending treatments. In the US, 1.1 million people were living with HIV in 2015 (the most recent year the information was available)—with over 15% of whom were unaware. In late 2017, President Trump fired the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) which concerned advocates believe is part of an “effort to erase LGBTQ people.” The mass dismissal…

Health care in America was a constant subject of conversations in public venues and political forums in 2017. There has been confusion about health insurance, failed legislation, Executive Orders reversing Obamacare guidelines, tax plans affecting healthcare costs, and the failure to fund healthcare programs that cover millions of low-income Americans. People in the United States continue to count healthcare costs as a major concern. We at NeedyMeds prefer to remain apolitical, but it is difficult to avoid the partisan nature of the changes in health care in America since the Trump administration’s inauguration last year. Donald Trump ran on the platform of repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA; Obamacare), saying it would be “so easy.” He claimed his Obamacare replacement would have “insurance for everybody” and that “Everybody’s

going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” In practice, all “Trumpcare” bills failed to pass through Congress due to bipartisan disagreement over the destabilization they would cause in millions of Americans to losing insurance and the expected increase in premium costs.   Meaningful legislation did not affect Obamacare until Executive Orders allowing insurers to offer low-benefit insurance plans and ending subsidies to insurance companies that help cover low-income Americans. The ACA was also impacted by the tax bill passed late December 2017 that included an end to the individual mandate—a rule requiring most Americans to have health coverage designed to ensure that not only sick people buy insurance, thereby lowering premiums for everyone. Those…

Yesterday, December 1, has been known as World AIDS Day since 1988.  In the past 27 years, access to care has grown so that 15 million people are able to get life-saving HIV treatment. New HIV infections have been reduced by 35% since 2000; AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 42% since the peak in 2004.  This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “On the Fast-Track to end AIDS,” and aims to increase investment in the next five years with the goal of reducing HIV infection by 89% by 2030. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the advanced stage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, most commonly through sexual contact or transfusing blood

unsafely (i.e., intravenous drug use) with someone who is infected.  A mother could also transmit the virus to their child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.  The HIV infection attacks the immune system until an opportunistic infection such as certain kinds of pneumonia, toxoplasmosis, as well as rare cancers and brain illnesses are contracted, at which time the diagnosis has progressed to AIDS.  There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, though there are life-extending treatments.   Since HIV/AIDS became a public health concern in 1981, over 34 million people have died from AIDS-related complications worldwide.  An estimated 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes in 2014 alone.  At the beginning of 2015, approximately 36.9 million people were living with HIV, with 2 million newly diagnosed in the…