Why AIDS is still a major global threat - another mutant virus that jumped from animals to humans like COVID-19. 33 years ago, that mutant hijacked my medical practice as a cancer doctor looking after people dying at home. Led to global ACET Foundation

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In 1987 my medical practice as a cancer doctor, looking after people dying at home in London, was hijacked and overwhelmed by a new mutant virus which had jumped from animals into humans, killing every person infected.  That virus has since killed over 40 million people, and we still have no vaccine after 35 years of research, nor any cure.

And now, with COVID-19, the kind of new pandemic I have often warned of, it feels like history is repeating.

I responded to the global crisis back then, after seeing people with HIV die really badly, often rejected by health care workers as well as by family and friends. I launched a national and international agency called ACET (AIDS Care Education and Training).  

This Foundation began in our family home, and within two years had become a national and international movement - which today has prevention and care programmes all over the world, in many of the hardest hit, most marginalised and remote communities - nations like Uganda, Nigeria, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, Belarus, Ukraine, Czeck Republic, Slovakia - as well as UK and Republic of Ireland.

These programmes have delivered health promotion / education globally with total attendance in High School classes alone exceeding 7 million, tens of thousands receiving care - in their homes, in clinics and so on.  Other programme are reaching pregnant women, saving the lives of their babies, educating commercial sex workers, and helping drug users to life healthier lives, and so on.

Join my family in making a donation to ACET today.

Global AIDS situation - stable but still very serious

Over 33 years later, spread has slowed, but COVID-19 is impacting prevention, as well as care.

1.7 million more people were infected in 2019 - down 23% since 2010.  

38 million are living with HIV infection, of which 23 million are taking antiviral medication to slow down / suppress the infection.  

In Eastern Europe and Asia , HIV infection has rocketed by 72% since 2010, and every year, in every nation, a new cohort of young people reaches adolescence and becomes exposed to risk.

 9% of all infections are in babies or children under 14, usually infected in the womb, which is why pregnant mothers are a major target for prevention campaigns, especially in high incidence African nations, because antiviral therapy can prevent 70-90% of these infections.

12.6 million people still have no access to antivirals.

4500 more 15-24 year old young girls / women are infected globally each year.

7% of all girls in Uganda High Schools are already infected by the age of 15.

Join my family in making a donation to ACET today.

Shocking truth about poor treatments for viruses

Imaging that you have a young child who is desperately sick.  You take them to hospital.  The doctors make a diagnosis.  They say that she is dying of pneumonia.  Then they say the good news is that with antibiotics, she will soon be completely well and go home in a few days. But then they give the bad news is that she will have to take antibiotics for the rest of her life, because the infection will always be with her, and what is more, she will always be potentially infectious to others in certain situations.

My guess is that you would be relieved but shocked - that the antibiotic treatment is so useless, and only suppresses the problem.

Welcome to the world of HIV / AIDS.  Yes we have antiviral therapies that have transformed a condition that used to kill almost all who were infected, within 20 years, to a chronic infection, but the infection remains. We are not curing people.

Fast forward to 2020, and yet another viral pandemic - we see new mutant viruses roughly every 12 months somewhere in the world.  The virus called COVID-19 is killing many people, and is spreading in an uncontrolled manner globally as off November 2020, despite various degrees of national lockdowns.  

Once again, we have no cure.  

In the case of COVID-19 we don't even have a treatment that is as effective as HIV antivirals.

What this all highlights is a massive gap in medical progress.  

We still don't have a single antiviral as effective as penicillin was against bacteria when first discovered back in the 1940s.  

We have many different antibiotics today, and most bacterial infections are rapidly cured.  Not the case for a single type of viral infection - whether polio or measles or bacterial meningitis or HIV or EBOLA or polio or COVID.

Join my family in making a donation to ACET today.

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