The common phrase ‘As you so shall you reap’ is particularly applicable to human beings. The chronic diseases rampant in many parts of the world bring sorrow and untold miseries to millions of people around the world. The reason being we have altogether let loose ourselves in pursuit of cheap pleasures. The modern society is infested with such diseases, which we have not come across in the olden times. We, if want to have a true pleasure of life and enjoy ourselves fully must have to follow the divine injunctions, the Almighty God revealed through Prophets and His Books, mainly the last one The Holy Quran. Otherwise, we shall be acting like the animals and nay, worse than that.
At the end of 1994, a cumulative total of 1,025,073 AIDS cases (adults and children) worldwide had been reported to WHO. The actual number of AIDS cases is unknown because of under-diagnosis, incomplete reporting and reporting delays. However, an estimated 4.5 million AIDS cases have occurred in adults and children since the beginning of the epidemic.
An estimated 18 million adults (13-15 million alive) and 1.5 million children have been infected with HIV. Of the adults, 7-8 million are women (most of childbearing age). WHO forecasted that, by the year 2000, 30-40 million HIV infections would have occurred, 90% in developing countries? Moreover, an estimated 5 million children under 10 years of age will be orphaned, losing one or both parents. The proportion of women with HIV and AIDS has increased dramatically. By 1994, women represented 40% of all new AIDS cases; up to 50% of all new HIV infections were in women, mainly those aged 15-24 years. Female vulnerability has become increasingly clear in Africa and Asia. By the year 2000, an estimated 14 million women will have been infected with HIV and about 4 million will have died of AIDS.
HIV is transmitted predominantly through sexual intercourse (70-80% of infections). Mother-to-child transmission and needle-sharing by drug users each account for 5-10% of all HIV infections, while needle stick accidents among health workers account for less than 0.01% of reported cases. Higher proportions of young women than young men acquire HIV infection through sex. Their exposure to the virus at an earlier age, coupled with physiological factors, increases their risk. In countries with high HIV prevalence, the greatest numbers of reported AIDS cases occur among women aged 15-34 years and men aged 25-44 years. HIV infection due to blood transfusion is more common in women than men.
Women more often have blood transfusions because of anemia and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Prenatal transmission occurs during pregnancy, delivery or breast-feeding. The chance that a child of a seropositive woman will also be infected with HIV-1 is 33% overall, with transmission reported to be as high as 48% in some developing countries.
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In regions where initially more men than women were infected, there are now a marked increase in infections transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. In Europe, 15.4% of new infections in adults in 1993 were due to heterosexual transmission. In France, heterosexual transmission increased from 19% in 1991 to almost 25% in 1993. In 1993 in the USA, AIDS cases in women were almost 10% higher than in 1992; in nine major cities AIDS has become the leading cause of death among women of childbearing age.
In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV has been transmitted predominantly through heterosexual intercourse since the beginning of the epidemic. More than half of newly infected adults are female. The annual number of infections is still increasing. In Francis town, Botswana, for example, HIV prevalence in pregnant women rose from 8% in 1991 to about 35% by 1993. In some countries, e.g., Cote d'Ivoire, Zaire and Uganda, AIDS has become the leading cause of adult death. Sero-prevalence rates in North Africa and the Middle East appear relatively low but are increasing. In Djibouti, for example, HIV prevalence has reached 14% among men attending STD clinics and 4% among women seeking antenatal care.
In Latin America and the Caribbean region, a shift from transmission through primarily homosexual intercourse to bisexual and heterosexual transmission as well as injecting drug use has taken place since the early 1980s. In Brazil, one woman was infected with HIV for 100 men in 1984; by 1994 this was one woman for four men.
Half of the newly infected adults in Asia are women. In a border town in Shan State, Myanmar, 6-10% of women registered at public maternal and child health centers were already sero-positive in early 1995.
STD rates remain high in much of the world. Each year about 330 million new cases of STDs occur, of which more than 90% are in developing countries. Overall infection rates for STDs are higher in women than men. Ulcerative STDs, including syphilis and chancroid, and STDs causing inflammation, such as gonorrhea and chlamydial infection, facilitate transmission of HIV in both women and men. Women, however, are disproportionately affected. As with HIV, women often acquire STDs at an earlier age than men. Gonorrhea and syphilis are asymptomatic in 50-80% of women against less than 10% of men. In women, they often go untreated, especially in countries with inadequate STD programs. The secondary health consequences of STDs are more serious for women as they may contribute to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, premature delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight and neonatal infections.
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