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World AIDS Day is a good time to get educated, part 2

As we began discussing in our last post, Dec. 1 was the 30th annual World AIDS Day – a time to raise awareness of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. In our first post, we discussed the three stages of HIV/AIDS and how blood or fluid testing is the only sure way to reveal if the virus is in the body.

Here are three additional things to know about HIV/AIDS:

3. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS.

Researchers are working to find a cure for HIV/AIDS. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports that a cure will likely either be in the form of viral eradication or a functional cure. Viral eradication would mean that the virus is removed completely from the body, while a functional cure would mean that the virus is not eliminated, but is suppressed to a point that daily medication is no longer needed.

Researchers are also making developments in the race to create a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.

4. Treatment is available.

A series of drugs called antiretroviral therapy, or ART, is available to people living with HIV. The drugs slow the virus by reducing the level of HIV in the blood. The drugs also greatly increase life expectancy of sufferers and reduce the likelihood of transmission. When receiving proper dosages of medication, sufferers can achieve an undetectable “viral load” within six months of treatment.

5. In the United States, people living with HIV/AIDS are often able to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

To qualify, the applicant must prove that the condition interferes with his or her ability to be gainfully employed and is expected to last at least a year or end in death.

If an applicant qualifies for disability benefits, he or she will receive a monthly cash benefit as well as Medicare health insurance coverage after being on disability benefits for 24 months.

Medicare can help with costs related to hospital and hospice care, lab tests, home health care, and other medical treatment. Alternatively, low-income individuals may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.

You can read more about disability benefits for adults and children living with HIV/AIDS here.

Source: USA Today, “World AIDS Day 2018: 30 questions about HIV/AIDS, answered, for 30 years of World AIDS Day,” Ryan W. Miller, Dec. 1, 2018

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