Across the world, December 1, 2021 marks World HIV & AIDS Awareness. Lifeline Malawi Medical Centre, with your help, brings much needed educations, medication and palliative care to those suffering in Malawi from the effects of HIV. Approximately one thousand and nine hundred patients received antiretroviral medication from Lifeline Malawi Medical Centre and fifty percent of the patients that are on Palliative Care program at Lifeline Malawi Medical Centre are people living with HIV and AIDS.
In Malawi, 1,100,000 people are currently living with HIV while Sub-Saharan Africa has the world's highest AIDS & HIV rates at a total of 5% or approximately 23 500 000 people living with it.
So, what is HIV and why do we talk about HIV and AIDS differently?
Ultimately, HIV (or Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system and AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome) is a term that can only be used when HIV has caused severe damage to the immune system. HIV is the virus, AIDS is the diagnosis.
AIDS remains a threatening illness that has eroded and affected many lives. HIV targets and gradually weakens the body's immune system by damaging cells called CD4 T cells. This damage means that, over time, the body becomes less able to fight off other infections. If the immune system becomes impaired enough, infections that are typically mild can be life threatening.
What can I do to help and prevent the spread?
Get tested! If someone you know has AIDS, getting tested for HIV is a great preventative and knowledge step towards protecting your own health and the health of those around you.
You can use strategies such as abstinence (not having sex), never sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex. Discussing with your potential partner and taking advantage of HIV prevention medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help slow the rate at which HIV multiplies in the body, reduce symptoms and possibilities of spreading.
How can I help?
Lifeline Malawi has an HIV and AIDS program that worked with approximately 5000 patients by testing, educating, and providing medication to locals suffering from AIDS. By contributing to Lifeline Malawi, you are helping to pay for medications, nurse salaries, doctors and necessary medical equipment that contributes to the great work at Lifeline Malawi. Make a donation today by using the "Make a Donation" button at the top right corner of the screen.
Recently we identified the cause of paralysis of a young male who was sick for more than 3 months.
What was the problem?
He was diagnosed with Neurosyphilis and an HIV infection (to find out more about AIDS and HIV, click here).
What is Neurosyphilis?
Neurosyphilis is a disease of the coverings of the brain, the brain itself, or the spinal cord. It can occur in people with syphilis, especially if they are left untreated.
Depending on the form of neurosyphilis, symptoms may include any of the following:
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Symptoms include various types of mental deterioration, vision loss, speech disturbances, ataxia (inability to coordinate movements), paralysis, brain lesions, and, ultimately, coma. Some individuals may also have compromised memory and cognition, and seizures may occur.
These two complicated viruses combined can make for a complicated and confusing diagnoses, most rural health facilities miss this syphilis that affects the brain, luckily, we were able to use the knowledge taught at Lifeline Malawi to refer the patient to a treatment centre in Salima where they have a treatment plan for patients like this.
How can I help?
We know you love to hear updates about the patients and we wanted to thank you for all of your generous donations in the past. We want to continue to share stories like this one and so many more good news items. Please help us by click the "Make A Donation" button at the top of your screen. We truly appreciate your time and effort towards Lifeline Malawi.