Disease Focus of the Month – HIV Aids

HIV Aids : AIDS is a medical condition where the diagnosed person’s immune system is too weak to fight off infections. It is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), one of a group of viruses known as retroviruses, and occurs when the virus has destroyed so much of the body’s defenses that immune-cell counts fall to critical levels or certain life-threatening infections or cancers develop. If left untreated, it can take around ten years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.

Prevalence Rate: HIV infection has now spread to every country in the world with a prevalence rate in adults (15-49) ranging from 0.01% to 23.9% in different countries. Approximately 40 million people are currently living with HIV infection, and an estimated 25 million have died from this disease. The scourge of HIV has been particularly devastating in sub-Saharan Africa, but infection rates in other countries remain high. In the United States, approximately 1 million people are currently infected. Republic of Congo has 1.1 million affected people while India and China has 2.4 million and 700,000 respectively.

Cause(s): HIV virus is present in the sexual fluids and blood of infected people and can be transmitted through contact with these fluids or blood in different ways. Major causes of transmission of AIDS are:

  • Infected blood
  • Infected needles
  • Multiple partners
  • Infected mother to her baby before birth
  • Injectable drug abuse


Treatments: Main type of treatment for HIV AIDS is antiretroviral treatment. It is not a cure, but it can stop people from becoming ill for many years. The treatment consists of drugs that have to be taken every day for the rest of a person’s life. The aim of antiretroviral treatment is to keep the amount of HIV in the body at a low level. This stops any weakening of the immune system and allows it to recover from any damage that HIV might have caused already.

The drugs are often referred to as antiretroviral, ARVs anti-HIV or anti-AIDS drugs. There are more than 20 approved antiretroviral drugs and in many cases a combination therapy is preferred.

Market size: As per BCC Research, the global market for AIDS/HIV testing and treatment, including branded products and generics, was valued at $11.3 billion in 2010. This market is expected to reach $11.8 billion in 2011 and increase at a 4.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the 2011-2016 forecast period to reach $14.1 billion in 2016.