Why Care?

Consider a child orphaned by HIV.

Or a mother unable to care for her family, or the shortened life expectancy - by as much as 20 years - of someone with HIV.

What if it was your child, your spouse, your mother or father, sister or brother or anyone else you care about? What if you had no way to give them the help they need? Wouldn’t you want to know someone cared?

There’s another reason to care, one that hits closer to home: HIV compromises the immune system, making it vulnerable to a host of other highly infectious and deadly diseases. Thanks to modern air travel, international tourism and global business, these diseases can rapidly reach our shores, our communities, and our schools. It took just 7 months for SARS to spread from Hong Kong to infect individuals in 37 countries.1

Some myth-shattering realities about HIV today:

The HIV epidemic is over.

Not by a long shot. In fact, 34 million are infected with HIV worldwide; every day 6,000 young adults and children are newly infected.2

No one dies from HIV anymore.

Every year, over half a million children die of AIDS- related illness. That’s 1,400 children a day, one child every minute.3

HIV is Africa’s problem, it’s Asia’s problem, it’s not our problem.

HIV is everyone’s problem. Deadly diseases like tuberculosis, virulent influenza, and acute respiratory diseases (such as SARS) spread quickest through people with compromised immune systems. Think of the 34 million people with HIV as 34 million cases of TB, H1N1 and SARS waiting to happen here at home.

Most people infected with HIV are men.

This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about HIV. Studies show that women and children (60%) comprise the largest segment of people infected with HIV.4

With modern drugs HIV is easy to treat.

With so many different types and sub-types of HIV, effective treatment depends entirely on matching up the right cocktail of drugs to the specific type of HIV. If the dose is too low, HIV becomes resistant to the drug. If it’s too high the patient experiences serious side effects. Regular viral load testing is essential to effective HIV treatment.

HIV is a problem that the world just has to live with, there are some problems that are just too hard to fix.

With regular viral load testing, effective and affordable treatment is entirely possible. Viral load testing combined with effective treatment help people with HIV live healthy and productive lives since they can no longer spread the disease and will not be gateways for the spread of deadly infectious diseases.
 

How does viral load testing help?

Viral load testing is the primary means for effectively treating HIV patients. It helps doctors determine the right combination of drugs to treat the virus and shows when the virus has become resistant to current treatment.

How often is the testing needed?

To keep the virus at undetectable levels (load zero), it’s important to monitor the immune system and viral load every 3-6 months to avoid the development of full-blown AIDS and to reduce the risk of transmission.     

How much do these tests cost?

Currently, typical viral load monitoring tests cost $100-$200/test in developed countries.  With your help, The Load Zero Foundation can provide Viral Load tests designed especially for developing world laboratories– for just $25 per test.

Where is the testing needed right now?

About 90% of HIV infected individuals live in economically deprived regions. The Load Zero Foundation sponsored viral load test requires limited technology and resources and is successfully being used in leading clinics run by Johns Hopkins, Karolinska Hospital and the Burnet Institute among others in the developing world, including South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, India and Asia.

 

The faster we treat HIV, the slower the spread.

Recent studies have shown that treating HIV earlier and getting the viral load down reduces the chance of infecting others by over 96%. Using The Load Zero Foundation sponsored viral load test, we can slow the spread of the disease in areas where HIV/AIDS is most prevalent.

 

Your donation can help make a difference. Whether you make a donation to meet the cost of one test or tests for an entire community, a piece of needed equipment or supplies for a local lab, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of a person or people who need it most. You’ll also be helping to keep diseases we thought we conquered from reaching our shores, our schools and our communities once again.

 

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17163178
  2. http://www.who.int/infectious-disease-report/pages/graph5.html
  3. http://www.africanhealthaction.org/home_faceofhiv.php 
  4. http://kff.org/global-health-policy/fact-sheet/the-global-hivaids-epidemic/