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Category: Concept maps

The road to HIV infection

Being infected with HIV is not just a question of having unsafe sex with someone who is HIV+. Such reductionist approach ignores the complex set of factors, circumstances and events that lead to unsafe sex to take place. This concept map tries to survey these factors starting from the remote to the more intimate. As always, this is a work in progress and comments and suggestions are welcome.

ARV for HIV prevention, an overview

Despite the interesting results of an HIV vaccine trial in Thailand (RV144), HIV prevention is still limited to a small number of options many of which are not bullet-proof. Biomedical interventions based on vaccines and microbicides are still a long shot away. Conversely, treatment is working well in bringing HIV-infected people back to a normal life and potentially reducing the risk of HIV transmission by reducing their viral load. The use of antiretroviral drugs as a means to prevent HIV infection is controversial and a lot of background work will be required before embarking on massive “Test and Treat” campaigns.

Microbicides for HIV Prevention

Microbicides for HIV preventionMicrobicides are compounds that can be applied inside the vagina or rectum to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. They can be formulated as gels, creams, films, or suppositories. Microbicides may or may not have spermicidal activity (contraceptive effect). At present, an effective microbicide is not available (WHO definition)

PrEP, An Overview

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an experimental HIV-prevention strategy that proposes using antiretrovirals (ARVs) to reduce the risk of HIV infection in healthy uninfected people at risk of acquiring the virus. PrEP is not proven to work and is currently being tested in HIV-negative people in several clinical trials across the world. It is a controversial strategy that raises many hopes but also many questions (Updated May 1, 2010).

For further information check the PrEPWatch Website.

Barriers to condom use

Barriers to condom useTo use or not to use a condom for sexual intercourse is the result of a combination of several interacting factors. From the rational decision to choose not to use condoms to that of not being able to choose to use them, there is a broad range of possible accounts.

Addressing poor condom use therefore is not a question of simply promoting them but a question of knowing and understanding these numerous factors, their interactions and additive effects and ultimately understanding what leads people to do what they do or can do in their individual situation with their own perspectives, understanding, resources and options.

Biological Factors Affecting HIV Infection

Conditions Affecting HIV Transmission v2Several factors are important in determining if the HIV virus can be passed from an infected person to another one. These include biological and social factors which both relate to the exposed and the “infector” individuals.

This conceptual framework summarises only the biological factors that influence HIV transmission. When assessing the risk of infection, each should be considered in turn and as a whole.

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Diseases of Poverty

Diseases of PovertyA conceptual framework for understanding the diseases of poverty. Despite tremendous technological and scientific progresses in the understanding of diseases and their management, millions of people in the developing world still die of preventable infections and food scarcity whilst millions of other in the developped world die of diseases of opulence and excess.

HIV Prevention, an Overview

HIV PreventionHIV prevention goes far beyond the simplistic ABC message that hijacks most of the media attention. This figure tries to illustrate the breadth and diversity of the field of HIV prevention (Click to enlarge). It would still need to be further expanded to really cover all the aspects of an ever growing field.