Recently, rugby player Gareth Thomas publicly spoke about living with HIV to help break down the stigma that surrounds it.
Since the 1980s, those living with the virus have been vilified in the press and getting help when diagnosed can still be difficult. But, could healthcare IT be the solution?
What is HIV?
The shortened name of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV is a virus that attacks cells within the body that help the body to fight back against infection. Therefore, this makes the person living with HIV much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS.
While the body can’t get rid of HIV and there is no known cure, there are HIV treatment medications that can slow the progressions of the virus. If the virus is detected early and treated, those living with HIV can live a regular life.
However, there are a number of challenges faced by those living with HIV.
It’s known that sometimes, those living with HIV are unaware that they have the virus. This can be picked up through regular STD testing and blood tests.
However, dating back to the 1980s there is a stigma attached to HIV which can have a huge effect on the lives of those living with it. This could, in turn, result in those living with HIV not seeking the advice and treatment they require. Alongside this, many charities helping those living with HIV have seen significant cuts to their funding over the years, with many closing down.
Meanwhile, many people may not have easy access to these types of facilities, which is where healthcare IT can come in handy across the board for those living with HIV.
How IT can help
It’s no secret that eHealth tools are being explored across the board to make patient care better for those living with many illnesses across the UK.
Those living with the HIV virus should be no different. Introducing these eHealth facilities to hospitals and charities will play an important role in making services much more accessible to everyone. It’s important to remember that these services aren’t just medication but mental health services as HIV diagnosis and the stigma surrounding it can have a huge impact on a person.
Access to these systems will also allow hospitals and charities to see how people are responding to treatments easier and also keep a track of how certain drugs help those from varying communities, alongside the HIV rate within the UK as a whole. They can also be used to provide vital information in the fight for continued funding for charities across the UK.
It’s important to remember that those living with HIV can live normal lives when treated correctly. Therefore, access to IT facilities across the board could significantly help those that don’t have instant access to groups and charities that are regularly closing down across the UK.