Tag Archives: Sophie Dila

Understanding HIV/AIDS: The Treatment Cascade

SOPHIE DILA

The global HIV/AIDS epidemic does not seem to be a major threat anymore. These days, we see increasing news coverage about declining HIV rates, innovations in treatment, and even HIV cures. These success stories highlight incredible strides made over 30 devastating years of the pandemic, but the fact remains that there is so much work left to be done before we can even begin to contemplate an AIDS Free Generation.

The concept of global health is relatively new within the international relations and security spheres. Indeed, the HIV/AIDS pandemic was one of the first major examples of a disease that knows no borders and can affect anyone – gay or straight, Black or White, drug users or high-profile celebrities. Global health has profound implications for international relations practitioners. Whether you’re a Peace Corps Volunteer working in an HIV endemic area in Ukraine, a diplomat working at an embassy in Botswana, or a humanitarian aid worker assisting in a refugee camp in Lebanon, you will encounter global health issues, including HIV/AIDS.

Even within the US, 50,000 people continue to become infected with HIV each year, despite major advances in the struggle against AIDS. There has been no significant reduction in the disease rates in recent years, and it appears that despite our best efforts, HIV prevention has come to a standstill. If we can’t get to zero new infections at home, how are we expected to achieve an AIDS Free Generation globally?

Here is a new way of understanding the epidemic – it’s called the HIV Treatment Cascade. Watch the video, it’s great.

This waterfall concept clearly identifies the major pillars of HIV prevention, treatment and care that we need to focus on to successfully target and eliminate the drivers of HIV risk. HIV/AIDS is still a major global threat. We need to transform and revolutionize our response to this disease to meet individuals where they’re at in their unique circumstances. If we can improve health systems, link more people to HIV care, keep those people in care, expand treatment and bolster adherence support – all the while keeping in consideration the individual, cultural, social and economic context – then maybe someday we can get to zero new infections.

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Senior Moments?

SOPHIE DILA

As an ever-multitasking millennial and global health practitioner, I was not at all surprised to read about a study that shows that millennials are pretty darn forgetful.  As it turns out, this generation is quite likely to forget what day it is, misplace house keys, accidentally skip a meal, and maybe space on bathing. But here’s the kicker: we’re even more likely to experience these day-to-day memory lapses than senior citizens! That’s right: the next time you’re visiting your family and misplace your cell phone, just ask grandpa – he’ll probably remember better than you.

Really though, are you shocked? Between posting multiple pictures on Instagram and linking them to Facebook and Twitter, getting a daily digest of world news from 10+ sites, working multiple jobs, taking care of my puppy, keeping up on housework, exercising, getting into the mountains as much as possible, maintaining long-distance friendships, checking in with family, being active in local community issues and maybe reading a book for pleasure now and then, it’s no wonder I have to check my iPhone to see what day it is. And my story is not unique.  If you’re a millennial living in America, your life schedule is probably on par with mine. Unless you’re living under a rock or, let’s say, in an adobe hut in the Andes somewhere. Continue reading

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