April 2014

World Malaria Day 2014

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How much trouble can a mosquito cause? If you are living in sub-Saharan Africa, even one mosquito bite can lead to serious health problems, especially if you are also living with HIV.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year more than 219 million people contract malaria —a parasitic disease that is caused by bites from mosquitos.  In Africa, where 85 percent of the world’s malaria deaths occur, a child dies from malaria every 60 seconds. Combined, HIV and malaria cause more than 2 million deaths each year.

People living with HIV are more susceptible to malaria – especially women and children – because they have compromised immune systems and aren’t able to fight off infections. Pregnant women living with HIV are particularly vulnerable, and co-infection of HIV and malaria increases their risk for anemia and placental malaria. Their babies are at a higher risk for low birth weight.

Malaria/HIV co-infection can also exacerbate HIV and potential transmission by causing higher levels of the virus to be present in the blood. There is also potential for drugs that treat both diseases to counteract each other and potentially lessen the effectiveness of the treatments.

Today, on World Malaria Day (April 25) join the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) as we help spread the word about the important link between these two diseases on Facebook and Twitter. Only by working together can we end these diseases and create a future free of AIDS!