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Lab notes: New drug reduces chances of transmitting HIV through sexual contact

A quick look at the latest research in medicine.

A new drug for treating Human Immunodeficiency Virus could help reduce the chances of the disease being transmitted through sexual activity, one of the four ways in which it can spread (the others being through blood, through breast milk and infected syringes)

Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona, evaluated the speed at which the new antiretroviral drug, Dolutegravir, is able to reduce the viral load, or the amount of HIV in semen.

Semen is considered to be a reservoir of the virus and drugs so far have not be able to access it easily, said the press release issued by the Insitute.

The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. An editorial published in the same issue of the journal said that of the estimated 2.1 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2015, an overwhelming majority were sexually transmitted, most often through semen.

The researchers measured the viral load in the blood and semen before starting treatment, then at three days, seven days, 14 days, one month, three months and then six months. They found out that the viral load drop goes down quickly in the first few day and a weeks.

The current treatment is able to decrease blood viral load within six to nine months but still 5%-25% of the patients maintain detectable levels of virus in their semen.

Therefore, in case of couples where one is HIV positive, the person who is HIV negative is advised to take anti-HIV drugs as a preventive measure, along with using condoms. This research may help arrive at better prevention options for such couples.

The authors of the study were Dr Daniel Podzamczer, Dr Jordi Niubó from Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Dr Angela D Kashuba of the University of North Carolina’s Center for AIDS Research and Dr Javier Martínez-Picado of IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, Barcelona.

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Money plays a big role in leading a fulfilled life. But here are some other factors to not discount

A large global survey has some surprising answers to how we think about life.

What’s the one thing that makes you feel most fulfilled? This was one of the simple questions asked to more than two million people in a worldwide survey conducted by Abbott, the global healthcare company. According to the survey, on a scale of 100, with 100 being “living fully”, Indians ranked themselves at 61, behind the global average of 68.4 and much behind China at 79 and Mexico at 75. Not surprisingly, with such a massive scale and scope, the survey results offered some startling insights into how people across countries think about their lives.

One of the biggest paradoxes the survey uncovered was that most people—nearly 44% of the respondents—felt money was the ultimate stumbling block keeping them from a fulfilled life. When asked about the one thing that makes them feel most fulfilled, money was not the number one response for even a single country. So why did people still claim it to be the top barrier?

One way to understand this is to study the top things that do make people fulfilled across the world. This showed a remarkable consensus. Globally most respondents selected “family” as the number one factor of fulfillment except in China, where “health” was considered more crucial to personal fulfillment. Attributes like “spirituality”, “success”, “giving”, “travel”, “community”, “health”, “music” and “adventure” also scored well in different parts of the globe.

Source: Abbot Global Study
Source: Abbot Global Study

It is clear that money can enable us to accomplish many of the things which give us a sense of fulfillment. It enables us to travel more, learn new things and even take better care of our health.

However, it is when we consider the pursuit of money as the primary key to fulfillment and an end in itself that the problems begin. Perhaps this is because we postpone our immediate happiness or ignore the things that give us joy for the sake of some distant financial goal. In India, especially, there is a tendency to prioritise work over family and friends. In the pursuit of wealth, we often avoid social occasions and get-togethers and skip simple acts of companionship like dining with family or wishing friends on important occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Tellingly, nearly 23% Indian respondents chose “priorities” as the top barrier to fulfillment. This can lead to fatigue or burnout. It can also lead to increased emotional distance from friends and family, and contribute to a general sense of apathy in life. To top that, we may never realise how much money is enough money to do things that will bring us happiness and may continue to chase money at the cost of other joys. While being financially responsible is undeniably a virtue, it should not distract us, at least for long, from other drivers that directly contribute to personal fulfillments.

Ultimately, happiness is a choice. Many people choose to hold on to the “negative stimuli” in their lives. They choose to focus on the problems they face rather than the positive aspects in their life. Once you choose to be happy and focus on taking decisions that will make you happy rather than just make you money or bring you superficial success, it will become a lot easier to feel fulfilled. Think of happiness as a resource—an asset that needs be grown and cultivated just like your bank balance.

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The path to greater fulfilment is a deeply personal one. Thankfully, there are many resources available that can help people around the world define and lead a more fulfilled life. Abbott is committed to helping people live the best life possible. Their website features life hacks for work or personal time like those listed below. These are great tools for those ready to lead a more fulfilled and meaningful life, starting today.

Source: Abbot Global Study
Source: Abbot Global Study

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

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