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The Facts on HIV/AIDS

  • SumoMe

Do you know the facts and myths when it comes to dealing with HIV/AIDS? How can you help raise awareness and aid in its prevention?

An article by Penny V

First celebrated on 1 December 1988, the day is now annually renowned as an international day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world. Numbers released by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation has indicated that 33.4 AIDSmillion people were living with HIV in 2008, of which children account for 2.1 million. While the figures are slightly higher than 2007, the results also show a decline in the number of deaths and that new infections have dropped 17 percent with the increased availability to treatment.

This year’s theme is the protection of human rights, removing laws that discriminate against people living with HIV and making HIV prevention, treatment, care and support accessible to all.

If HIV/AIDS doesn’t discriminate, why should we?

It’s a tough agenda but non-discrimination laws and right to privacy is a basic human right that should be met. It even includes, a right to liberty and freedom of movement, a right to education and information, as well as prevention services, counselling and testing.

How can you help?

– First-hand knowledge of HIV: its causes, effects and prevention should be your first tool against the fight.

– What’s your HIV status? Know it, so you don’t put others and even yourself at risk.

-Use a condom: it’s the best way to protect yourself and your partner from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, such as genital warts, herpes and the like.

-Be an advocate: wear a red ribbon to support those who are currently affected and help raise awareness

Fact: There’s a difference?

A common misconception is that HIV and AIDS are the same thing, when in fact, it’s a matter of cause and effect. HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, leaving the body’s defence against diseases severely weakened. As such, if left untreated, the HIV weakened immune system  is prey to opportunistic infections or OIs, the most serious of which, are AIDS defining illnesses. So when a person becomes ill with one of the AIDS defining illnesses, the person is said to have AIDS, otherwise known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Fact: How can you get it?

CondomsAs much as people try to scare the living daylights out of you with tales of sitting on a toilet seat, sharing a straw and the like, it comes off as more harmful then helpful. HIV isn’t the plague and can’t be passed onto someone with just a touch.

HIV is passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. Most commonly, it is passed on by sex without a condom with someone who has HIV, sharing infected needles/drug paraphernalia and unfortunately even an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

Fact: Can HIV be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccination that can prevent or cure HIV infection, BUT early detection and treatment can keep the virus under control.

Fact: How can it be prevented?

Not to sound preachy, but condoms should be your best friend. If you think you have a sexually transmitted infection, get it checked out immediately by a qualified doctor. Your partner should get one as well. It’s also best to avoid casual, unprotected sex and of course sharing needles is a big no-no.

So now that you’re armed with the essentials, practice safe sex and wear a ribbon to help raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, today.

Check out some ads raising awareness for HIV/AIDS and the use of condoms.

One comment

  1. It is quite scary that there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS and the only way we can fight it is by prevention. How long would it take our scientists to develop a cure or vaccine for this disease?

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