HIV and AIDS Awareness

by Brian JM Joseph

This is a call to all young persons, marginalized groups, commercial sex workers and those who are living in promiscuity or promiscuous lifestyles. I’m urging you to take care the necessary precautions in protecting yourself against the deadly disease HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

We often take life for granted, until it’s too late. We only have one life to live. Therefore we need to safeguard it. We are often told, “it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.” This is a virus that has no cure – it can only be suppressed with antiretroviral drugs.

These are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. Different classes of antiretroviral drugs act at different stages of the HIV life cycle. A combination of several (typically 3 or 4) antiretroviral drugs is known as Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART).

Once a person is infected with HIV, there can be no turning back. No ‘I’m sorry’, no ‘if I had known’. What would then be required is a series of health checks ever so often, diet changes, vitamin supplements and regular CD4 and viral load checks.

Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in your blood. The more HIV there is in your blood (and therefore the higher your viral load), the faster your CD4 cell count will fall, and the greater your risk of becoming ill.

What is CD4?

CD4+ T helper cells are white blood cells that are an essential part of the human immune system. They are often referred to as CD4 cells, T-helper cells or T4 cells.

What is normal CD4?

These are the cells that HIV kills. As HIV infection progresses, the number of these cells declines. When the CD4 count drops below 200 due to advanced HIV disease, a person is diagnosed with AIDS. A normal range for CD4 cells is about 500–1,500.

Information today is widely available at everyone’s disposal, so let’s not become complacent. Don’t let your guard down.

Let’s act now and protect ourselves and those we love.

Let’s raise the education awareness on HIV and AIDS. Together we can fight the spread of this deadly disease by teaching and encouraging safer sex practices.

Why is it important to get tested for HIV?

It’s important to get tested because it creates a sense of security in one’s relationship.

Why should confidentiality be a number one priority amongst healthcare professional when it comes to HIV and AIDS patients?

Everyone deserves to be respected regardless of status in life, and the rules of confidentiality apply to all. Our biggest problem is lack of respect for one another.

Everyone is entitled to their rights of privacy, especially when it comes to medical care, rights to protection of medical information, and confidentiality by medical professionals.

Who is at risks for contracting HIV?

Anyone who has unprotected sexual intercourse, anyone that comes in contact with contaminated blood or blood products, anyone that comes in contact with seminal, vaginal, and some other body fluids.

Taboos about HIV and AIDS

Many people believe one can contract HIV by kissing, sharing living space, sharing toilets, and eating utensils.

That’s absolute nonsense, and we need to educate ourselves more on how the HIV virus is spread.?

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