Lack of awareness Stands as the Biggest hurdle in our Fight against HIV!Dec 01, 2018
AIDS is a disease that is one of the most secretive and yet one of the most deadly diseases in India. The stigma attached with the disease runs deep into the societal fabric of the country and touches upon many issues such as gender inequality, non-acceptance of homosexuals and transgender, sexual oppression, etc.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, let us take a detailed look at how the disease is affecting the people of our country and how to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly.
What is HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a disease that directly attacks the immune system of human beings and rapidly causes a decline in body weight and eventually leads to death. Though there are new developments in the field of medicine that are able to successfully slow down the progression of the disease once a person is infected, there is no cure yet.
The disease spreads through contact with ruptured mucous membranes or when directly injected into the blood stream. It is sexually transmitted in majority of the cases.
Victims in India
India ranks third in terms of the number of people living with HIV. Over 2 million victims are present in the country. Yet, there is a surprising silence about the whole issue. The disease is associated with shame and immorality and hence dialogue about the disease and support for the victims is very hard to come by in our country.
There are many victims who are breaking the shackles of the stigma and starting support groups for other victim. They are also raising awareness about the reality of the disease and are trying to lift the veil of shame that the victims are subject to. However, there is still a long way to go in this regard.
It is due to lack of proper awareness that the disease is continuing to spread in the country and this is an issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible to ensure that the people of the country remain safe and healthy.
Basic ways to prevent infection
HIV infection can be prevented when proper measures are taken and with adequate awareness about how the disease spreads. Here are a few basic pointers to keep in mind.
Stay away from unprotected sex
With unprotected sex being the main causes of the spread of the disease, it is very important to ensure that you do not have risky sex without using condoms. The vaginal opening and the penis contain membranes that can transmit the diseases to exposed people and so this must be kept in mind while having anal or vaginal sex.
Do not reuse used needles
HIV virus can stay inside needles for many days. This makes it very risky to use used needles that may have been used earlier by people who are HIV positive. To be sure of not being at risk, it is better to always use fresh needles and generally avoid the use of needles for injecting drugs, medicines, etc.
Get tested and know your sexual partner’s status
It is important to get tested for HIV as early detection can offer more options for resisting the progression of the disease. It is also equally important to know your sexual partner well and get them tested for HIV as well. This is, in fact, the most important and basic part of HIV prevention. Homosexual people are especially more susceptible to the disease and this needs to be kept in mind.
Use medication to prevent the disease
There is medication and healthcare options available for people who want to remain safe from contracting the disease or for people who know that they are at high risk. Discuss these options with your healthcare provider at the earliest to get the right kind of help. Pregnancy in the case of HIV positive individuals also poses a high risk for the foetus and options to protect the baby must be discussed as soon as possible.