How accurate are what you know HIV/AIDS? by
By Ihegwuagu Peter Tochukwu
I know you must have heard of HIV/AIDS before? How accurate is the information you know? Do you still doubt if HIV is real? Maybe online articles on HIV/AIDS are getting you more confused?
If Yes is your answer to these questions, then this article is for you. In this article, I will be sharing some accurate and basic information about HIV/AIDS. Take note of the word I used: ACCURATE. The good thing about this write-up is the simple terms used throughout.
No jargon! Just plain English that even a 5 year old child will easily understand.
But before we start, here are some statistics about HIV I would like you to see.
As at 2015, 36.7 million people are living with HIV worldwide while 3.2 million Nigerians are HIV positive.
For more data on click for more HIV info.
What is the meaning of HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus while AIDS means Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
HIV is a virus while AIDS is the disease condition it causes.
Let me put it this way, small hole appears on your umbrella. If you don’t fix it, it will increase into a big tear. Once it rains, the umbrella will not cover you from the rain again. That big tear is AIDS while the small hole is HIV.
This is the simplest way I can explain it. Let’s continue...
Just as the small hole turned into a big tear, HIV infection can turn into AIDS if the virus is not detected early or not properly treated. This is why going for HIV test every 3-6 months is important. Currently, there is no known cure for HIV/AIDS but there are drugs that will prevent the virus from increasing in number inside the body.
What does HIV do to the human body?
Once this virus enters the body, they multiply in number and weaken the Human immune-system gradually. This is why immunodeficiency is attached to its name. Immune system is what the body uses to fight off anything that might lead to illness.
Let’s call it the umbrella in the story I told you earlier. If this immune-system is weakened, suffering from any type of disease becomes common and in the case of HIV infection, it is called AIDS.
How can one get infected with HIV?
Do you think being infected with HIV is a sign of promiscuity? If yes, you are wrong.
Exchange of body fluid (semen and vaginal fluid) during unprotected sexual intercourse with infected persons account for most cases of new HIV infection but there are other modes of transmission like:
- Transfusion of unscreened infected blood.
- Sharing of body piercing objects like syringe with infected persons.
- Contact with infected blood when you have open wounds.
- Transmission from infected mother to her child during delivery or breast feeding.
So next time you hear about someone being infected with HIV, don’t be quick to label the person promiscuous.
How do I know my HIV status?
For now, HIV counseling and Testing (HCT) is the ONLY way to determine the HIV status of a person. It involves collection of blood sample from a person to detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. Without the test, you cannot confirm anybody’s HIV status. It is wrong to associate rapid weight loss with HIV infection without first conducting HCT.
How can I prevent myself from being infected with HIV?
"AIDS no dey show for face"
"Prevention is better than cure"
Prevention remains the most effective means to combat HIV. Some of the preventive measures are:
- · Abstinence from sexual intercourse especially for unmarried individuals.
- · Faithfulness to one partner.
- · Correct and consistent use of condom.
- · Avoid sharing of body piercing objects like razor, syringe etc. with people.
- · Insisting that blood is screened before transfusion.
- · Avoid patronizing local finger nail cutters.
- · Ensuring that pregnant women are tested for HIV before delivery.
These are basic HIV/AIDS information you need to know. As an addition, 1st December of every eye is World AIDS day, a day set apart to raise awareness on the scourge of HIV/AIDS.