Monday, December 1, 2008
World Aids Day
Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in the number of people receiving treatment.
Worlds AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity for all to come together to demonstrate the importance of universal access to comprehensive prevention programs, treatment, care & support for the disease.
Now let's take a refresher course:
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system (the body's defense against infection). It uses healthy white blood cells to replicate itself, breaking down the immune system and leaving the body more susceptible to illness. Without treatment, the body becomes less able to fight off germs that we are exposed to everyday. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, where the immune system is so weakened that it is no longer able to fight off any infection, thus leaving the body more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia & various forms of cancer.
HIV is transmitted from person to person thru the exchange of the following bodily fluids - blood, semen (including pre-cum), vaginal secretions & breast milk. The modes of transmission are unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex, sharing any type needles, child-birth, donor products, job injury, sharing sex toys and blood transfusions before 1985. It is not transmitted through casual contact like hugging, kissing, using public toilets, sharing eating utensils, pools or coughing.
Since discovered, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people. In many developing countries, women have few rights and choices in life, including choices that could protect them from HIV. Women often don't have the power to decide whether or with whom they have sex. They lack the power to negotiate condom use, to avoid sexual violence, or to feed their children without entering prostitution.
In this country, we do have that power. If you haven't already, take leadership of your life and your body. Get tested. Know your status and act accordingly to the results. Use protection.
And ladies..if you're sexually active or thinking about it, know that it is a good & right thing to have your own condoms.