WORLD AIDS DAY DEC 1
THEME: Communities Make the Difference
- There were approximately 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018
- 7 million People were newly infected with HIV in 2018
- 770 000 people die of HIV related causes in 2018
- HIV is a major global public health problem, claiming the lives of more than 32 million people so far.
- In 2018 for the first time, individuals from key population groups and their sexual partners accounted for more than half of all new HIV infections globally. This is an estimate of 54%.
- Key populations include: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and their clients and transgender people.
- There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) can control the virus to help prevent onward transmission to other people.
- Between 2000 and 2018, new HIV infections fell by 37% and HIV related deaths fell by 45%, with 13.6 million lives saved due to ART.
What is HIV?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections and some types of cancer. It attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.
If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
There are non-specific symptoms of HIV as they vary depending on the stage of the infection. In the first few weeks after initial infection people may experience no symptoms or influenza like illness like fever, headache, rash, sore throat.
In the later stage, they can develop other signs and symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, tiredness, skin manifestation, diarrhea, cough.
- Unprotected sexual intercourse
- Vertical transmission i.e. from mother to baby
- Coming in contact with body secretion like blood, open wound, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretion
- Having unprotected anal or vaginal sex
- Having another sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and bacterial vaginosis
- Sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment and drug solutions when injecting drugs
- Receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions and tissue transplantation, and medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing
- Experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers
- IV drug abusers.
- Be faithful
- Testing and counseling for HIV and STIs
- Voluntary medical male circumcision. Uncircumcised male have a higher risk of contracting HIV
- Regular screening
- Use of ARVs for prevention
- Regular follow ups
- Counsel and advice
- Taking of drugs regularly
How Do I Know If I Have HIV?
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Testing is relatively simple. You can get tested for HIV at Royal Victoria Medical Centre. You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
For more information on HIV, or for counseling, you can visit Royal Victoria Medical Centre at Golden Spring Estate, Lokogoma.