Today is the International World AIDS Day which aims to heighten awareness regarding the AIDS pandemic, its causes, consequences and current cases. It also campaigns for HIV prevention and education such as the practice of safe sex and anti-discrimination. This movement started in 1988 and every year, a theme for different target demographics is chosen. In 2007, 33.4 million people live to be HIV-positive in which 2.1 million are children under 15; and 2 million were recorded as AIDS-related deaths.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a disease which attacks one’s immune system caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This virus is transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids such as blood transfusion, sexual intercourse without use of protection and pregnancy (Mother-to-child Transmission). Contrary to popular belief, an HIV-positive patient is different with an AIDS patient. When a person is HIV-positive, he has the virus but the virus hasn’t infected his immune system just yet. He can undergo the highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART , a series of drug intakes to inhibit viral infection. However, this therapy is expensive and not available in all countries. An AIDS patient, on the other hand, is one who’s immune system is severely weakened by the virus which cripples him to recover from diseases. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) highlights HIV prevention through efficient policy actions such as promoting sexual reproductive health, mobilizing communities in educating its citizens, and ensuring investments in advocacy against HIV/AIDS.
As for me, I’ve always been a supporter of the AIDS movement. I believe the spread of HIV/AIDS can be significantly reduced if only we are responsible enough to look after our actions. One silly example (but true!) is going to random tattoo parlor during ‘spurs of the moment’. I do not think that’s exactly adventurous and the wisest thing to do, invest in one safe tattoo parlor or don’t get one at all. Another situation or irresponsibility can be attributed to blood banks that have lapses in accuracy when testing the blood donors; people need them to save their lives not for suicide. And of course, there is always safe sex. I mean, really, not only will it avoid unwanted pregnancies but it will also reduce the chances of getting infected with AIDS and other STDs in more ways than one. Just like in the ads, ‘We must spread the word not the virus.’ Educate the youth who have no access to information and practice what we preach.
HIV/AIDS is not the enemy. It is the result of lack of responsibility, discipline and information-sharing. If we do not help prevent the spread of AIDS, we all become prone and helpless — a sure cure for overpopulation, that is.
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