Why Is Awareness The First Step

World AIDS Day: Why is awareness the first step?

The 1st of every December is commemorated as World AIDS Day, a day to observe and demonstrate international solidarity around the disease. World AIDS Day is a time to not only raise awareness, but also celebrate the efforts invested into the prevention, treatment and daily caregiving for the disease.

Approximately 38 million people globally suffer from HIV/AIDS. Putting a spotlight on the disease – as we do every December – is particularly important because there is a need to raise awareness, raise funds, fight commonly associated  stigmas and improve the quality of treatment and care services for persons suffering from it. With greater awareness, more can be done to understand the disease, and hopefully shed better light onto the steps that can be taken to better manage it.

What is HIV and AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which destroys the white blood cells that protects us against attacks by bacteria and other harmful infections. Thus, it reduces the body’s ability to defend itself and increases the chances of catching a severe infection.

AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is the end stage of the HIV infection where the body has little to no immunity left. Due to having a severely weakened immune system, a patient with AIDS is left vulnerable to various diseases and cancers which can be fatal.

Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help to improve a patient’s quality of life by suppressing the replication of the virus.

What are some of the common myths and misconceptions around AIDS?

Busting some common myths and misconceptions around the disease is an important step in increasing awareness.

Myth 1: Only same-sex intercourse can expose you to the risk of HIV.

  • Individuals who engage in intercourse, same-sex or not, without a condom are also exposed to the risks of contracting the disease. The risk only increases when one engages in unprotected intercourse with multiple partners.

Myth 2: Only drug abusers contract the disease.

  • While individuals who share or reuse syringes for drug consumption expose themselves to the risk, this isn’t limited to just them. The misuse of needles in healthcare settings and unprotected intercourse are also risk factors for contracting HIV.

Myth 3: HIV is contagious – it can spread through the sharing of items such as cutlery or clothes.

How can improved awareness contribute to healthier outcomes?

The more people are educated around the topic, there is a higher chance of them leading healthier sex lives. It is also of utmost importance that sexually active individuals are in the know about topics surrounding sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV. Simple steps like learning how to have protected intercourse can greatly improve health statistics.

Another important step is to have healthy and open communication lines with your partner as it improves both parties’ impressions and attitudes towards protected sex, thus, reducing the chances of contracting HIV.

Caregiving for persons with HIV/AIDS

Because there is no cure, caregiving services for persons afflicted with HIV involves therapy and medication to minimise damage to the  body’s immune system. Regular antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be highly effective in getting the virus under control.

Dismantling the stigmas around HIV/AIDS will also have a great impact on the quality of caregiving they receive from healthcare assistants and family members alike. Many afflicted individuals tend to suffer from emotional distraught due to the various stigmas stacked against them, all of which are not helpful in managing the disease.

Seek caregiving services from our JagaPros

Taking care of your loved ones shouldn’t be difficult. No matter the circumstances you face, our team is adept at dealing with the different issues surrounding the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients. Medical or non-medical, the financial and emotional weight of caregiving on a full-time basis can be challenging. With our home care services, you can trust in our expertise and partner with our nurses to provide your loved one with a manageable day-to-day life.

For more information on acquiring support for loved ones, read more here.

Find out more about Jaga-Me and our services here.

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