TODAY IS WORLD AIDS DAY
HIV/AIDS has no cure and when intreated will result result in death. The positive prospect is that the disease is preventable. There are 20.9 million people living with HIV (2016 data). HIV is passed from person to person through sex, transfusion of infected blood, contaminated needles used by drug abusers or from HIV-positive mothers to their babies during childbirth or through breast feeding.
PREVENTION A UNAIDS report warn that men are less likely to access HIV treatment and are more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses. This is because they embark on high risk activities by not using condoms or seeking testing after potential exposure. Children remain vulnerable and it is important that pregnant women be screened to prevent those with HIV passing it to their children during childbirth.
TESTING People who may have been exposed to the risk should have a blood test after about 3 months of exposure. Though there are newer rapid tests that can be done before three months, they are not as accurate as doing the test at three months.
TREATMENT Combination therapy in the form of antiretroviral therapy (ART) is an effective treatment that has resulted with people living with HIV (PLWH) leaving a normal life. These drugs block the entry of the virus into cells or the replication of the virus. It is hoped that these drugs will be made available to PLWH.
THE FUTURE We remember those who died from AIDS. We thank the global community and donor agencies for the concerted efforts to stop HIV/AIDS. Though this disease can be suppressed, there are over 20 million people with HIV who are not being treated.
Great progress against AIDS has been made over the past 15 years but more needs to be done to ensure universal testing and treatment. The global community is committed to ending the epidemic by 2030. Nigeria, through the Federal and State Ministries of Health, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) continues in its quest to fight this scourge. No one should be left behind.
As individuals let us take the necessary steps to prevent this disease and put a stop to it. Let us put an end to the social stigma. Together we can defeat HIV/AIDS.