The past 20 years have shown a landmark improvement in the treatment of HIV/AIDS however, this would not have been possible without the continuous effort of individual’s concerned about people living with HIV/AIDS. These improvements have ensured a better future for people living with HIV/AIDS, the control of its spread, with possible prevention in the nearest future. The joint efforts of HIV/AIDS activists birthed the idea of a day set aside solely to increase awareness about the disease and also show support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
In 1988, the World Aids Day was founded and since then, every 1 December has been set aside to commemorate HIV/AIDS, with each year focusing on a specific theme. The theme for the year 2020 is ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’, the theme depicts the effect the ongoing pandemic had on people living with HIV/AIDS, and how the pandemic contributed to a surge in the number of infected people. Lack of access to antiretroviral medications and HIV/AIDS testing centres, lack of counselling services for people living with HIV/AIDS, increased cases of rape were some of the factors that contributed to the HIV/AIDS infection surge especially the stay-at-home order.
As individual’s we all have a responsibility in showing solidarity towards putting an end to the continuous increase in the number of HIV/AIDS infection and ensuring a better life for the people living with HIV/AIDS, some of the ways we can help are;
Getting tested: this is a major way of showing shared responsibility as it ensures one does not unintentionally transmit HIV/AIDS to other uninfected people, that every infected person gets treatment and other necessary services at the right time. According to the National Agency for the control of AIDS, HIV/AIDS test is recommended be done every 6 months which can be done at various HIV/AIDS centres located in the different part of the country, it is usually free in government hospitals, however, testing at private centres comes with a fee.
Abide by preventive measures: not sharing sharp objects, abstinence from premarital sex, faithfulness to partner are some of the ways of ensuring HIV/AIDS does not spread further than it has already.
Sharing correct information: the negative impact of spreading wrong information was greatly felt during this COVID-19 pandemic as it has led to a few preventable deaths. Just like the COVID-19, giving people the wrong information about HIV/AIDS could also lead to preventable deaths. To stop this from happening, information about where and how to get tested, how HIV/AIDS is transmitted, where to get antiretroviral drugs and counselling services should always be correct and made accessible to the general public through various means of communication.
Curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS should be a communal effort where each individual has a role to play no matter how little it is, lack of awareness about how to act responsibly could be a major drawback for global solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS. Now that you have been informed on how to contribute towards stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS infection, are you ready to act?