December 1 is marked as World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the condition. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major health issue as approximately 36.9 million people live with HIV (according to WHO data from 2017). The theme for World AIDS Day this year is ‘Know your status’ which tells people to check their HIV status.
While HIV refers to the virus that causes an HIV infection, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) refers to the most advanced stage of HIV infection. It causes an extremely low CD4 cell count. If untreated, HIV can destroy your immune system and lead to AIDS.
Here are 4 ways in which you can make a difference:
* The theme for World AIDS Day 2018 says it all. Knowing your HIV status can be very helpful. All you need is to get an HIV test done. So, even if you got tested some time back, it is best to get tested again as HIV can be transmitted any time through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or even breast milk. Knowing your status also means that you won’t spread it on to unknowing partners.
* Speak up about the stigma associated with AIDS and HIV. It causes discrimination and worsen the condition of someone living with HIV. Speaking up also means you can raise awareness and prevent people from relying on misinformation, especially the youth who are at greater risk.
* If you know anyone who has HIV or AIDS, make sure you speak to them and listen to what they have to share. Make them feel comfortable, and offer support and reassurance. Help them access resources that are critical to them. Encourage them to stick to the health protocols.
* You can donate to charities that work on AIDS-related causes, or raise awareness about HIV and AIDS among students or the youth, or even fund HIV research.
First Published: Dec 01, 2018 09:51 IST