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All You Need To Know About AIDS!

*WORLD AIDS DAY*

_1st December, 2020_


_Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)._ _In a more simpler term, *The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)*, a condition in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive._
_HIV/AIDS can be transmitted sexually, via contaminated needles or blood transfusions, and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding._

_On 1st December of every year, the global community comes together to mark World AIDS Day to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS._
_The theme of World AIDS Day this year is *“global solidarity and shared responsibility”* owing to the world presently engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic._


*HIV/AIDS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC*

_COVID-19 is threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development over the past 20 years, including the gains made against HIV._
_Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing how important it is for the world to come together, with determined leadership from governments and communities to sustain and expand access to essential services, including HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care._
_The pandemic is making it even more challenging for countries to provide these services, particularly in areas affected by conflict, disasters, outbreaks and rapid population growth. This is on top of the fact that in the African Region new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are not reducing fast enough to meet the *Sustainable Development Goal target of ending AIDS epidemics by 2030.*_
_*This World AIDS Day aims in demanding global solidarity and shared responsibility to maintain HIV services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond so as to help achieve the 2030 targets.*_

_*HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS IN NIGERIA AND THE WORLD AT LARGE*_

➡️ _Globally, there are 38 million people living with HIV and 67% of them are living in the WHO African Region. In 2019, more than 1 million people in the Region were newly infected with HIV, accounting for 60% of the global total, and sadly, 440,000 people in the Region died from HIV-related causes._

➡️ _More than 12 million people are still waiting to get on HIV treatment and 1.7 million people became infected with HIV in 2019 because they could not access essential services._

➡️ _Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa._

➡️ _*Many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status.* Nigeria continues to fall short of providing the recommended number of HIV testing and counselling sites._

➡️ _Approximately 45,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in Nigeria in 2019._

➡️ _In 2016, it was estimated that 14.4% of sex workers were living with HIV in Nigeria. This is a significant drop since 2013 when it was estimated that 24.5% of sex workers were living with HIV. *HIV prevalence among sex workers is still eight times higher than the general population.*_

➡️ _In 2016, 240,000 adolescents (between the ages of 10-19) were living with HIV, making up 7% of the total number of people with HIV in Nigeria._

➡️ _In Nigeria it is estimated that 58% of the people living with HIV are women._

➡️ _In 2016, 34% of adults living with HIV were aware of their status. Across the country, *testing rates are low: only 15.1% of people between the ages of 15-49 had tested in the last 12 months and knew their results.*_

➡️ _Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world._

➡️ According to UNICEF, _More than 47 Nigerian children and adolescents die every day from AIDS-related causes._
*_Only 35 percent of children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment._*

➡️ _According to UNICEF Nigeria,89,000 children under the age of five were infected during pregnancy or birth and 76,000 were infected during breastfeeding in 2018._

*_HERE ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HIV/AIDS_*

➡️ _”You can tell someone has HIV/AIDS through their physical appearance or stature”._

_*Fact: You can’t tell if someone has HIV or AIDS by looking. An infected person can appear completely healthy. But anyone infected with HIV can infect other people, even if no symptoms are present.*_

➡️: _”I can get HIV/AIDS by being around people who are HIV-positive.”_

*Fact: Research has shown that HIV is not spread through touch, tears, sweat, or saliva.*
HIV cannot be gotten by:

_-Breathing the same air as someone who is HIV-positive._

_-Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after an HIV-positive person._

_-Drinking from a water fountain._

_-Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive._

_-Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-positive person._

_-Using exercise equipment at a gym._

*An individual can be infected with HIV only from from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, mother to child during pregnancy or through mother’s milk.*

➡️ _”I can get HIV from mosquitoes.”_

_*Fact: Because HIV is spread through blood, people have worried that biting or bloodsucking insects might spread HIV. Several studies, however, show no evidence to support this — even in areas with lots of mosquitoes and cases of HIV. When insects bite, they do not inject the blood of the person or animal they have last bitten.*_

➡️ _”HIV/AIDS Patients don’t live long”._

*_Fact: In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives._*

➡️ _”You cannot get HIV if you are using birth control methods like diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, spermicides, or the Pill.”_

_Fact: These birth control methods do not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV. *They only aim to prevent pregnancy. The surest way to prevent both pregnancy and an STD is through abstinence*._*

➡️ _”When on HIV therapy you can’t transmit the virus to anyone else.”_
_*Fact: Antiretroviral drugs don’t keep you from passing the virus to others. Therapy can keep the viral load down to undetectable levels, but HIV is still present in the body and can still be transmitted to others.*_

*HIV/AIDS HAS NO CURE BUT IT’S PREVENTABLE BY PRACTICING SAFE PERSONAL, ENVIRONMENTAL HYGIENIC PRACTICES AND ABSTINENCE FROM ALL FORMS OF IMMORAL SEXUAL PRACTICES*

©️ *Adefemi Olajide*

By Adefemi Olajide

A Spoken Words Artiste || A Writer/Poet || An Inspirational Speaker || A Sport & Health Analyst|| A Teacher of the Word & Science.

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