Every year on December 1st, World AIDS Day is observed to memorialize those who have lost their lives to the virus, to unite communities fighting the disease together, and to remove stigma against HIV-positive people. It’s also a chance for public and private organizations to work together to raise awareness of the disease’s diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
Let us discover more about the disease, the theme for the World AIDS Day 2021, and the steps that can be undertaken to prevent its spread.
THE THEME FOR 2021
This year, the theme centers around- ‘End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.
The topic emphasises that, as much as the deadly virus impacts people, the disease’s societal stigma also harms them to a larger extent. As the global pandemic worsens inequality and services are disrupted, HIV patients’ lives are becoming increasingly difficult and complicated.
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Four decades after the first cases of AIDS were reported, HIV persists as a global threat. Today, the world is not on track to achieve its common goal of eliminating AIDS by 2030 due to inadequate knowledge or instruments to combat the disease, but rather to structural inequities that impede HIV prevention and treatment methods.
SIGNIFICANCE OF TESTING
Every person who may be at risk of contracting HIV should get tested, according to the World Health Organization. Simple and inexpensive quick diagnostic tests, as well as self-tests, can be used to detect HIV infection. HIV testing services must adhere to the 5Cs: consent, confidentiality, counselling, accurate results, and linkage to treatment and other resources.
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People who get diagnosed with HIV should be offered and linked to antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon as feasible after diagnosis, and clinical and laboratory parameters, including a test to assess virus in the blood, should be followed on a regular basis (viral load).
STEPS FOR ITS PREVENTION
Take an HIV test
Before you have sex, talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested.
Select sexual behaviours that are less likely to spread the virus
Having sex without using a condom or without taking HIV prevention or treatment medications is the most common way for HIV to spread.
Have less number of sexual partners
The more partners you have, the more probable you are to have a partner with HIV that is poorly controlled or a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Both of these conditions can make you more susceptible to HIV.
Get tested for STDs and treated if necessary
Insist on having your partners checked and treated as well. If you have an STD, you’re more likely to contract HIV or spread it to others.
Discuss PrEP with your doctor
PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an HIV prevention strategy for people who are HIV-negative yet at risk of contracting the virus. When used as prescribed, PrEP is very successful at preventing HIV.
Do not inject any drugs.
If you do, make sure to use only sterilised drug injection equipment and water, and don’t share your equipment with others.
This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Your doctor should be consulted for any medical advise. Dr. B Lal accepts no responsibility for the contents of this information, despite the fact that every precaution was taken in its development.