Friday, 27 February 2015

IGNORANCE AND HIV/AIDS

Every day that goes by, physicians, pharmacologists and scientists fight tooth and nail to provide a cure or a new way of reducing the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS. They strive to invent new drugs that can boost one’s immunity to drastically reduce spread of the virus in the body. New evidences have been confirmed in journals, research reports about tactful methods of reducing the spread of HIV.
 
Additional information has been published on the various practices that increase the possibility of one acquiring HIV. This information has been spread throughout the world and a number of countries that have wholly embraced it have experienced a significant reduction in HIV infection rates within their respective countries. Unfortunately Africa seems to be performing the worst at adopting this vital information and so, has continued to experience increasing HIV infections in many countries regardless of the many preventive measures that have been put in place. The lack of knowledge about this information has been attributed to ignorance among a number of people in Africa.

Ignorance has played a pivotal role in increasing HIV infection rates by providing a fertile ground for the spread of HIV because many people do not think AIDS is that dangerous because antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs are available and freely provided by a number of governments. Many people fear having HIV/AIDS tests despite the fact that it is easily accessible and free of charge in many health centers. 
Numerous couples get married without getting tested for HIV and some partners continue to have unprotected sex with other sexual partners outside marital boundaries. These partners may be infected and this exposes their unsuspecting partner to HIV/AIDS even when they remain faithful to one partner. 
Some People believe in the use of condoms as a very reliable way of preventing HIV. Fortunately condoms can be a powerful tool in preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV inclusive but just a few people will comfortably confirm that they use condoms correctly and consistently. 
A number of societies and religions in Africa are against the use of contraceptive methods which include condoms and so many a times people cannot freely access condoms in fear of judgment by other members of society. Some adults cannot actually buy condoms within a public place and so resort to using condoms from friends but unfortunately the condoms they get cannot be relied on for 99% efficiency. 

A number of teenage girls are forced into marriages with older men who in most cases have other wives. These men can easily spread HIV to these innocent girls and yet will most probably never get tested for HIV unless severe symptoms have surfaced. Many youth are more scared of pregnancy than they are of sexually transmitted diseases, so they may not value the use of condoms. Many people lack knowledge about immediate medical measures like post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) that can be used to prevent HIV shortly after a sexual encounter with an HIV positive person.

A lot of effort has to be put in increasing awareness about HIV prevention from a tender age so that children grow up with facts and effective ways of preventing HIV infections. Most of the information is provided to people when they are already grown up which may come in late after people have been infected. Every parent, teacher, sibling and friend has a responsibility to teach a child about HIV when they are still young. (Image credit to www.issafrica.org)
The HIV free generation starts WITH YOU.



Sunday, 22 February 2015

WHY YOUNG PEOPLE USE DRUGS?



Ian is a smart young man, around 16 years of age with a bright future ahead of him. He joins this school that has always been on his mind. The fact that he was admitted on merit justifies the famous quote that “dreams come true.” All is going well until this boy picks on him, the reason for doing so is simply because he is new in the school, this happens every time Ian meets this bully on the school compound. A concerned friend approaches him with a solution, he tells him about the value of taking drugs in the school and how it can easily lift up his status. Ian is skeptical, but he is convinced that all bullies will not bug him anymore but rather respect him as a “real man.” Ian finally decides to try out a “blunt” (marijuana), the euphoric experience he gets is so thrilling that he tries it again on the second day. This continues on for several weeks until teachers start complaining about his rebelliousness and consistent absence in class, this does not bother Ian in at all. Eventually the school expels Ian after attempting to fight a teacher during communal work.

This is the story of many young people out there, drugs are never in their plans but simply become an escape route for a number of the challenges young people face today. Youth occasionally think of using drugs as a means of evading stressing factors like heart breaks, poor academic performance but some believe drugs boost confidence. This is considered a solution but unfortunately it does not really solve anything but one thing is for sure, it creates another problem on top of the current distresses.

A number of young people have not been groomed to value themselves, they have a very low self-esteem. This puts them in a position where they cannot have a personal stand when it comes to discussions that involve a number of people. They will not feel secure standing for what they believe in and so get easily influenced into taking drugs by peers who may consider “drugging” a pivotal role of every member in the clique.

Some young stars try out drugs to improve their performance in sports encounters, most especially the type that requires extreme physical performance and are very competitive. Drugs become a short cut for some youth who wish to perform better than all their opponents but do not believe they can do it all on their own. Some take drugs out of curiosity, this is usually driven by the persuasive myths about the beauty of using drugs that are usually carried around by people who wish to get market for their “product.”   

Many youth use drugs because of the numerous media contents portraying drugs as a “posh” thing to use. Several artists continue to make songs beautifying the use of drugs as cool thing with many videos being produced that have influential characters using drugs in a very jolly environment. This directly encourages young people to try out drugs as a means of finding identity and seeking fame.

Regardless of a person’s reason for using drugs, they still have grave effects on their life. You can do something today to save a life tomorrow. (image credit to www.behavioralrevenue.com)




Friday, 20 February 2015

THE JOURNEY BEYOND BEING HIV/AIDS POSITIVE



HIV/AIDS has become a pillar of terror all over the world claiming many lives and at a terrific speed. Every continent, every nation, every town and every family has not survived the effects of this epidemic. Africa has been the affected most as a continent with an estimate of around 80% of the people infected with HIV all over the world residing in Africa. This has been used as a demeaning factor because many people think of Africa as a death pit for HIV.  HIV/AIDS is probably the number one topic of discussion all over the world with more information being generated every day to reduce its severe effects. This information has created immense awareness all over the globe but unfortunately even with this much information, it continues to spread rapidly among many people.
A number of children in Africa are born with HIV through mother to child (MTC) transmission, usually because pregnant mothers at times do not get tested for HIV and so HIV positive mothers pass on the virus to the children during the birth process. At times mothers get tested but fail to have safe births which can be conducted in hospitals by professional midwives  who can eliminate the chances of the mother’s and child’s blood from mixing.
Stigmatization also plays a big role in increasing infections because it makes very many people living with HIV positive uncomfortable in public. This is mainly because they are always judged as immoral and considered to be unfit to live with the rest of the community so they hide their status. This has scared of many people from getting tested for HIV and yet they still engage in unprotected sex.
Being HIV positive is not the end of the road though, when discovered early, one can take medications to boost their immune system if the virus has not yet wholly affected the immune system and in this case no antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) are necessary at the moment. People living with HIV need all the support everyone can provide in order to live a happy and fulfilled life. HIV cannot rob a person of their mental, social and physical abilities if they have a strong and dependable social support system that believes in them and what they do. When social support is provided, people are in a better position to disclose their HIV status. This ensures adequate support from the people within someone’s immediate circles.

People living positively with HIV can also become pillars of hope to the many who feel defeated not only by HIV but also other chronic illnesses. I have been inspired by many people living positively with HIV/AIDS because they have chosen not to be defined by a health condition. They wake up every morning to accomplish all they have to without feeling inferior to other people even when they feel stigmatized at times. 
The fathers who continue to love and provide for their families with a smile on their faces amidst so much discouragement, the mothers who continue to care and cherish their children in spite of the many hurdles they encounter daily and the young people who strengthen and empower fellow youth living with HIV everywhere they go despite not knowing what the future holds for them at times. 
(Image credit to www.medicalobserver.com.au)