AIDS. That term has many negative connotations. People hear it and immediately think wrongly of the person. It is stigmatized and the person with HIV/AIDS is ostracized.
World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
But what is AIDS?
In simple terms, it is a spectrum of conditions caused by an infection. But it is a particularly incurable infection. It interferes with the immune system, increasing the risk of developing other common infections. In later stages, it is also often associated with unintended weight loss.
How does it happen though?
AIDS starts as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus,), which is spread primarily through contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, unprotected sex, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. It then develops into AIDS if the HIV infection is with either a CD4+ T cell count below 200 cells per uL or there is an occurrence of specific diseases associated with the HIV infection.
Is it preventable?
Of course it is! You just need to understand the risks and protect yourself from them. For example, use condoms and limit the number of sexual partners. Additionally, get tested for STDs and AIDS if you are active or pregnant or a new mother (nursing your baby). Ensure that the equipment being used to treat you is sterile. And talk to your doctor openly and honestly. Your doctor wants the best for you, so don't go about hiding details about your life. It can only come back to hurt you in the future.
Sometimes, especially among the youngest, there is great confusion on the subject of HIV. This is why it is important to inform yourself and dispel false myths still believed. But let's see what are the most common belief that can be debunked with correct information.
AIDS can be cured
This is perhaps the most dangerous false belief of all. Thanks to the progress made by science, it is possible to control the HIV virus by preventing it from suddenly resulting in the disease it carries: AIDS. This allows HIV-positive people to have a life expectancy similar to those who have not contracted the virus. But it is necessary to know that we are still far from being able to say that there is a definitive cure for those who, unfortunately, test positive for HIV or are sick with AIDS.
Dating an HIV-positive person is risky
It is not true to think that having frequent contact with an HIV-positive person is in itself a risk. Being friends, playing sports, eating together or sharing experiences and places with a person with HIV cannot be considered dangerous behaviour.
For those in monogamous relationships only, HIV testing is not necessary
This is also a dangerous belief. The HIV test should be done periodically by all sexually active people, even if they have been in a monogamous relationship. This is because carrying out the test is the only way to rule out the presence of the virus in the body with certainty. Even if unprotected sex is the most common way to expose yourself to the infection, it is in fact possible that it occurs through the exchange of needles and other risky behaviors. Undergoing periodic checks and HIV testing is a form of prevention that protects yourself and others.
HIV is also transmitted with saliva and sweat
Nothing could be more wrong. The HIV virus is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions or breast milk. It is therefore important to know that contagion through saliva and sweat is not possible. And it is equally crucial to be aware that such a belief causes nothing but irrational and unmotivated fear.
HIV only infects homosexual people and / or drug users
Although HIV initially and predominantly spread to the gay community - being labeled a "gay disease"- we know it is a risk for everyone. HIV can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Those who have contracted HIV can be recognized by their lifestyle
It is not uncommon for misinformation on the subject of HIV to lead to real prejudices regarding people who are stigmatized due to their lifestyle as "at risk". In reality, it is true that there are behaviors that more than others can endanger health, but these cannot be traced so clearly to very specific "categories" of people: we are all "subjects to risk" if we ignore the right rules of prevention. Not only that: more and more children - especially in areas of the world where HIV infection is particularly widespread - are already born HIV positive. And they certainly have no lifestyle to blame.
Women with HIV cannot have children
Women infected with the HIV virus are fertile, but in the later stages of the disease, pregnant women may be at increased risk of miscarriage. Normally the risk of transmitting HIV to the fetus is between 15 and 30 percent, however it can be reduced up to 2-3% if patients follow the doctors' suggestions scrupulously.Edited by WildestDreams - 2 months ago
“Education begins the moment we see children as innately wise and capable beings. Only then can we play along in their world.”
You feel embarrassed, sometimes ashamed, sometimes even afraid: these are the conflicting feelings that assail and sometimes prevent people from talking about sex or simply asking for even small information.
Sex education is high quality teaching and learning about a broad variety of topics related to sex and sexuality. Though it is a debated topic, it is considered by many as a wise decision to introduce the topic of sex to teenagers, especially before they hit puberty.
Teenage is probably the only phase in a person's life when they undergo most changes, physical, emotional and sexual. From changing bodies, to conflicting emotions, it is vital that a teen understands what they are going through. Adolescence is an extremely complex period, both for boys and girls: it is the moment in which we begin to deal with the outside world independently and in which the opinion of the 'group' assumes much more priority.
By providing young people the right information and proper sex education, we can prevent the risk of unplanned pregnancy's and STDs. Information, education and counselling can enhance people’s ability to recognize the symptoms of STIs and increase the likelihood that they will seek care and encourage a sexual partner to do so.
Helping adolescents make healthy choices requires the involvement of families, communities, and many other sectors of society—and schools are an essential part of that effort. Talking about sex with kids today is necessary because, unlike in the past, they are exposed to a myriad of messages and content, online or on TV, which can often be completely misleading and may lead to wrong decisions.
Acknowledging that the children are mature enough to understand sex and sexuality and then explaining to them not only about STDs, but about various sexualities and genders, pregnancy, etc. can help them bloom into wise and kind citizens of the society.
This AIDS day, here's to wishing a more vocal, kind and better society, that is free from stigma and ignorance.
la_Reine | Animagus_Shiri
Excellent thread! Thank you, Crazy Creatives, for your attention to accuracy with this important message.
I am interested in reading fan fictions with HIV+ characters. I am writing a couple of books with an HIV+ character, and I've read the one-shot by Disnhining_star. Are there any others?
Some snippets from past to present. Thank you CCs for this informative thread
Topic started by MinionBoss
Last replied by Supari_khala