Monday 23 November 2009


Asia and Africa are the most vulnerable continents where the AIDS pandemic has been spiralling due to lack of information. It is spread equally across the disadvantaged section of society as well as the well-to-do lot. Around 33.2 million people are living with this disease world-wide, as per the official figures which are supposed to be manipulated to the lower side, and many people would have been living in an ignorant state about carrying the infection, or due to no medical facilities in the locality. 90% of people have no knowledge about suffering from AIDS. 

Last week I happen to witness the narration by an HIV positive man, whose wife is HIV positive too. They have a daughter who is fortunately not infected with the virus. The man, his wife and the daughter suffer from humiliation, discrimination and societal isolation. At the outset people perceive that he might have had unprotected physical relation (grossly unacceptable in the Indian society) with an infected person. Other reasons of the virus transmission are not considered at all. 

While he was heartbroken, I recalled the AIDS prevention advertisement by Shabana Aazmi. In which she hugs HIV-Positive girl, spreading the message that the virus does not spread through casual contacts. Shaking hands, a peck on the cheek, hugging etc does not spread the HIV virus.

This is my stint with the topic: 
Some 4-5 years ago. I was down with fever and had bad shivers. My parents decided to get me tested for Malaria. For the test, a pin supported by a plastic holder was supposed to be pricked on my finger. I was a bit apprehensive that the pin used on me is not sterilised, and I instantly pulled off my hand. On enquiring the person politely replied that we don't use unsterilized equipments. I was proud of my promptness and surprised with the politeness of the person at other end. This is the benefit of being informed, I could have carried a doubt but I cleared it at the moment. I have been particularly cautious to buy sterilised syringes. Unfortunately medical professionals in rural areas are reported to use unsterilised, corroded syringes repeatedly on patients. Nurses don't even know how AIDS spread, they live with understanding that AIDS spreads as cough and cold. As per reports, it infects a person, during his/her most productive age. Discrimination at workplace often leads to the person getting sacked and being unable to afford treatment cost. Discrimination in society leads to lesser support. 

Some features about the disease, this is not a diagnosis but a few facts: 

AIDS / HIV - Positive status is incurable. Once you have it you have to live with it till death. 

AIDS lowers the immunity of the infected person, and the person ultimately dies as is unable to fight diseases due to low immunity. 

HIV is the virus and AIDS is a disease. Being HIV positive does not mean that the person is affected with AIDS, its when an HIV positive person starts showing the symptoms of AIDS and have been confirmed with the disease through a test.
Antiretroviral drugs are available to make an infected person survive for a longer time. This helps in delaying an infected person to switch from HIV - positive status to AIDS

Antiretroviral drugs have to be consumed everyday without fail

NGOs and social organisations have been fighting with the stigma associated with HIV-AIDS. A person suffering from AIDS and witnessing stigma or discrimination can complain with NACO here

Amongst the educated ones, who feel that they don't know much about the virus and the disease, can do a bit of google search, or dial AIDS toll-free helpline at 1800-180-2008 from BSNL/MTNL numbers, or 0172-266217 from other telephone networks. The Government of India's initiative National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) also runs a telephonic helpline for people suffering from AIDS as 1097. The society can come together and disseminate as much information as possible about how it is spread and how it can be prevented. Wikipedia also pays a considerable web-page share for AIDS. To visit the page Click Here

Author's Note: The disease of AIDS is preventable but is incurable!

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