HIV/AIDS is Real; Don’t COMPROMISE your life away

Posted: August 20, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Health, Junub Sudan


By Alaak Daniel Atem, Juba, South Sudan

Monday, August 20, 2018 (PW) — First of all I want to applaud those who openly discussed the recent trend and report on the number of people living with HIV virus in Jonglei state in particluar, knowledgeably or ignorantly. Knowledgeably, I mean people who have tested and are aware about their status and taking medication or being taken care of by health professionals. Ignorantly, I mean those who are living with the virus without knowing. You can only know about your HIV status only through Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT).

I know there is a lot of stigma in our society in regards to how we deal with people living with HIV. There are still a lot of assumptions about HIV, other believe that it is caused by being bewitched or bad luck. While others believe that it doesn’t exist, that it is a conspiracy by he west to discourage sex. Notably, there are no guiding principles governing sex worldwide though there are some cultural norms to be adhered to depending on a particular community you are dealing with.

It is absurd that sex education and reproductive health is still treated as obscene and taboo in our community that has encountered a lot of dynamic changes due to our exposure to different parts of the world with diverged cultures. Our natural culture of #TRUST has always put us to the edge of the world’s deadliest stuff like diseases and worst part of civilizations.

The theory of the learner always elevates above the level of the master, that I wished should not have been part of this learning is costing us much. It is high time we try to get this point and not undermine Knowledge power. The youth at this time must make sure that they are armed with Sex and Reproductive Health Information.

As part of disseminating information, we must target the public gatherings like weddings, church services and even informal communal functions. If we have youth population that is HIV positive, that means that we shall have weaker generation to undertake national development. For a country to develop in all aspects, it needs able youth, people who have the energy to stair the nation to the highest level.

Prevention is better cure is the easiest understood notion in our society today. We tend to compromise so much but when it comes to health, we have to get serious about how we take care of a nation from individual level. It starts with negotiating for a safe sex, unfortunately, due to the war and women power, females tend to have weaker opinions with regards to how to have sex, whether protected or not and disapproval would amount to intimidation or violence, this is at most cases.

Before I exhaust your energy on what it means to have a healthy youth that the nation depends on, I would like to touch base on what HIV, AIDS,means of contractions, possible prevention measures as well as the relationship between Drugs, conflict and HIV.

HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. Immuno-deficiency means, the virus makes your immune system weak and vulnerable to other pathogens or disease causing organisms like TB virus and other bacteria.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome. This is the stage where it is a disease. The body becomes weak and many diseases tend to attack the body. At this level, you can take Antiretroviral drugs commonly known as ARVs. The drug only makes the CD4 cells to stop replicating or reproducing, this doesn’t mean that the disease cures but it reduces the effect of the CD4 cells that could have multiplied and cause more harm.

HIV/AIDS has no cure, just like other viruses. It doesn’t kill too. It is other diseases that attack the body after its weakened that kill people. If someone does test and take ARVs on time, the effect of the virus on the immunity system is reduced hence, chances of living longer like anyone else who doesn’t have the virus.

HIV is found in body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluids, however, cannot be got through saliva, any direct contact with any of the above through to an open skin presents high chances of contraction of the virus.

HIV virus is contracted through numerous means but below are some of the common ones though some are circumstantial.

1. Unprotected sex; involving in unprotected sex with someone who has the virus without using condom in case the skin breaks due to friction presents the risk of contraction of the virus. This is the most common mode of transmission since most people are ruled by the spirit of skin to skin as well as trust.

2.Sharing needles and syringes; If you share sterilized needles and syringes with people who have the virus, you can surely get the virus.

3. Blood transfusion; transfusion of blood of an infected person to someone who is negative is one of the ways of transmitting the HIV virus. This mode is less of risk because blood goes through examination before it is transfused.

4. Mother to Child; HIV can be transmitted to the baby by the mother at birth when the babies umbilical cord cut comes into contact with blood of the infected mother

5. Eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-infected person. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing. The only known cases are among infants.

6. Being bitten by a person with HIV. Each of the very small number of documented cases has involved severe trauma with extensive tissue damage and the presence of blood. There is no risk of transmission if the skin is not broken.

7. Contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.

8. Deep, open-mouth kissing if both partners have sores or bleeding gums and blood from the HIV-positive partner gets into the bloodstream of the HIV-negative partner. HIV is not spread through saliva.

HIV is preventable in many ways, it is not by magic or rocket science, below are the ways you can prevent HIV virus contraction.

1. Get tested and know your partner’s HIV status. Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex. Use VCT location near you.

2. Have less risky sex. HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or without taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV.

3. Use condoms. Use a condom correctly every time you have sex. Read this fact sheet from CDC on how to use condoms correctly.

4. Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with HIV whose HIV is not well controlled or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Both of these factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission. If you have more than one sexual partner, get tested for HIV regularly.

5. Get tested and treated for STDs. Insist that your partners get tested and treated too. Having an STD can increase your risk of becoming infected with HIV or spreading it to others.

6.Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who don’t have HIV but who are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day. For more information, read the AIDSinfo fact sheet on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

7. Don’t inject drugs. But if you do, use only sterile drug injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others.

I believe that HIV virus is contagious and has always cost us generations and we must bring it to an end. We have people who still find it hard to comprehend that HIV does not compromise. Whether you are the richest person or the poorest, priest , man or woman, whatever, it does not discriminate.

The relationship between drugs and HIV is just thin. Drugs like alcohol, marijuana and other forms do affect our behavior after taking them. Other people usually have high sexual urge after being high, this presents high risk as a drunk person cannot have power to negotiate for healthy sex or may even fail to use condom correctly.

Some people both men and women who are totally drugged may lose control of themselves and may be taken advantage of by those who are sober. They may be raped, just imagine a drunk woman rolling by a path at 10 Pm in the night.

Conflicts and violence has also hand in the increasing spread of HIV. My argument is that, in a crisis, some actors take advantage of the vulnerable situation to use those seeking their support or protection. It can be a teenage boy whose family has fled to unknown location falling in the hand of that 35 year old single woman who has money, she might use him otherwise and vice versa. We should make sure that we respect people and protect them without exploiting them sexually.

These are some relationships that are subjected to argument but have immensely contributed to high HIV prevalence in South Sudan, so does polygamy in some cases.

To the youth who has read this information, please share and talk to people you care about personally and ensure that we don’t stigmatize those who live with the virus and scale up support for them.




The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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