- HIV Transmission
–It refers to the manner in which the HIV virus is passed from one person to the other and occurs through infected blood transfusion, bodily fluids i.e. sperm (semen), vaginal fluids and breast milk.
-The most common mode of transmission is through unprotected heterosexual intercourse (sex between man and woman) and oftentimes one person is infected and transmits onto another.
–Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is the current panacea to HIV. It involves taking a combination of medicines called an HIV treatment regimen every day. ART takes effect through preventing the HIV virus from multiplying i.e. making copies of itself which reduces the amount of HIV in the body termed viral load.
–HIV cannot be cured, it may only be managed as there is no permanent panacea and the choice of the regimen depends on an individual needs.
–Having less HIV in the body gives the compromised immune system a chance to recover as the main goal of the treatment is to reduce a persons’ viral load to an undetectable level.
–ART is initiated for all adults with HIV as it reduces mortality and HIV Transmission outcomes.
–It is recommended that ART should be administered as early as possible within the first two weeks after diagnosis of an HIV infection.
–Individuals who are pregnant should initiate ART as soon as possible for their own health and to thwart transmission to the infant.
–Consistent use of medication and adherence to it reduces the risk of drug resistance.
- Fight Stigma
-HIV related stigma and discrimination refers to prejudice, negative attitudes and abuse directed to people living with HIV and AIDS. It is also a process of devaluation of people either living with or associated with HIV.
-Discrimination follows closely to stigma and it is the unfair and unjust treatment of an individual based on his or her real or perceived HIV status.
-Stigma manifests itself in the form of being shunned by family, peers, community, classmates and psychological damages as HIV in Africa is closely linked to infidelity and sex work.
-An effective response to HIV stigma tackle the root causes of stigma and ensure services are inclusive and accessible.
-Stigma can be fought with empowerment of those with HIV to understand their rights and act on violations of their personal dignity.
-To end stigma of HIV, it is necessary to educate people while addressing their fears in an effort to change their attitudes to create awareness on what stigma and discrimination are, the harm they cause and attendant benefits of reducing stigmatisation.
-Addressing fears and misconceptions about HIV transmission by providing detailed information about how HIV is and is not transmitted as this will foster behavioural change amongst people.
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