Things You Need To Know About HIV
1) Having HIV is not a death sentence, though this was the case previously, but not anymore. Today, people with HIV can live normal lives, achieve their dreams and die by other means apart from HIV.
2) Stop the stigma!!!
HIV cannot be transmitted by sleeping on the same bed, sharing the same plates or cups, handshake, hug, mosquito bite . There is no need to isolate, stigmatize or avoid someone who has HIV. The virus is transmitted by blood contact, contact with body fluid like semen, vaginal secretion BUT not sweat or saliva (you need to drink a bucket full of saliva of a HIV positive person in order to get infected)
3) HIV infection, if noticed early enough can be adequately managed. This is why it is safer to get tested.
4)HIV is preventable, the ABCs of HIV prevention are:
Abstinence, ZIP UP
Be Faithful, TO YOUR PARTNER
Condom, USE CONDOM
5) There is a higher risk of transmission of HIV in homosexual patners. I need not say more!!!
6) HIV can also be transmitted from a mother to child, this is called vertical transmission. This is highly preventable if medical assistance is sought by the mother which include close monitoring by a trained doctor and adequate antenatal care.
7) Incase someone is exposed accidentally to HIV by high risk individuals example, the case of a rape victim, medical assistance should be sought immediately. Some post exposure drugs can be prescribed by a trained doctor that will ensure that the victim does not get infected, TIMING is the most important factor in this scenario.
(Okpala Uzochukwu is a student of the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University and a member of the OAU Peeps Team)