Stop The Stigma – HIV Positive Is Not A Crime
Ever since the first cases of AIDS in the early 1980s, people with HIV have been stigmatized, such as HIV is a life-threatening illness (which is correct, if undiagnosed and unmanaged), or HIV can be transmitted through social contact, or even some people have strong views about sexual behavior and social groups that are most affected by HIV such as women, gay men or people who use drugs, etc.
These stigma leads to people living with HIV not being treated with dignity and respect. They often feel nervous about telling others that they have HIV. This can lead to isolation and feeling unsupported, which can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.
On this HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, AMSA-Unhas would like to celebrate it by sharing some information towards HIV/AIDS to reduce the stigma.
WHAT IS HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system that are vital to immune respones; white blood cells known as CD4 cells or T-helper cells. The final stage of HIV is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in which fewer than 200 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter are present, rather than the usual 500 to 1,600 per cubic millimeter.
THE BASIC OF HIV PREVENTION
Anyone can get HIV, but here are some key points for you to take steps to protect youself from HIV correctly:
• Get tested, know your partner’s HIV status and choose less risky sexual behavior
• HIV is spread only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV. These fluids are blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
• In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by having sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
• To reduce your risk of HIV infection, use condoms correctly every time you have sex and also limit your number of sexual partners
• Don’t inject drugs. If you do, use only sterile injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others.
• If you don’t have HIV but are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV, talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day to reduce the risk of HIV infection.
• BUT IF, you’re HIV positive and your partner is HIV negative, you can still protect your partner from HIV by taking medicines daily (HIV medicines called antiretroviral therapy/ART). It helps people with HIV live longer and healthier lives. ART can’t cure HIV infection, but it can reduce the amount of HIV in the body. Don’t forget to use condoms correctly every time you have sex, talk to your partner about taking PrEP, and if you inject drugs, don’t share your needles, syringes, or other drug equipment with your partner.
So, let’s stop the stigma of HIV, because being HIV positive is not a crime!
“Endlessness Ingenuity, Beyond the Possibility.”