Youth Voices

World AIDS Day – December 1

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16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

World AIDS Day Special

By Nayyab Zehra

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December 1st is celebrated as AIDS Day all over the world since 1988. It is a day to spread awareness and the chance to take serious action in preventing the disease.

AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a disease of the Human Immune System. It is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which leaves the human body susceptible to many infections and diseases, culminating into death.

Given below are the modes of transmission of this disease:

  • Sexually transmitted through infected person
  • Needle sharing for injecting drugs in drug abusers
  • Accidental prick by needle of HIV infected patient while taking blood sample
  • Infected mother to child transmission
  • Blood transfusion (rare)
  • Cuts through nonsterile razors

AIDS is NOT transmitted through shaking hands, sitting together, sharing food and utensils, coughing, sneezing etc.

Pakistan got its first case diagnosed in 1987 and from then on, AIDS’ prevalence increased from 10.8% (2005) to 21% (2008), according to UNAIDS report 2010. This rate is further expected to increase in coming years, which proportionally increases the death rate from HIV. Causes remain the same but due to high illiteracy and poverty, nothing much has been done for its prevention.

We, as future leaders of change, should look at the options we have for overcoming this issue:

  • Numerous cases go un-diagnosed due to less number of facilities in the area where residing
  • Increased number of drug abusers
  • High spread rate through HIV infected individuals
  • Illiteracy
  • Poverty
  • Mass level ignorance to accept the facts regarding this disease, etc.

Our goal should be to decrease the spread of AIDS within Pakistan. The following can be done in this regard:

  • Develop more centers with appropriate facilities for detection of the HIV
  • Run awareness campaigns in communities, especially in rural areas
  • Condemn the use of used needles
  • Train the paramedics and other health workers for taking ample care while dealing with HIV patients
  • Inculcate the feeling of sympathy towards those with HIV
  • Start rehabilitation program for drug abusers

Lastly, we should show empathy towards those infected with AIDS. It is not contagious and the patients deserve our love and affection rather than being left in solitude.

So, this World AIDS day, instead of just narrating facts, figures or inspiring speeches…It’s time to ACT!