The Walk with AIDS

The theme for the 2016 World AIDS Day is – Hands Up for #HIVprevention. This has to do with stopping the ravaging effects of AIDS amongst the populace all over the globe. This theme ought to make much more sense to all Sub-Saharan Africans because latest statistics from the UNAIDS states that 80% of those living with AIDS live in this region. An adage says that if you do not know where you are coming from, then you neither know where you are nor where are going. Alternatively, if you do not know your history, you may make a mistake about where you are going.
Reminiscing over the World AIDS Day brings to mind where we are coming from. The HIV (Human Immune Virus), the etiologic agent for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a virus that is transmitted via body fluids such as blood, plasma, semen, pre-seminal fluids, breastmilk and vaginal fluid.
Though it is believed that HIV originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo around 1920 when HIV crossed to humans from chimpazees. AIDS was first recognised in 1981 among homosexual men in the United States. The HIV was identified in 1983 and towards the mid ‘80s was observed to have spread to most part of the world. The spread was traced to just before and after 1980 where those predominantly affected were men who had had sex with men and those who injected drugs. Transmission continued without noticeable signs or symptoms.
In 1985, the first two cases of HIV/AIDS were discovered in Nigeria. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of new AIDS cases. This may be due to the prevalence of untreated sexually transmitted infections, poverty, low status of women, stigmatization, poor health status and denial of HIV infection risk among vulnerable groups. Recently, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) declared that at least 500 people die of AIDS daily in Nigeria. This is a call to curbing this menace completely.
We have to raise our hands to its prevention so as not to be encumbered with the troubles of management and the likes. Prevention of HIV will result in zero new infections and help us live our normal lives again. The time is ripe – hands up for #HIVPrevention.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

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