According to a recent CDC study, HIV and AIDS is one of the biggest health challenges faced by many. This is despite the concerted efforts put in place over time. Notably, the infection rate is on the rise with more people contracting and later succumbing to its complications. Based on these statistics, more needs to be done both on an individual and organizational level.
HIV/AIDs awareness month is crucial in increasing the knowledge base, commemorating the deceased and celebrating victories against this killer disease. Some of the notable successes in combating the vice include an increase in access to prevention and treatment services.
Annual awareness month involves educating the members of the public and the general community about HIV/AIDS. 1st December is the official awareness day that is recognized globally. With the need to spread the word further, more days have since been dedicated to this cause.
What is HIV/AIDS?
You may have heard about this disease mentioned a thousand times, but what does it mean? It is impractical to discuss AIDS Awareness without understanding the epidemic itself. Well, HIV is an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus; a virus that results in HIV infection. AIDS, on the other hand, is an acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, which is the advanced stage of HIV infection.
The infection attacks and damages body immune scientifically known as the CD4 Cells. Loss of the body’s immunity makes it challenging for a body to fight against infections. As such, it results in various complications in different body systems.
How is HIV/AIDS Transmitted?
This may seem like an obvious and rhetoric question, but does everyone understand how this disease is transmitted just yet? The virus-containing HIV infection is found in specific body fluids. They include;
- Breast milk
- Vaginal exudates
- Anal mucous
- Pre-cum and semen
According to intensive medical research, body fluids, and excretes such as nasal fluids, sweat, tears, vomitus, urine, and saliva do not contain HIV viruses. Nevertheless, they can result in HIV transmission if they mix with blood, and one gets direct contact with them. With the fluids mentioned, the virus can spread in several ways.
- During sexual intercourse: Participant in sexual intercourse can contract HIV/AIDS through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Through tiny vaginal tears and microscopic breaks in the sex organs, the virus in your body fluid can enter the bloodstream.
- Injection drug users: Drug users sharing needles with contaminated blood from an infected person will get the virus directly into their bloodstream.
- During pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding: Infants can contract HIV through contact with their mother’s infectious fluids such as blood and amniotic fluid during pregnancy and childbirth. Breastfeeding on infected breast milk is another route through which infants can acquire the virus.
- Occupational exposure: Health workers are also at a high risk of contracting HIV. This is due to their constant contact with infected blood and other body fluids when attending to patients.
Blood transfusion from an infected donor and organ transplant from an infected donor are other rare routes of HIV/AIDS transmission.
Risky sexual behaviors account for a significant percentage of HIV infections. As such, reducing sexual risks is probably the best way to prevent HIV transmission. Here is how you can reduce the risks:
- Abstain from sex: Avoiding sexual contact completely is a sure way of avoiding HIV transmission. Oral, anal, or vaginal transmission routes are the main ways through which HIV spreads.
- Practice safe sex: Safe sex implies that you need to be up to date on matters concerning sexual health and healthy sexual relationships. This includes discussing with partners about individual interests, HIV status, and sexual boundaries. Safe sex requires an individual to take extra measures to protect self and partners from HIV. It will also prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections and unwanted pregnancies. Barrier methods, such as the use of condoms and dental dams, are effective. Individuals can explore other methods of achieving sexual pleasures like the use of sex vibrators, and tongue gags among others.
- Go for testing: It is important to know your status. Besides, it is vital you know the status of your partner before engaging in sexual activity. However, bringing up such discussions is challenging and uncomfortable. This is especially so for conservative societies, but it is vital in preventing HIV/AIDS spread.
- Practice monogamy: Monogamy refers to being in an ongoing sexual relationship with one person. Maintaining one sexual partner greatly diminishes the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Symptoms of HIV Infection
HIV/AIDS has several symptoms, and this may be unique to each patient. Most patients develop flu-like symptoms, including high fevers, rash, or chill within one month following the infection. The symptoms may last from two days to several weeks. It is at this stage that the virus multiplies promptly and spreads within the blood. After this initial stage, the virus continues multiplying at low levels.
Severe symptoms are opportunistic infections that appear after several years. Opportunistic infections, in this case, are diseases that attack the body due to diminished body’s immunity. Without prompt treatment, HIV infection may advance to AIDS.
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HIV/AIDS Diagnosis and Treatment
Common symptoms such as weight loss, weakness, and fever can be indicators of HIV infection. However, a definitive diagnosis involves the following:
- A reduction in CD4 cells to less than 200cells/mm3
- Constant infection by specific opportunistic diseases
HIV/AIDS treatment should begin immediately after a positive diagnosis. Treatment involves antiretroviral therapy. This is a combination of medications that hinder viral reproduction, protects the destruction of CD4 cells, and keeps the immune system intact. ARVs prevent the disease from progressing from an HIV infection to AIDS. It also significantly reduces the risks of spreading the infection to others.
HIV/AIDS Awareness Week
AIDS Awareness week became necessary due to the serious stigmatization of HIV infected and affected persons. It is meant to increase the level of knowledge and perception that other citizens have towards such persons. After the first overall AIDS Awareness week observance, other designated days targeting specific population groups came up to boost awareness.
What happens during these annual observances? Supporting organizations plan for HIV/AIDS education programs, free HIV testing, free guidance, and offer counseling to affected parties. This is aimed at eliminating the initial stigmatization facing affected individuals.
A different approach by Ella Paradis aims at improving sexuality, pleasure, and intimacy that affects HIV/AIDS infected persons. This topic is ignored during AIDS Awareness Week. Ella Paradis’ focus is on helping affected parties celebrate sexuality by discussing and finding solutions that work towards their sexual happiness. This is through various sexual health products, including G-spot sex toys, sex vibrators, tongue gags, and waterproof dildo vibrators.
The Different AIDS Awareness Dates
There are different but specific awareness dates targeting a specific population. They include:
- December 1st – World AIDS day
This presents an opportunity for everybody to unite worldwide in the fight against HIV and AIDS. People show their love for those living with AIDS and remember those who died from the disease.
- February 7th – National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This day aims at a national HIV testing and community mobilization of the Blacks. The day began in 1999 as a response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in African American communities was on the rise.
- March 10th – National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This date was set aside to empower girls and women in making the best decisions when it comes to sexual matters. Abstinence, for instance, is the surest method of avoiding HIV, and this should be made known to women and girls. If you must have sex, use the recommended protection measures to safeguard yourself from contracting the disease.
- First Day of Spring – National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This day provides a nationwide effort to foster HIV testing among the native communities. This awareness day runs through several marketing strategies and educational materials.
- April 10th – National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This event aims at educating youths about the impact of this disease on young people. It also highlights the importance of involving the young population in fighting the epidemic.
- April 18th – National Transgender HIV Testing Day
This day recognizes the importance of routine HIV testing, focused HIV prevention, and status awareness. Also, it advocates for continuous treatment efforts among gender non-binary and transgender people.
- May 18th – HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
The HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is another opportunity to recognize and appreciate the efforts of community members. It recognizes volunteers, scientist, and health professionals who work hard to find a safe and functional preventive HIV vaccine.
- May 19th – National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
This is yet another federally recognized HIV /AIDS Awareness Day celebrated annually. This day is a national campaign for citizens to recognize and end the silence surrounding shaming Asian and Pacific Islander Communities affected by HIV/AIDS.
- June 5th – Long Term Survivor’s Day
The HIV long-term survivor’s day is another annually celebrated day that marks and honors long term survivors of HIV/AIDS. It aims at raising awareness of their impending needs, common challenges, and milestones achieved.
- June 27th – National HIV Testing Day
This is another important day targeting to promote HIV testing. It is an essential day for everyone to get involved.
- September 18th – National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
This day focuses on eradicating challenges that aging population go through in terms of HIV awareness, prevention, care, and treatment.
- September 27th – National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The National Association of People with AIDs started this observance day to appreciate the impact of this epidemic on gay men.
The Bottom Line
Emphasis on AIDS awareness cannot be done enough. It is a continuous exercise mainly targeting the risk groups. However, HIV infection is similar to other infections, and the infected can live a healthy life. All they need is to stick to the set management regimes.
Patients are encouraged to take antiretroviral medications to boost their immune system.
Are you wondering how HIV/AIDS infected people can improve and enjoy their sexual pleasures? Ella Paradis’ has a wide range of products that will change the paradigm towards sexual pleasure.