Whether you call it Human immuno virus or human immuno-deficiency virus, there’s no denying the fact that AIDS is a global malady. In fact so frequently does one hear about repetitive AIDS cases in global media that it almost feels it has engulfed an entire world. December 1, every year marks a significant day as far as raising awareness and understanding the plight of lives ravaged by AIDS is concerned. Since special is often a word we attribute to a thing we either fancy or something that delights us, in case of AIDS, the most advanced stage of the HIV Virus- marking a specific day that addresses the global horror of this disease finds useful purpose.
Diseases are common and so are the circumstances in which one falls ill. But it is futile to say that there can be a day when just about no one will fall sick or would not be privy to an impending attack of an ailment or health condition. Today’s world is expanding at a rapid rate and there is no denying the fact that Mother Earth’s belly is literally bloated with far too many complexities, both in terms of medical conditions, population and a combination of both- that it can ideally handle.
While cures and remedies continue to pile record books stoking large numbers in the wake of tremendous developments in modern medical science, still there continue to be deadly diseases like AIDS that consume everything in their wake of destruction.
Not just another disease
Together with Cancer, heart condition(s) and Brain diseases, it won’t be incorrect to label AIDS as the most destructive cog in the wheel of our life and its well-being. At the same time, it is pertinent to note that how we take care of ourselves and lead our lives goes a long way in defining our wellness and health. One must not and cannot afford to be lackadaisical in his approach to lead a life that ignores safety, hygiene and general upkeep of our health.
Reports suggest that by the end of 2014, as many as 14.9 million people were receiving AIDS Relief treatment globally. This represents 40% [approximately 37–45%] of the 36.9 million [about 34.3–41.4 million] people who were living with HIV, a statistic that can leave the mightiest of hearts in shock and horror.
How we choose our interaction and engage with the immediate environment wherein we preside goes a long way in damaging or building our health. And, it is in this ignorance toward our health, often worsened by a general lack of awareness about it that diseases like AIDS take the better of us.
Medical experts, doctors, professors and researchers from around the world have spent years to come up with a solution toward curbing the collateral damage caused by AIDS, but at the same time it is important to understand the facts, concerns and the plausible solutions to this deadly killer that has only stacked up more lives that one would have imagined in the past few years.
How does HIV spread, thus leading to AIDS?
They say, the only thing constant in life is change. Yet, if you are in any way connected to Medicine, or toward healthcare, it won’t take you long to notice that when it comes to AIDS- in most cases, without generalizing, it often leads to fatality. Efforts are still being made in large numbers around the globe to counter AIDS’ ever increasing menace.
The end, regardless of how painful or sorrow-fed it is, comes not before rupturing the emotional fabric of patients. The Human Immuno Virus usually spreads through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids and in other cases, even breast milk and rectal fluids.
We have increasingly seen or read through popular media that in the West, especially in the United States, the deadly HIV spreads mainly by indulging in sex either with or by sharing drug injection equipments with a person already afflicted with the disease.
In societies that are still walking the extra yards toward education and self awareness the widespread cause of AIDS can still be attributed to indulging in unprotected sex. Conservative societies that are largely still working their way out of prejudices and biases surrounding sex and its awareness, often fall prey to a complete lack of awareness about how HIV spreads. Resultantly, each year several hundreds and thousands perish owing to basic unawareness’ such as indulging in uprotected sexual acts. Misery further compounds when through unsafe and careless acts of blood transfusion, people openly invite the deadly malaise to malign their immunity.
HIV leading to AIDS: causes and concerns
HIV is the virus that causes HIV infection. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV is spread through contact with the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of a person infected with HIV. In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by having anal or vaginal sex or sharing drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV.
The usage of HIV medicines for the treatment HIV infection is known as antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines every day that are administered, advisably under proper medical supervision.
The above mentioned therapy (ART ) cannot actually cure HIV infection. Yet, at the same time, it can help people infected with HIV live longer. In most cases, the treatment received by patients through this therapy enables them to lead healthier lives. It must also be noted that many HIV medicines prove beneficial to incarcerated patients to the extent of reducing the risk of transmission of HIV.
Fighting back with AIDS awareness:
In an India bolstered by economic resurgence and bludgeoned by IT and entrepreneurship we still have a long way to go before we can pat ourselves on the back when it comes to sustaining ourselves toward the ambit of Healthcare.
Hospitals and multi-specialty healthcare facilities continue to walk the last mile of the town in the literal sense, and yet, we have several hundreds and thousands of lives that continue to read “departed” as wrecked by AIDS, each year.
When compared to other mid-income countries of the world, India, with a population of easily over 1.3 Billion people (as of 2013 end) measures low on AIDS prevalence. But at the same time, given common problems such as lack of proper awareness about HIV, lack of education in hinterland and so on and so forth, it has seen over 2.1 million patients living with AIDS. In fall 2013 AIDS overwhelmed nearly 1,30,000 people, that is nearly one sixth of the entire population of Israel and Lebanon, statistically.
The earliest steps initiated by Government of India toward raising AIDS awareness lead to stalwarts such as Shabana Azmi talking to a Pan-India audience during the yesteryears’ Doordarshan advertising campaigns. Truth be told, Ms. Azmi has upped the ante in this regard by continuing to voice her compassionate delivery toward AIDS patients as seen in her viral video doing rounds of the internet, titled ” Do something Now”. Joining the bandwagon in the fight against AIDS are also popular artists visible on big screen in India, such as filmmaker Mira Nair, Rahul Bose and actor Sanjay Suri. watch: https://vimeo.com/7805756
We are often taught the value of hope and that one must never lose out on it. But, how far can hope alone take us in the fight against AIDS, is what one needs to decipher. Perhaps, time may just be right to spread more information, spread more education and raise awareness by combining divergent mass media educative platforms such as short plays (strong toward rural India connect, nukkad natak) digital media campaigns and the good old press in our fight against this hope dampener.
Those among us who are constantly glued to media jukeboxes may have seen stars like Charlie Sheen opening up recently about his grave HIV condition, for which the Hollywood playboy is still fighting hard.
Popular culture showed Tom Hanks fighting it out on the 1994 epic Philadelphia where his Andrew Beckett takes courageous and affirmative action against the disease with graceful support coming from Denzel Washington in what became one of the finest sensitive portrayals on Hollywood show-reel of all time. But, movies can only draw attention to a grave concern leaving us living and mortal souls to do the fight-back.
While the naysayers be damned, let us take the fight to AIDS in our own hands, not just for December 1, the World AIDS day but each day of our very beautiful and precious lives.