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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) has long been the leading infectious disease in the world. HIV/AIDS is a human-only sexually transmitted virus (Okoye and Louis 2). It is transmitted when one person has unprotected sex with an infected person. HIV is a virus that infects humans. It catches CD4 cells, which are responsible for protecting the body from infectious viruses. The HIV-infected CD4 cells serve as incubators and processing plants for new HIV viruses. Over time, the corrupted CD4 cells become too feeble to resist HIV and ultimately die. The human immune system eventually fails, and death happens. Bodily fluids, which include semen, vaginal secretions and fluids, and milk from the breast embody HIV.
The spread of HIV/AIDS has also been made possible due to uncontrolled and discriminate sex by young populations. HIV/AIDS can also be spread among persons with multiple sexual partners and men having sex with men so long as there is any kind of sexual penetration of the penis on the anus or mouth (Scott Sheldon et al. 3). Increased urban-rural migration is also a significant influence on the fight against new infections. Additionally, there in Africa, some communities argue that any mention of the term HIV/AIDS is a taboo to the community. The culture of silence and indiscriminate unprotected sex among poor communities continues to hinder the management of the virus.
While the numbers for new infection rates globally are reducing, many people are severely affected by it. Globally, children within age 15 -24 years account for almost half of newly infected populations (Scott Sheldon et al. 1). School going boys and girls are often forced to cut short their school days and remain at home due to increase in opportunistic diseases. Girls and women in traditional communities suffer most since culture demands that they take care of the sick. Caregivers also stand an enormous risk of contracting HIV/AIDS if they are not aware of the proper methods of handling wounds. In this regard, most HIV/AIDS intervention strategies funded by multilateral organizations are aimed at school going populations. While there is a vaccine for some cancers – including cervical cancer, research on HIV/AIDS vaccine is yet to avail a licensed antidote.
Poor communities remain to be the most affected by HIV/AIDS. This is mainly since the economic realities make it impossible for HIV/AIDS patients to prioritize buying antiretroviral drugs over food and shelter. Recent data from UN AIDS database shows that from 2015 – 2016 there has been a significant reduction in fatalities associated with HIV and AIDS (Eggers et al. 1). This steady decline is linked to an improved uptake of antiretroviral medication by infected individuals, improved awareness on methods of prevention and improved child delivery monitoring. While Africa remains as a significant producer of agricultural commodities globally, its human resources have been severely reduced because most of the persons living with HIV/AIDS are from the African continent.
The following information was collected through literature on HIV and AIDS from the internet.
Eradicating the HIV/AIDS scourge requires an understanding of the socio-cultural context in which it operates. While HIV/AIDS is transmitted through sharing of initiation knives among infected individuals, sensitizing initiation practitioners on the importance of using sterilized knives at a go is paramount in reducing new infection cases. Traditional rites of passage that require young men to go out on a sexual conquest should also be discouraged because more often than not, males contract HIV/AIDS during such campaigns (Moyo and Muller, 4). Implementing these strategies require a careful negotiation with community leaders for the preservation of culture without any form of conflict between medicine and culture. Alternative rites of passage are worthy discussions considering some proponents of female genital mutilation and male circumcision depend on it for their livelihoods.
The general public also needs to be informed about the ABC’s of HIV/AIDS. Most organizations advocate for abstinence, being faithful to one sexual partner and using condoms. Additionally, discordant couples are encouraged to use protection whenever engaging in sex. Wearing a condom during every sexual activity should be a strong emphasis in condom campaigns. Strong emphasis should be put on wearing one condom at a go for maximum protection. Carrying out campaigns in school campaigns that teach sex conducts that are safer continue to be a great asset in reducing infection rates in school going children (Fonner et al. 2)
Lastly, patients living with HIV/AIDS should know that there is hope of living a long and healthy life. Regularly adhering to antiretroviral drugs and eating a healthy balanced diet improves the immunity of the body. Diets should contain vegetables and fruits which provide energy for the whole body.
An understanding of the social-cultural aspects of HIV/AIDS improves current intervention approaches. Carefully designing policies that take cognizance of the social background of the scourge improves the outcomes for HIV/AIDS reduction.
Eggers, SM, LE Aarø, AE Bos, C Mathews, SF Kaaya, H Onya, and Vries H. de. "Sociocognitive Predictors of Condom Use and Intentions Among Adolescents in Three Sub-Saharan Sites." Archives of Sexual Behavior. 45.2 (2016): 353-65. Print.
Fonner, Virginia A, Kevin S. Armstrong, Caitlin E. Kennedy, Kevin R. O'Reilly, Michael D. Sweat, and Sten H. Vermund. "School Based Sex Education and Hiv Prevention in Low and Middle-Income Countries: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Plos One. 9.3 (2014).
Kalichman, Seth C, Jennifer Pellowski, and Christina Turner. “Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Co-Infections in People Living with HIV/AIDS: Systematic Review with Implications for Using HIV Treatments for Prevention.” Sexually Transmitted Infections 87.3 (2011): 183.
Moyo, n., müller, j.. The influence of cultural practices on the hiv and aids pandemic in zambia. Hts teologiese studies / theological studies, 67, may. 2011.
Okoye, Afam A., and Louis J. Picker. “CD4+ T Cell Depletion in HIV Infection: Mechanisms of Immunological Failure.” Immunological reviews 254.1 (2013): 54–64. PMC. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
Scott-Sheldon, LA, P Walstrom, A Harrison, SC Kalichman, and MP Carey. "Sexual Risk Reduction Interventions for Hiv Prevention Among South African Youth: a Meta-Analytic Review." Current Hiv Research. 11.7 (2013): 549-58. Print.
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