AIDS is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus is transmitted from one individual to another through different ways such as having unprotected sex, sharing of sharp objects, mother-to-child transmission, etc. Within a few weeks of HIV infection, influenza-related symptoms such as fever, sore throat and fatigue occur. After which a period wherein the individual affected experiences no symptoms; during this period as the infection progresses, the virus attacks the immune system making it susceptible to infection. After this period, AIDS sets in with symptoms such as unintended weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections.
The World’s AIDS day is celebrated every 1st of December annually across the world and its aim is to raise awareness among the people on the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year’s emphasis is on how communities of individuals can make a difference in winning the fight. Over the years non-profit organizations, social enterprises, health workers, and other groups have played significant roles in the success of bringing the HIV epidemic to an end. It acknowledges the role of advocacy of different communities of individuals in society. It encourages everyone to join the campaign, be aware and obtain skills to access HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care.
A lot of women are ignorant about the syndrome; mode of transmission, management, etc. As of 2018, UNAIDS reports that 1 900 000 people living with HIV in Nigeria making it the country with the second-largest HIV epidemic in the world. Out of this number, 55.56 % are women. A lot of these affected individuals suffer stigmatisation which actually has caused more deaths than the virus itself. WIN has contributed to the sensitization in times past and had been able to educate women about the causes of HIV/AIDS.
Every HIV/AIDS patient needs care, attention and a lot of words of encouragement and hope. Gone are the days when we believe the next thing when a person is diagnosed with the virus or syndrome is death, now we have pills, therapies, and treatments for that.
Together as women, we can and will fight against this!
Ojeniran Gbemileke Ifedayo.