World AIDS Day is back again-this time with the theme of ” Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination ” .
Zero – the number discovered by the Indians and which numerically holds no value is infact the most significant value of all times. While antiretroviral therapy which has now a strong evidence base to rely upon has made possible for mankind to speak of Zero infections and zero deaths from HIV and AIDS related infections what worries me is to how to achieve the” Zero Discrimination” goal.
Human beings being humane love to discriminate and categorise everything and have an intrinsic sense of belief in things which result from a combination of one’s own experience as well as a variety of social and parental factors.
Every year millions are spend to control HIV/AIDS. In 2011, 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV. An estimated 1.7 million people died.Stigma and discrimination however prevents even the educated youth to discuss or use preventive measures. thereby stimulating a vicious cycle of non-detection and further spread of infection and even more discrimination.
Everyone seems to believe the myth that “people-like-me” dont “get AIDS”.
BUT THE REALITY is you cannot ever ever“Get AIDS” .
It is like any other infectious disease with a known causative organism calle HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).The HIV virus attacks and eventually overcomes the body’s immune system, thus rendering it unable to defend the body against infections and various cancers.
Strangely the WHO note on the occassion of World AIDS Day 2012 just has a small line to mention about the discrimination. It says : ” Stigma, discrimination and legal issues are often significant barriers to accessing effective care”
The rest of the note describes the variety of interventions it plans to do and the various barriers to acheiving it and the wonderful role of the strategic use of antiretrovirals. Yes they are important. but what about the Stigma ? What about the discrimination ?
So here is a small initiative which I try every year. This World AIDS Day pledge yourself to HUG a HIV +ve individual.
AND TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU DID NOT GET AIDS
Dont Trust ?? Read here
Share your experiences in the comments sections and help acheive the goal of Zero Discrimination. Leave the zero infections and zero death part for us doctors to handle .
PS : It will be great favour though for us doctors if you do not rely entirely on the anti-retrovirals (and us !!) and stay faithful to a single partner.