The world keeps on changing and so are the people, environment, and even the disease conditions. HIV as an illness and the HIV community is no exception. There has been changes in its trends with regards to its transmission, the longevity of persons living with HIV, the overall physical outlook of HIV persons, the age group mostly affected and even its prevention strategies.
Knowing these trends puts you a step ahead in preventing this condition. But unfortunately, most people do not think it necessary so find themselves in the path of risky behaviours that end up making them victims of a highly preventable disease that seems to have no cure now. In this post you’ll learn of how HIV trends have changed over the years in Ghana and even the world at large and how these changes are affecting lives and health especially where people fail gain understanding of the condition.
HIV persons died young vs HIV are persons growing older : Some years ago, people living with HIV did not get the opportunity to live long. This was due to several reasons ranging from the management, treatment, emotional burden, stigma, etc. But currently, researchers have revealed that HIV persons are now growing older with the condition. Although the stigma is still present, the intensity of it is gradually dying out making it much easier for them to live their lives. Also there has been an improvement in the treatment and management especially with regards to its availability and accessibility. All these factors have contributed among others to improve the living chances of HIV persons. As a result of this, the number of years that a person with HIV has to transmit the condition is also increased, and so are the numbers of HIV persons in the country. It is now more than ever crucial to be alert and careful in preventing and protecting yourself against this infection.
People with HIV looked sick vs HIV persons looking healthy: The general outlook of a HIV person some time ago was sick. HIV persons looked lean and unhealthy which made people to associate the disease to lean and ill-looking people and also increased the stigmatization attached to the condition. But this is not so anymore. The HIV persons in this present day are healthy looking and cannot be identified by just looking at them. There has been a considerable change in their self management and as such, people who adhere to eating well and taking their medications correctly look good. It is therefore highly dangerous to think that people you meet who are healthy looking cannot be HIV positive. Such thinking has allowed people to get infected because they refused to protect themselves thinking the person they are with looks too good to be infected with HIV. But truth is, HIV persons can also look pretty good.
Older population vs Younger population: Research indicates that there has been a significant decline in the mother to child transmission since the introduction of the prevention strategy to protect babies from getting infected at birth by their mothers. But before this strategy, there were a huge number of babies who were born with HIV due to the mother to child transmission. Although a considerable percentage of these babies died at an early age, some also survived. These survivors have now grown to be young people who carry the condition. There is also the influx of young people engaging in early sexual practices that have caused them to be infected with HIV. The general population is as a result having more young people living with HIV as compared to before when it was more of an older people disease. It has become important for people to be on guard and protect themselves by clearing the notion that young people are free from HIV, or if you have sexual intercourse with a virgin you will not get the disease. Even a virgin could be carrying the condition from birth. Just protect yourself.
The girls are at risk vs both are at risk: In my study on assessing the delivery of sex education in senior high schools, I discovered that girls are paid attention to as against boys when the topic of sex education is being taught. This has mostly been because of the possibility of the girls getting pregnant which is more of a problem for most parents, leaders, and even teachers as compared to the equal possibility of a sexually transmitted infection like HIV. But this practice of leaving the boys out or paying more attention to the girls where sexual health education is concerned especially with HIV prevention is a serious act that needs immediate correction. This is more because of the introduction of gay acts (men having sex with men) in the senior high schools. The boys are now at an increased risk of getting infected and transferring the infection to others due to the nature of their practice. By educating the boys on the effects of engaging in sexual practices with their fellow male counterparts, there is a chance of a decreased possibility of infection spread which generally will affect that of the girls. That said, the attention on teenage pregnancy when the issue of sexual health education among adolescents is raised should be shared with HIV/STD education and prevention because the country stands the pain of being affected more with the spread of infections than the presence of teenage pregnancy.
Knowing these facts and trends can help you better protect yourself. Knowledge is power; so arm yourself , do not be ignorant because ignorance can be costly. Stay alive, stay healthy.