DECEMBER
1st: SPREAD THE WORD, NOT THE VIRUS

Yesterday, December 1st
2017, I changed my display picture on 
Whats-app and a lot of friends were
surprised. It is the first time I am changing my display picture on 
Whats-app in
the present year and I remember vividly that one of my best female friends – Deb
yabbed‘ me sometime in the past
because of that, she jokingly asked if I would ever change the picture. So, I
had to put up a picture of the painting I made for my mom to commemorate last
year’s mother’s day because it is her birth month and I am counting down to her
birthday. Guess what friends? That chic I fell in love with at the first half
of the year will also be celebrating her birthday a day before my mom. What a
coincidence!

Regrettably, the
relationship did not work out the way I intended but we remain the best of
friends and I still check on her periodically because you do not always get
everything you want in life and sometimes, your plans may not play out because
God has something better in stock for you.



Another reason I am talking
about yesterday, December 1st? Yes, it is the World AIDS Day which
is held on December 1st each year and it is an opportunity for
people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for
people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day
is the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. Around
100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34
million people have HIV. More than 35 million people have died from the virus,
making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Today, many
scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect
people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition but
despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and
others from HIV. The stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people
living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and
Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise
money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.


Human Immunodeficiency
Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a
spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency
Virus (HIV). Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms
or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. Typically, this is
followed by a prolonged period with no symptoms. As the infection progresses,
it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of common
infections like tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and
tumors that rarely affect people who have working immune systems. These late
symptoms of infection are referred to as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
(AIDS). This stage is also associated with weight loss.


HIV is spread primarily by
unprotected sex (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions,
hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or
breastfeeding. Some bodily fluids, such as saliva and tears, do not transmit
HIV. Methods of prevention include safe sex, needle exchange programs, treating
those who are infected, and male circumcision. Disease in a baby can often be prevented
by giving both the mother and child antiretroviral medication. There is no cure
or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the
disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy. Treatment is recommended
as soon as the diagnosis is made. Without treatment, the average survival time
after infection is 11 years.


In 2016 about 36.7 million
people were living with HIV and it resulted in 1 million deaths. There were
300,000 fewer new HIV cases in 2016 than in 2015. Most of those infected live
in sub-Saharan Africa. Between its discovery and 2014 AIDS has caused an
estimated 39 million deaths worldwide. HIV/AIDS is considered a pandemic—a
disease outbreak which is present over a large area and is actively spreading.
HIV is believed to have originated in west-central Africa during the late 19th
or early 20th century. AIDS was first recognized by the United States Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981 and its cause—HIV
infection—was identified in the early part of the decade. (Source:
Wikipedia.com)


Sub-Saharan Africa is the
region most affected. In 2010, an estimated 68% (22.9 million) of all HIV cases
and 66% of all deaths (1.2 million) occurred in this region. This means that
about 5% of the adult population is infected and it is believed to be the cause
of 10% of all deaths in children. Here in contrast to other regions women
compose nearly 60% of cases. South Africa has the largest population of people
with HIV of any country in the world at 5.9 million. Life expectancy has fallen
in the worst-affected countries due to HIV/AIDS; for example, in 2006 it was
estimated that it had dropped from 65 to 35 years in Botswana. Mother-to-child
transmission, as of 2013, in Botswana and South Africa has decreased to less
than 5% with improvement in many other African nations due to improved access
to antiretroviral therapy. HIV/AIDS has had a great impact on society, both as
an illness and as a source of discrimination. The disease also has large
economic impacts. There are many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS such as the
belief that it can be transmitted by casual non-sexual contact. The disease has
become subject to many controversies involving religion including the Catholic
Church’s position not to support condom use as prevention. It has attracted
international medical and political attention as well as large-scale funding
since it was identified in the 1980s.


Currently, Nigeria has 3.4
million people with HIV/ AIDS. According to the director of the National AIDS
Control Agency, John Idoko, Nigeria is the second largest country in the world
with people affected by this terrible disease. He emphasized that only one of
three Nigerian patients are receiving treatment and only 18% of HIV-positive
women undergo prophylaxis against the transmission of the virus to a child.
More than 40% of affected Nigerians do not even know they have the disease.
Former Senate chairman David Mark emphasized the need for public education. He
says it is necessary to make people more aware of the disease and its
consequences. According to him, many people are afraid to take the test for the
virus presence due to the negative reaction and stigma from society. Those who
have fallen ill are afraid of a discriminatory attitude towards them at work. They
should know that “having an
infection does not mean that the person is immoral or not fit to live among
others in the society
“. Jonathan Goodluck, the former president of
Nigeria, signed an anti-discrimination law that protects the rights and dignity
of people who are living with HIV. According to the law “Against HIV/AIDS
Discrimination”, from 2014, it prohibited the restriction of people’s
rights based on their HIV status. Employers, individuals, and organizations no
longer have the right to require a person to pass the HIV test as a condition
for hiring or receiving services. It is expected that the law will provide a
more favorable environment for people living with HIV, so that they will be
able to lead a normal life. (Source: Naij.com)


The Call To Action – As we
commemorate the World AIDS Day, we need to remember that it is our
collective responsibility to educate everyone we can reach.

#SpreadTheWordNotTheVirus

God Bless Us All


Olusanya, Oluwole Sheriff
Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.