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World Aids Day: Know your HIV Status – Kingsley Ukpai

World Aids Day

Two months ago, I made a stop at a Medical Diagnostics Services centre situated in Owerri to see a brother who is the Chief Laboratory Scientist in the aforementioned facility. Whilst we were having a tête-à-tête he mentioned a relative that came for general testing with an emphasis on Sexually Transmitted Diseases with the omission of HIV testing.

We went further in trying to painstakingly put together the possible reasons why he specifically didn’t want a HIV test done. After few moments of brainstorming, we were able to deduce the possibility of the following reasons;

He could be amongst the percentage of individuals that have already classified HIV as a myth and fabrication geared towards discouraging sexual activities or a medium whereby pharmaceutical companies will be able to make money off Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART).

Another possibility could as well be that he is afraid of getting to “know his HIV status”. Having said this, do not also forget that HIV cannot only be contracted through sexual activities.

It is due to the above case that today has been set aside yearly to raise the awareness on HIV, with this year’s emphasis on “Know your HIV Status”. Recently, WHO declared that the HIV epidemic isn’t over yet stating that since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have acquired the infection, and about 35 million people have died. Today, around 37 million worldwide live with HIV, of whom 22 million are on treatment. UNAIDS went ahead to buttress this point by releasing the following figures.

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Recent figures:

  • 9.4 million people living with HIV don’t know their status
  • 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2017
  • 8.1 million people living with HIV on treatment reported to be accessing viral load testing in 2016.

That is to say, 1 in 4 persons are not aware that they are HIV positive.

The Possible Reasons Why you don’t go for Testing:

  • You think you are not at risk of getting HIV
  • You are afraid of stigmatization
  • You trust your partner(s)
  • You are scared of testing positive
  • You can’t afford a HIV test

The Gains from you getting tested;

  • Knowing your status enables you to start taking care of your health by taking HAART, eating healthy, embracing a positive lifestyle etc,
  • Protecting your loved ones and the unborn by not unknowing getting them infected
  • You will effectively help in reducing the burden of HIV in the world
  • When you get tested and it has been confirmed positive, you will be placed on antiretroviral drugs, thereby suppressing the viral load; thereafter you will live a healthy life fulfilling your dreams.
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But all these reasons are not good enough to be considered or even be entertained by you.

Join the fight today and “Know Your HIV Status”!

1st of December with Mecha Kingsley Ukpai

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