World AIDS Day: Physician asks Nigerians to shun stigmatisation of carriers

  Dr. Saliu Ajagbe, an Osun-based physician has called on Nigerians, especially the youths, to cast aside the stigma associated with Acquire...


 

Dr. Saliu Ajagbe, an Osun-based physician has called on Nigerians, especially the youths, to cast aside the stigma associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as it is not a death licence.

Speaking on Wednesday on the background of the theme of the 2021 World AIDS Day which is: End Inequalities. End AIDS, Dr Ajagbe stated that over the years, the AIDS scourge had defied a medical solution despite concerted efforts at getting a medical breakthrough.

Ajagbe, who disclosed that the disease has many stages, added that AIDS is just the final phase of the disease at which point it cannot be treated or managed again.

He explained that the disease, which starts as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, is contracted through sex via the exchange of seminal and vaginal fluids, saliva from the mouth of an infected person and other body fluids like blood.

According to him, “HIV is also common among drug addicts who exchange needles and syringes carelessly too but the most frequent form of infection is through sexual contact between an infected and uninfected person.

“That is why sexually active persons are always encouraged to use condoms as a means of protection even though it is frowned upon by our society.”

The physician, who revealed that HIV can be managed, added that when a case has been confirmed, such a person is counselled and placed on drugs to reduce the viral load and usually the drugs are taken for a lifetime.

“It is the refusal of most infected persons to adhere strictly to the drug regimen that leads to AIDS.

“Some HIV cases also lead to AIDS as a result of ignorance on the part of the patients.

“In reality, nobody has died of HIV but you always hear of people dying from the AIDS complications and what are these complications, once HIV is left untreated it becomes full-blown AIDS,” he said.

“With AIDS we have what we refer to as opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections arise as a result of the breakdown of the body immunity. Tuberculosis, cancer and other serious infections start to attack the body as a result of non-immunity.

“So, we can safely deduce that AIDS fights the body immune system and makes it defenceless for it to be ravaged continually by diseases.

“In AIDS, physicians start to treat different types of ailments that are not supposed to be but since the body defence mechanism has collapsed, they will come, thereby leading to the term opportunistic infections.”

The medical expert also advised every sexually active person to ensure they go for an HIV/AIDS test at least twice a year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set aside December 1 of every year as World AIDS Day and the theme of the 2021edition is: End Inequalities. End AIDS.

According to WHO on its website, “the theme of the World AIDS Day 2022 is ‘End Inequalities. End AIDS’. With a special focus on reaching people left behind, WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.

“On 1 December 2021, WHO is calling in global leaders and citizens to rally to confront the Inequalities that drive AIDS and to reach people who are currently not receiving essential HIV services.”

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