What People Think About HIV/AIDS

by Odimegwu Onwumere

HIV/AIDS are acronyms. They have no other meaning than HIV – Human immunodeficiency virus. And AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. Precisely in Nigeria, the first record about this scourge was in the year 1986. Since then, the epidemic has spread sporadically to human climes that researches proves that over 1,300 people die in Nigeria daily. This pandemic has been visible stupendously among adults.

HIV/AIDS is very much around the corners. Many homes are today not afraid of wars or crisis but HIV/AIDS. The shock of it when a carrier member of a family dies is greater than when USA bombarded Iraq in the 21st century. Some villages that are engulfed with this scourge lose two to three persons everyday. And there is believed in some areas that more people are going to die of this drastic twin ailment if nothing is done to stem the spread intensely.

Apart from formal and clinical counsel grounds, the church, which is one of the easy ways to calm the mind of one living with the disease has always lamented over this disease and believes that the rate of affected people is increasing. This increment is recorded to be prevalent among girls and boys due to their activeness and rascality in sex related matters.

Some of the people in the remote areas lack awareness and knowledge about how the prevention of the disease could be handled and how to go about acquiring resources to foster the infected. As a result of that, many people go giving the infected traditional opium. And many a free people do not have anything to do with the infected believe that it is casually transmittable, and not blood related. This discrimination averts discussion of the disease in the open. Many people attach much gusto in disassociating from the infected than seeking for interventions to wedge a war against the disease from speeding like Ben Johnson into environments.

Nigeria is one of the third world countries that its citizens live below the poverty level; poverty is another factor, which has abetting to the spread of the disease. Malnutrition could be held responsible for that. Again callous people who might be poor as at the time they contracted the disease would go sharing it to the members of the society with a view that it?s societal dividends of sex (illicit) practices.

During wars and ethno-religious crises, people are skeptical about HIV/AIDS because of warring factions raping the women. War impoverish the people, curtailing their mode of eating well, curtailing their access to medical prescriptions.

It is strongly believed in Nigeria that to help wage a drastic war on the disease, campaigns should be made strong in Churches and Mosques on specific prevention. But since the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN) and the Islamic Association of Nigeria (ISMA) are intensely in the support of such moves, it is not believed to be a problem. Nigerians also believe that the media too could help translate HIV/AIDS massage into local languages – and Arabic, French and predominantly English language.

Since sex is not discussed in the open in many places (villages) in Nigeria, people are agitating collaboration to empower the teaching of sexuality related course in the school, not only Biology. But this should be government approved, so that it will penetrate the society, from the cradle – primary schools level, at least.

A lot of people believe that to achieve this, splendid waste of resources has to follow. But it is not true! The message should get to the grassroots. HIV/AIDS is gaining ground intensely in Nigeria today because children do not teach their parents, peers, relatives, or vis-à-vis parents teaching their wards of the strategies to protect them selves.

There is a belief by the ignorant that it is only the infected that need the campaign against HIV/AIDS that is why many stakeholders like UNDP, Working To Empower, (WTE), HIV/AIDS initiatives in Nigeria amongst others have made it a routine thing by making sure people’s orientation change about the scourge. They are also building offices in the remote villages, sending volunteers to the villages.

Referral to records of NGOs working on HIV/AIDS campaign, it is recorded that in 1988 the disease prevalence increased from 1.8 percent to 5.8 percent in 2001. But when governmental agencies on HIV/AIDS amongst others saw this and gave out funds, the figure reduced from 5 percent by 2003.

It is believed that over 3.2 million adults are living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Over 1.8 million are women.

HIV/AIDS spread as recorded varies from state to state in Nigeria. Many states have prevalence rate lower or higher than the other. For example, Osun State in 2003 had 1.2 per cent prevalence rate whereas a state like Cross River had up to 12 per cent. This was according to survey!

Over 1.9 million AIDS orphans were recorded in 2004, above 290,000 deaths were recorded of HIV/AIDS complications cases. And over 80 percent of children suffering HID/AIDS as at that year were from mother-to-child transmission.

These infected, it amounts shamefully that over 500,000 patients today who required Anti -Retroviral Drugs, only 32 percent have access to it.

In another view Dr. (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpenyong of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development treatment (NIPDR), Abuja said in 2005 that their should be treatment of Tuberculosis on an infected. She emphasized that once a patient is positive, he or she should be tested of Tuberculosis immediately and treated because of HIV complications. She was who said that HIV/AIDS ranked next to malaria in morbidity and mortality in the country since HIV/AIDS cases were first reported in Nigeria doubtlessly in 1986.

Against this backdrop, researches have showcased that it is not all children born by HIV infected mothers that would be infected, in the term of mother-to-child transmission.

There is a belief on this mother-to-child transmission that mother should make sure they visit ante-natal clinics when they are pregnant. This will help them put to bed safely, when they take Anti-Retroviral drugs it will help reduce mother-to-child HIV infections.

Many experts believe that poor nutrition is detrimental to intensifying of HIV/AIDS, but good nutrition helps boost the immense system. Sports and managing stress are two vital means to manage HIV/AIDS. But in all, many religions believe that it is the devil’s manipulation to mankind on the (present) dooms day.

People think why is the rate of HIV cases high in Africa and Asia than in Europe or other first world countries. To this, yet, many people think that HIV story is a literary fiction by the West. What do you think about HIV/AIDS is a concern you must let loose to the world today.

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1 comment

alberto sauceda May 31, 2007 - 1:24 am

This is a very good article.

I hope more peoples dedicate the time to readed and shared.


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