Written by Amanda Ramaningrum, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia
Did you know that December 1st is celebrated as World AIDS Day? Talk about World AIDS Day, this year’s theme is “End inequality, End AIDS”. Focusing on reaching people who are left behind, this theme aims to highlight the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.
Especially in this pandemic, it’s important for us to address the special challenges posed by the COVID-19 for HIV-positive persons. Why do we have to put so much concern towards HIV-AIDS? Well, it is because until now, HIV still continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 36.3 million (27.2–47.8 million) lives so far with no cure for HIV infection.
What is HIV/AIDS?
You may have heard about this disease at least once before, but let me give you a deep explanation about HIV-AIDS. Human Immunodeficiency Virus or known as HIV, is a virus that affects a person’s immune system by damaging particular immune system components with function to combat the infection. The specific cell they attack is The CD4 cell–one of the components of the immune system. When we have HIV, our CD4 cell count plummets and makes the body unable to combat the infection.
Meanwhile, when we are infected by HIV for a long time without any treatment, it will cause a chronic disease called AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a long-term impact of HIV infection. So, you know now that HIV and AIDS are different. Not all people with HIV infection will develop AIDS. However, someone who has AIDS is certain to have HIV infection.
The HIV/AIDS positive person stigma
There is so much false information about this disease that causes mistreatment and inequality services for the sufferer. One of the most common misconceptions regarding HIV is that it is very contagious. This is false because HIV is only transferred through unprotected sex, unsterile needles, and children whose mothers are HIV positive.
HIV cannot be transmitted through the air, including through coughing, sneezing, eating utensils, the toilet, shaking hands, and sitting next to each other. So, if you meet a person with HIV/AIDS, don’t be frightened! Treat them nicely and don’t look at them strangely.
Wear your red ribbon!
Why do we need to wear red ribbons to celebrate World AIDS Day? It is because the sufferer of HIV/AIDS often get discrimination from society, such as being isolated from community, which leads to stress and difficulty in getting a decent job.
The usage of colorful ribbons in the healthcare sector helps in raising public awareness of disabilities, medical problems, health, and other issues. Red ribbon is meant for raising awareness and showing support for HIV/AIDS sufferers. Aside from that, the red ribbon is also seen as a sign of heart illness, stroke, substance misuse, and other conditions.
It’s time to stop the negative stigma towards HIV/AIDS sufferers. As World AIDS Day has begun, let’s wear our red ribbons together to show support for them!
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