AIDS… Not What It Used To Be

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Because my dissertation in medical school centred around HIV doesn’t make me a professor on the topic. And the fact that I start a statement with “because” doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. Like most people, I’m just somewhere in-between the most knowledgeable and the…. Let’s keep that aside. Let’s test our knowledge on the subject in question.  AIDS. What exactly do you know about it? 

  • Is HIV the same as Aids? 
  • Is AIDS worse than HIV?
  • Can AIDS kill faster than HIV? 
  • Are AIDS patients more contagious than HIV patients? 

If your answer to any of the above was a yes,  then welcome to the club of many who know very little about AIDS. In actual fact, I was once the president of that club 😊.

By definition, the most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 2 to 15 years to develop depending on the individual. AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections, or other severe clinical manifestations (Source:WHO)

Simple analogy is that HIV is the virus and AIDS is what happens when this virus has done too much havoc to the immune system and has gotten some other bad guys involved with itself in the business.  

And not everyone who got infected with HIV was sexually promiscuous. In actual fact, I once had a needle prick injury while attending to a patient in the hospital. I pricked myself accidentally with the same needle with which I had withdrawn blood from the patient. I was as scared as hell. What was supposed to be me doing my job was now my life on the line. Fortunately, it turned out that neither of us was HIV positive at that time. The lesson from that story is simple. I could have gotten infected that day and it wouldn’t have been because of my sexual choices. 

It’s high time society stopped the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. It’s high time we embraced them for whom they are. They are our brothers and sisters who are fighting hard to stay alive combating a virus that is ravaging their defense systems. 

It’s high time we know more about HIV and AIDS and stop the discrimination. Besides, there are a thousand and one other worse conditions that would kill faster than HIV and we all are vulnerable. You want a list,  send me a mail. Let’s put our bigoted egos aside and rise to the occasion of the day. 

AIDS is not what we think it is. It’s delayable, manageable and embraceable. Spread the knowledge, not the stigma! To know more about HIV and AIDS, click here. Remember, I’m not the professor on the subject matter 

By 

Dr Osunlusi Olufemi 

MBBS Lagos 

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