End Pandemics – World Aids Day 2021
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was once the most frightening of viruses in our checkered history of pandemics. Very little was known about it and the body count left behind was of great concern.
Can you believe it has been 40 years since the first cases were reported?!?
The reactions from the public then are reminiscent of more current times in the last two years with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our world was thrown into disarray because yet again, we were dealing with a virus that we knew very little about. Thankfully, while the AIDS stigma has greatly reduced, research done on the virus with the passage of time allows for it to be continually demystified.
The millennial generation however…seem to have lost the strong sense of fear their predecessors had concerning the virus. This is a new worry.
HIV/AIDS used to be one of the major reasons why people used to practice safe sex. It directly equated to death.
This notion has however changed with a degree of increased recklessness. People now live longer despite having the virus for decades, some symptom free. It no longer is something to get stigmatized on.
While this is a great positive development in treatment outcomes, the increased nonchalance of the populace has led to a higher viral transmission rate.
What people seem to have forgotten is :1.) Though HIV is manageable, it can still reduce ones' quality of life or worse, when left unmanaged, can result in death;
2.) The virus is growing stronger; resistance to some medications against it is happening
3.) Though it can be managed, the cure for it has yet to been found;
4.) Most importantly, while we cheer on for zero stigmatisation, it serves no one any good being reckless when it comes to practicing safe sex.
This year our overarching message remains..
Testing and Diagnosis.
Research continues as new diagnostic kits are introduced to the market. Case in point are the home testing kits that have been in the market in recent years. At Leleshwa Pharmacy we currently stock a self testing kit by the name Oraquick.
This approved test uses oral fluid to check for antibodies to HIV Type 1 (prevalent in the US) and HIV Type 2 (prevalent on the African continent), the viruses that cause AIDS.
The kit is designed to collect an oral fluid sample by swabbing your upper and lower gums with the test device. After collecting the sample you insert the device into the kit’s vial which contains a developer solution, wait 20-40 minutes, and read the test result.
A positive result with this test does not mean that an individual is definitely infected with HIV but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the test result where we would refer you.
Additionally, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months.
Again an individual should obtain a confirmatory test in a medical setting or retest after 3months.
We at Leleshwa Pharmacy are happy to be of service to you. Check your status and that of your partner’s at the privacy and comfort of your own home. We have well trained Health care professionals that will explain to you how to use the kits in person and on phone.
Moreover, the kits come with manuals with clear and easy to follow instructions that can help any user.
We are also here to provide advice and refer you if needed.
For 2021, we would also like to speak to the global inequalities that make pandemics and especially coexisting pandemics that much harder to eradicate.
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima put it best,
“Without the inequality-fighting approach we need to end AIDS, the world would also struggle to end the COVID-19 pandemic and would remain unprepared for the pandemics of the future. That would be profoundly dangerous for us all”
This blog host site has its defaults fixed to the administrator as author however our blog this month was originally written for us by:
Dr Dennis Ngugi and updated to reflect our current times by Dr Moraa Kiangoi.
Our gratitude and thanks from the Leleshwa Team.