Awareness for the Future
Atlanta Karenina L. Yap
Philippine Women’s College of Davao
The first day of December commemorates World AIDS Day, a celebration for HIV-AIDS awareness. People all over the world have gathered to honor this day and to support this advocacy. But what is HIV and AIDS? How much do people really know about this disease? Why is it such an important matter for the world? These are just some questions which most people, especially the youth, cannot answer.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV is a type of retrovirus that affects the cells of the immune system. Once a person is infected with HIV, his immune system becomes weaker and more susceptible to other infections. The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or ...view middle of the document...
In addition, sharing eating utensils or bathroom facilities does not transmit HIV.
As of 2011, UNAIDS has recorded an estimated 34 million adults and children living with HIV. This figure has increased from 29.4 million during 2001. However, the number of newly infected persons has decreased from 3.2 million in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2011. Deaths pertaining to AIDS have also decreased from 1.9 million to 1.7 million. These figures show a significant improvement in the reduction of HIV cases in the world. In the Philippines, it is estimated that 19,000 people are infected with HIV, and less than 1% of these cases involve children less than 15 years old. Furthermore, according to the February 2012 report of the Department of Health: National Epidemiology Center, 96% of the cases involved males aged 17-57 years old. In addition, 59% of the total cases composed of 20-29 year olds. Aside from having an incurable disease, victims of HIV also experience discrimination because of their condition. Discrimination often times discourages the victim to seek medical attention for fear of embarrassment. This will hinder them from obtaining valuable information about the disease as well as the proper treatment needed.
The misconception on people who have AIDS is that they are involved with immoral and promiscuous acts. Most people would think that they brought it on themselves. In their minds, they are just after pleasure, but they did not know of the consequences because they were not properly educated about this matter. It is not only the efforts of the scientists and the government that are needed but also the efforts of each one of us to disseminate the correct information in order to avoid more infections. If everyone has become aware regarding HIV and AIDS, and they truly did their part in this advocacy, in time there would be zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.