Dec 1, 2016

Let's hug a person infected with HIV today...

Two weeks ago, I had a chat with an acquaintance who was telling me of a “weird” event in Hamra Street. He said he was having coffee and a guy was on the road holding a card saying: “I have HIV. Give me hug”. People were roaming around, some hugging him and some were not. When I asked this same person what he did, he said: I stayed away of course, what if he had HIV?! “shuallah jabirné in3idé”.
(I believe all that was happening was part of a campaign for World’s Aids Day but I would not find anything online. Please share the link if you find anything!)

The person in question was a guy I had met. His answer made me lose all interest in him because it reflects a lack of culture, knowledge and a lot of rudeness. I would hug a person who has HIV. I would hug him, be friends with him, go out, hang out. I would hug a person who has AIDS as well.

Am I not scared for my health? Those who know me enough would know how much I am. For God’s sake…. I run an HIV test every time I visit my dentist (okay I hope my dentist doesn’t read this!). But this does not mean I do not have enough common sense, knowledge, education and above all humanism that pushes me to refuse the stereotyping and the social refusal people suffering with HIV and AIDS face on daily basis.

They CAN work, go out, have friends. And we NEED to know more about them, their case and how to deal with it in 2016.

So let’s have together a recap about the Red Ribbon day!

What is the World’s aids day?
The world’s Aids day is held on December 1st of each year to remember all 35 million + people living with HIV worldwide, raise awareness about the infection and commemorate those who have lost their life in the battle.  Since 1998, people worldwide wear a red ribbon in support on this day whereas many Red Ribbon sales events are held and the money would go directly for the support of the cause or of those infected.

What’s the difference between HIV and Aids?
As defined on, “HIV is a virus that may cause an infection, but AIDS is a condition or a syndrome. Being infected with HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS develops when HIV has caused serious damage to the immune system.”

How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is spread through: Blood transfusion, semen and pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, breast milk, infected needles/syringes/any other infected object (ask your beautician, dentist or doctor about the safety measurements they use to sterilize everything. It can also be transmitted during pregnancy (the risk is of 30% but can be reduced to 4% with the right medicine) or from inter-contact between wounds and broken skin.
HIV is not transmitted by air, water, mosquitoes or other insects, saliva and tears and sweat (that is not mixed with the blood of an HIV infected person), shaking hands, hugging, sharing toilets, sharing cutlery or dished or drinking glasses or any other social body to body contact (talking face to face, cheeks kissing,etc).

How can you be protected from HIV?
It’s quite easy!!! Be safe in your sexual relations (by using protection) and avoid everything mentioned in the section here-above with persons testes HIV positive!

What are the common myths about HIV?
- Whomever has HIV will die within a year;
- You can tell if someone has HIV by looking to their face;
- Straight people can’t have HIV;
- HIV-positive people can’t have children;
- HIV always leads to Aids;
- If two partners have HIV, there is no need for further protection;

And above all, the biggest misconception is the reason of my post today:

HIV can be spread through casual contact with an HIV infected person.

Stay safe!

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