Monday, 9 May 2016


HIV is one of the most stigmatized diseases globally but people actually do not know that it is far better than many collective diseases out there. The stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS has made the disease excessively
dreaded living with. People actually equate an HIV carrier as being promiscuous or someone with bad habits, victim blaming is very common with the society. However, the virus itself is no longer terrifying to professionals working in the field but the societal perception and attitudes towards the infection makes it very scary.  When HIV is managed properly, one can live life with it to the fullest without anyone discerning you even had the disease at the first place

Before we go further lets educate ourselves with some interesting facts about HIV/AIDS

HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency Virus. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; AIDS is the advanced form of HIV which actually kills.

What HIV does is to damage your immune system interfering with your body’s ability to fight the organism that causes diseases. The immune system is like a great defence army of soldiers inform of cells that fight against invading enemies in your body in this case, organisms that causes disease. HIV goes straight to those soldiers defending your body from diseases, kill or weaken them thereby allowing diseases to freely enter your body

HIV can be contacted by
•             Re-using and sharing sharp instruments such as razor blades, needles, clippers
•             Unprotected sex
•             Blood transfusion from infected person
•             Vertical transfusion (usually from mother to child)

HIV cannot be transmitted from sweat, saliva, tears, but through other body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk

It cannot be contacted by sitting on the same chair or simply shaking hands with an infected person. Mosquito bites do not transmits HIV/AIDS

Sneezing and coughing or sharing a glass cup with an infected person do not transmit the virus
Anti-retroviral drugs (ARDs) help to reduce viral load thereby boosting one’s (infected person) immune system thus prolonging one’s life

ARDs are not paid for in hospitals and they contain high immune boosters

HIV is one of the global most stigmatized diseases .It’s a disease that comes with social stigma that makes sufferers want to hide their status.

There are currently progress in the management and cure of HIV/AIDS but these are kept silence from public access because of concerns that when they are let out, people will no longer take heed to health and safety measures against the disease


People dying of HIV/AIDS recently are very rare. This is because of improvement in many anti-retroviral drugs that help to cope with the disease or cure it totally. Therefore it is very hard to argue that HIV/AIDS is a killer disease in this century. However, people still die every day from other infections and these are the ones that have defied medical solutions and have led to major death and patients suffering over the years. These are the diseases we tag worse than HIV/AIDS
HIV is better than these ailments that are managed with drugs such as diabetes, sickle cell anemia, Liver and kidney problems, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, cancer etc. This is because although one has to be placed on drugs on daily bases but if one adheres to it relentlessly he/she will live life to the fullest

For example, diagnosis for type 2 Diabetes is considered worse than HIV because people with it are more likely to have kidney filtering system which can lead to kidney failure, the risk of stroke doubles that of the overall population, people with it are very prone to have cardiovascular diseases. It damages delicate vessels in the eye which is a leading cause of blindness, persistent foot wounds and ulcers etc. but with HIV there are very few problems provided you take your pills
HIV positive are free to eat whatever they want to eat although counselled to take more vegetables and fruits unlike a diabetic patient who has a lot of “don’t eats” such as yam, bread, etc. taking more fruits and vegetables help to boost the immune system by some certain percentage which can also help in reducing the viral loads

According to IARC, a part of World Health Organisation (WHO), it has been discovered that Cancer kills more people in poor countries than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria collectively. These poor sufferers not only die but pass through financial difficulties and gruesome pains. Although Cancer claims more victims than HIV in Africa, the stigma attached to it is very less compared to HIV which one can manage. Because of societal perception; people prefer to have cancer than the virus
Lung cancer alone is said to have killed 1.6m people globally in 2012. HIV patients on anti-retroviral drugs are only dying of other causes not the virus itself


It might be shocking to know that hunger kills many people faster than HIV but because it is not a rich man’s problem it is neglected. According to the state of food insecurity in the world 2015, each year hunger kills more people than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. According to world food program (WFP), hunger kills 17,000 children per day while nearly 6m children die of hunger every year. The estimate also shows that in every five seconds a child dies of hunger while chronic hunger kills around 10 children in every 60 seconds somewhere around the world  


·         HIV positive people are called clients not patients in hospital

·         An HIV carrier can marry a negative person and have children who are negative while the negative person still remains negative. This is very possible (visit your hospital for more information)

·         An infected mother can give birth to a negative new-born baby (ies) (visit your hospital for more information)


SDG 2030 Zero Stigmatization loading, Stay stigma free, Love life

By Chinenye Aniekwe
A graduate of Health science at the university of Benin Nigeria.


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      God bless

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