Happy December and World AIDS Day


Today, December 1, is the start of the last month of the year, the countdown to Christmas and also World AIDS Day. I want to congratulate everyone for coming this far, I can't believe the year is almost gone, I am very thankful too for health, and family, and love. And in the spirit of all that, I want to also commemorate the AIDS day by sharing some ways to help limit the spread of the virus.

1. Be Faithful, Abstain or Use Protection

For those who have a regular sex life, being faithful to one person if you're both HIV-. If you're not with someone you trust implicitly, please abstain from sex. If you must, condoms are still the only means to protect against HIV, STDs, and pregnancy. There are now female condoms as well as the male, so more options for everybody.

2. Get Tested and Know your Status

Back in Nigeria, some say AIDS no dey show for face, but that is because it is HIV first, with little to no symptons. It takes a while for the symptoms of the virus to show, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested. There are many free and/or voluntary counselling and testing centers around. Take the test, get your results and try to live a more responsible life - positive or negative.

3. Find out more Information on HIV/AIDS

Sometimes, when we fear or don't like something, we fail to educate ourselves about it. This is dangerous with regard to AIDS because the only way to prevent HIV is to know how and how not to get it. There are tons of misconceptions including those who think you can't get it outside of sex. If you're reading this, you can click over to the AIDS wiki page and upgrade your memory.

4. Share your Knowledge with Others

If you are a health care provider, nurse or generally interested in your health and of those around you, share a post about HIV/AIDS today on your blog, or just talk to someone. Facebook status messages and tweets also count.

Recently, I read Jude Dibia's Work-in-progress Bistro, Tea and Biscuits, which features a man living with HIV. It seems very apt for this post. Enjoy...

It was in 2007, precisely five years ago, that Abazu discovered he was HIV positive. He was in London at the time, on holiday. He had not planned to have himself tested, but it so happened that he went club-hopping with a couple of friends, got excessively drunk and in a game of Truth or Dare he chose ‘Dare’ and was challenged, on a whim, to take the HIV test at a free screening centre close by to the club they were partying in on Old Compton Street, Soho district.

Abazu accepted the dare and the party of four stumbled out of the club, and like the blind leading the blind, each of them supported each other against toppling onto the bare ground. They made it to the clinic and after the mandatory counseling Abazu subjected himself to having his blood drawn. He was told to return after five days for the result and was given a card with a number on it. He returned to the club with his friends, each of them praising him for his bravado, none of them recognizing that he had sobered up after taking the test.

When he got the news of the result of the test, he was stunned. For a long time he sat in the tiny Health Counselor’s office surrounded by posters encouraging people to know their status and stop the spread of AIDS; posters with the red ribbon of awareness. He believed he would be dead before the year was over. He also thought of every time he had had unprotected sex, especially in the last few days. He was angry. He was afraid. He was confused. He agonized on whom to tell? Should he tell his sexual partners? And then he wondered which of his partners could have infected him. Someone did this to him. It was someone else’s fault.

That was all five years ago. Abazu was still very much alive, and looking much healthier than he did five years earlier. Dilibe always wondered why Abazu had confided in him about his status. He was one of the few people Abazu told the story of how he got drunk in London, took a dare and had himself tested for HIV. For what it was worth, Dilibe felt grateful that Abazu trusted him enough to confide in him and has since become even closer friends. Apart from feeling protective of him, Dilibe felt he could tell Abazu anything. Read all...

In conclusion, let's spread the facts and awareness and not the virus or fear.

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