Each year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. In not more than 500 words, what are your experiences with HIV/AIDs and how can we continually reduce the spread of the HIV virus among young people?
Kimumwe Douglas | Senior Five Student | Seroma Christian High School, Mukono
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome better known as HIV/AIDS is one of the most catastrophic conditions caused by a viral infection with the HIV virus. In Uganda, close to 900,000 people including personalities like Philly Lutaaya, Paddy Bitama, Livingstone Kasozi have succumbed to AIDS since 1982 when the virus was still fresh.
HIV is transmitted through contact with certain body fluids, such as semen, vaginal or anal fluids, breast milk, and blood. Contact with these body fluids can occur during unprotected sex or when sharing needles or other items with body fluids on them. Mothers can pass the HIV virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. You CANNOT transmit HIV through contact with sweat, tears, saliva, bath, or pool water, or by sharing dishes or drinking glasses, hugging, or shaking hands.
The contagiousness of HIV/AIDS is taken in high regard and the awareness of the disease is aired through the world AIDS day which takes place on the 1st of December every year. Since 1988, the world AIDS day is internationally recognized by a myriad of UN nations in the world which all come together to mourn and fight for the lives of those claimed by AIDS.
The day is observed with the educating of people on its spread, and prevention measures, plays and skits by students, written music and online articles, posters, and blogs. Currently, there is no effective cure, but the AIDS patients nowadays take Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that support their bodies and ease in the management of the virus.
In Uganda, almost every district in the central region has an estimate of close to 300 AIDS victims including children on average. The ARV’S keep them looking healthy, but these patients live a gruesome reality. Some are isolated because people don’t want to contact with them in a bid of avoiding the virus.
People born with AIDS are neglected by their own family members, friends and loved ones who give them less attention and support. Society has come against this, and AIDS activists are demanding for equal treatment just like any other normal person of any caliber. Their harsh reality makes them fall victim of depression whilst others are prompted to commit suicide. 79% of the youths between 15-29 commit suicide every year in Uganda with causes rising from internal pressure brought about by the disease.
Youth contract it along the course of their lives and have a few friends with nothing short of an interesting life although some display glimmers of happiness. In my opinion, this virus can simply be controlled. It is a matter of self-awareness and actions like abstinence from sexual intercourse especially when testing has not yet been carried out in between the two partners, keeping medical equipment clean at all times to avoid blood contact, desisting from the sharing of sharp piercing or cutting objects with an infected person as residues of bodily fluid may come in contact with a healthy person and using condoms for sexual intercourse where you are not sure of HIV status.
Douglas wins our final essay of the year 2022 with a cash prize of UGX 50,000. Please see the keep checking this website for 2023 youth essay challenges.