PEOPLE DO STUPID THINGS,THAT’S WHAT SPREAD HIV – PART 2
Before continuing – Read Part 1 first before you continue.
Now let’s talk about sex. Are we any more rational when it comes to sex?
And I am not even going to address the completely irrational belief from certain parts of society that believes that somehow if you give out condoms, that everyone is gonna go out and have more sex.
I got news for them, I carry condoms with me all the time and I never get laid…its not that easy.
Seriously HIV is actually not that easy to transmit sexually. Let explain.
It depends on how much of the virus there is in your blood and in your body fluids (called the Viral load).
What we have got is a very high level of virus right in the beginning when you are first infected, then your body starts making antibodies and then it bumps along at quite low levels for 10-12 years.( Without ARV treatment)
You get spikes should you get infected with other STI’s (Sexually transmitted infections), but basically for a long time nothing much is going on until you start to to get symptomatic AIDS ( without ARV Treatment)
So the Sexual transmission of HIV is essentially determined by how many sexual partners you have within these short spaces of time when you have these high peaks of high Viral load.
AIDS is when your CD4 count drops below 200 or you are HIV positive and you have another opportunistic infection like TB at the same time.
So this addresses a myth – Having HIV automatically means you have AIDS.
How many times have I told someone I am am HIV Positive and their response is “Oh YOU HAVE AIDS” – no my darling I am HIV positive, there is a big difference.
Our own Government run a campaign that is called the ABC model
- Abstain ( meaning don’t have sex)
- Be faithful – well studies show otherwise
- Condomize – which we should do.
I would like to add a D to the “ABC Model – call it the ABCD model. D for “DO IT YOURSELF” ……..good old masturbation.
So this is all good and well and they mean well, but the reality of the matter is that people are still going to have sex. So we should protect ourself as much as possible.
Quick fun fact:
Who knows when the first condom was invented and what it was made off?
Th First condom was invented in the 1500’s and was made of chemically treated linen and animal tissue ( animal intestines or their bladders), so be glad that we have the condoms that we have today, so use them. Our our South African Government started bringing out flavored condoms…how lucky can we be.
In intimate relationships, it is much more difficult to keep using condoms, because with your wife or your boyfriend or that someone that you would like to become one of those things,we have this illusion of romance and trust and intimacy. And nothing is quite as unromantic as the question:
“My condom or yours darling”
So we need quite a strong incentive for condom use. Here we simply have to look at the high infection rate samonst all populations. South Africa being at top the ranks.
HIV has become the face of our country
- We have a National prevalence of 10-11%, out of a population of 50 million people, we have 6 million living with HIV and most of them don’t even know it
- Out of the 6 million people, we have 1,5 million on ARV treatment, still too few, due to Stigma people are still too scared to get tested & treated.
in our fight against HIV,condoms and water based lubrication (and it should always be used together) are not the only options to prevent the spread of HIV and protect ourselves.
If you don’t have access to lubrication, studies have shown that , and don’t laugh….egg white and yogurt are very effective lubrication’s.
Besides condoms and lubrication,we also have the following prevention methods:
- Regular Testing – it is advised to test every 3 months due to the 3 month window period. you might test negative at first because it takes a while for hiv antibodies to develop in your blood.
- PEP – not PEP stores, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis – it is ARV Medication that is available and that you can get access to within 72 hours after possible and or accidental exposure.
- PrEP – Pre-exposure prophylaxis – this is combination of 2 ARV medications that people can take to prevent from getting infected.
Our South African Government is currently piloting a roll out with high risk populations like sex workers etc. It will eventually be available to the general public in the future.
Once again this does not mean we should go out and have unprotected sex. PrEP will give us about 80-89% protection against HIV, it does not protect you against other STI’s.
PrEP has great benefits for couples, where one partner is positive and the other negative (called Serodiscordant couples).
The other benefit is that you will be able to stop the medication at any time and not build up resistance against the medication. Should you get infected at a later stage, you simply go onto life-long ARV treatment.
- Treatment as a form of prevention: Our Government started with a campaign in Sept 2016 namely Test and Treat – this means that everybody that tests positive for HIV starts with ARV treatment immediately instead of waiting for their CD4 count to lower levels in previous years. The sooner HIV positive people start on treatment, the better the outcome.
When people are on treatment and they are adhering, taking their medication everyday as prescribed, their viral load drops and becomes undetectable. When your viral load is undetectable the chances are very very low of infecting others. Up to 96%.
Please remember that when your viral load is undetectable, it does not mean that you are cured.
to be continued………..