ANI Photo | AIDS, HIV are not transmitted just by having sex: Dr Jugal Kishore

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, Dr Jugal Kishore, Community Medicine, Safdarjung Hospital on Friday said that earlier people who got infected with HIV were certain that they would die as their immune system used to get completely affected, adding that there was that fear factor that was associated with sexual activity and blood transfusions.
This is the reason why it was taken as a stigma or brought discrimination all over the world, so it was important to reduce all those things. In this context, WHO decided to celebrate a special theme every year so that people can be made aware of AIDS.
Dr Kishore said that this year, the theme is “Let communities lead”, which aims to encourage all the forces working to prevent and control HIV/AIDS. Although the prevalence rate of HIV has decreased in some areas around the world, but it still has impact in some places. There is a lack of awareness among people.
But awareness programmes are being run on a large scale; many NGOs also work on this, and the government also makes people aware at its own level. The affected people can get treatment with medications and have a very strong, life and healthy life with them. That is why this day is celebrated. In this way, people can make each other aware.
Dr Kishore said that even today millions of people are dying around the world due to HIV and AIDS because they are not aware of the treatment.
“Even today people think that if they get this infection they will die, they are afraid and do not tell. Do not go for treatment. About 39 million people in the world are suffering from HIV infection but they can be treated. We can save 10 lakh deaths, which are happening in large numbers. They can be stopped,” he added.
Moreover, people still hide the infection or do not tell. We have a stigma towards HIV that continues; anyone who is positive tries to hide, even from their spouse, tries to spread the infection. WHO stated that everyone should be put on treatment as soon as they are diagnosed, and this is only possible if people know that anyone can get infected at any time. Going into any commercial sex work, getting blood or having any kind of sexual relationship outside your marriage. So definitely, such people should get themselves examined and start treatment immediately.
The doctor said that, even today, when someone gets AIDS or HIV, people think that having sex with different partners caused the disease, but it is still linked to sexual activity. They actually started it with homosexuals and then with commercial sex workers; it focuses more on those areas. But, gradually, we realised that the disease was more concentrated on people who were drug addicts, who were doing commercial sexual activity, or who were sharing needles. So, later on, we found that the infection reached the community, the general community and the population there, what is known as the bridge population, people who are working out of their homes for a longer period of time.
He further said, “I want to advise that we have progressed a lot. In the beginning, when there was infection and we thought that we would die, this has also happened in other countries like Africa. But today, we have very good diagnostics, we can detect infection quickly, treatment can be started, and we have very good antiretroviral therapies, which are also very safe. And you can reduce the amount of virus load that is affecting our fighting force.”
“So, my message is that people should know that we have a cure. Just as a person suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes can live a long life, you too can live a good life by getting this disease treated once it is detected. Because once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have to take medicines for the rest of your life,” he added.
So once you know that treatment exists, then you should come forward and also the doctor said that antiviral therapy for this disease has started rapidly.
“It can be treated. Also, there are activities that can spread infection. Which includes sexual activity outside marriage or premarital sex, which is quite common these days. So, if you have more than one sexual partner or you are abusing drugs or sharing syringes or you just inject anywhere, I think you could probably get an infection. Also, if you take blood from an infected person, you may get this infection. For this, you need to be alert,” he added.
Although these things are already controlled by the government, the country is big, and we have large rural areas where things are not done properly. Therefore, the infection can spread and we have to reduce that infection. And surely we can save our human beings from death, he added.
World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 every year. The day has been celebrated since 1988

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