Know your HIV status – Get tested
T he World AIDS day will be celebrated through the World on 1st of December every year. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. This year the theme for World AIDS Day is “Focus, Partner , Achieve : An AIDS free generation.
Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
In Bhutan 403 cases have been detected in the country of which 204 are male and 199 are females. At least five new cases of HIV positive cases are detected every month and the country recorded 34 more HIV positive cases between December to June this year. This health officials say is the tip of the ice berg and these cases represent only a small fraction of the estimated numbers of cases in the country as many more cases lie undetected
Since 2004, the health ministry initiated the provision of HIV treatment by providing antiretroviral medicines to infected people. The UNAIDS estimates that Bhutan may have more than 1,100 people living with HIV/ AIDS in the country.
The highest numbers of infection is on the age group of 30- 39 of 132 of which 87 are male and 51 are female, followed by the age group of 25- 29 with equal male and female. The next group of 20- 24 years has about 62 of people living with HIV.
In most of cases of about 91% the transmission is sexual route, followed by mother to child by 7% and intravenous drug use of 1%. As the infection falls under the most productive age group, it will affect the livelihood and the productivity of the nation as a whole on the long run.
As we celebrate the WORLD AIDS DAY tomorrow let us all commit to be more responsible and practice safe sex. We should build a society where HIV positive person are free from stigma and discrimination.