In this Twitter poll, we asked whether you know your status. we are glad that many of you know your status, which also means you understand why it’s important for you to know your status. However, some of you also wondered why you should take a test and what HIV is. Kale let’s start with the basics; what’s this HIV thing?
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. so, over time, HIV can destroy so many of your T- cells or CD4 cells, which are a very important part of your immune system, that your body can’t fight infections and disease anymore.
When this happens, HIV infections can lead to AIDs.
AIDS, or Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, is the last stage of HIV infection that happens when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. At this point, an individual has very high chances of getting opportunistic infections like Tuberculosis, pneumonia, Candidiasis, etc
Why you should know your HIV status?
Knowing your HIV status gives you peace, peace of mind, and body- both for you and your sexual partner. It is important for you to know your partner’s status prior to engaging in sexual activity. I know that this conversation can be difficult or uncomfortable for many of us, but it can also be as simple as saying,” let’s go for an HIV test together.’’ or “when was the last time that you were tested for HIV?” And the only way to know your status is through testing
Kakati, Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV.
Most of us, I believe have jazzed with some of our friends and they admit that they’re scared of testing their status but knowing where you stand will give you peace. Kowing that you are negative will help you take extra precocious steps, maintain, abstain, and also have safe sex. Getting positive results also is not the end of your life, thanks to advanced research. Finding out that you’re positive helps you start treatment early and this means that you can live a full, healthy, and productive life.
BTW, did you know that infected individuals can live with the virus for over 10 years, without showing any signs and symptoms? Yeah, it’s crazy like that! Many people who are HIV positive do not have symptoms of HIV infection. The virus can sometimes cause people to feel sick, but most of the severe symptoms and illnesses of HIV come from having AIDs. And you can not tell whether an individual is infected or not unless you test. HIV is not a face card
Wondering how you can keep away from the VIRUS?
We all know the ABCs, and I will keep on reminding and assuring you about them! Kakati, let’s start with A
Abstain, Abstain and Abstain
Practicing abstinence lowers your risk of contracting HIV because if you have no sexual contact with another individual, you’re HIV 100% protected from contracting HIV through sex, which is the main way that HIV is transmitted in young people.
However, if you choose to have sex, please and please practice safe sex. Safe sex means that you’re taking extra precautions to protect yourself and your partner from HIV, other STIs, and unplanned pregnancies.
The C is for condoms. Condoms are a barrier method to protect you from HIV, other STIs plus unintended pregnancies….
The B! Be Faithful and Careful. This means being in a sexual relationship with only one person and you both are having sex only with each other. Having one sexual partner reduces your risk of contracting HIV, assuming neither of you is already infected with HIV.
So that’s all I had for today about HIV and why it’s important for you to know your HIV status.
Have questions about HIV and any other SRHR related topics? Whatsapp the SAUTI Ssenga on +256 41 4697037
Written Mwanaisha Musa