Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A HIV-Free Population!

Is it really possible? Can we have the emergence of a generation that has less of HIV infected people? For this year’s world AIDS day, I did not want to cramp myself in another long seminar with boring speeches (that sometimes leaves me very depress). So I decided to carryout a public opinion poll to find out what most youths think about the possibility of having a HIV-free population.

Majority of those interviewed affirmed that a HIV-free population is possible. They however directed their concern to the need for more dissemination of HIV related information to empower people to protect themselves from being infected. They also emphasized on the need for behavioral change towards the people living with HIV/AIDS. Indeed, if they are given the needed care and support, these people would not want to keep spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, contrary to these views, others who did not believe that a HIV-free population is possible insisted that a 100% HIV-free population is not possible because the youths who are the most vulnerable group do not adhere to the counsel of adults who warn them against exhibiting risky behavior that exposes them to HIV infection.

Information gives the power to be transformed. We all need the right information to keep us abreast on the current trend of HIV/AIDS. For instance, do you know that between 1.7 million and 4.2 million Nigerians are HIV positive and about 1.3 million children have been orphaned by AIDS? Despite the alarming statistics, I personally believe that a HIV-free population is possible if we all play our role to ensure it!

The dream of a HIV-free population in Nigeria begins with you and me. We must all take personal responsibility to know our HIV status, protect ourselves from being infected and stop the stigma against those living with HIV. Afterall, stigma and discrimination is said to be the most significant barrier to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities.

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