A recent study reveals that much headway is being made toward controlling HIV and AIDS. While there is no cure for the disease yet, there are ways of making it much less harmful. If people with HIV seek out the proper treatment early enough, they can still live long and healthy lives. And, if they are treated regularly, they are extremely unlikely to spread the virus to others. Another important step in lessening the AIDS and HIV epidemic is male circumcision; men who have had this surgery reduce their risk of contracting the disease by 70%. Women aren’t left in the cold either. They can use special gels known as microbicides which, when applied before and after sex, reduce their risk of infection. Nowadays, there are even pills available that can reduce a healthy person’s risk of contracting the disease. And, of course there has been much talk of a vaccine, and all signs point to the use of vaccines being routine in the future.
What Are the Drawbacks to New Medical Breakthroughs?
As with anything, though, people are finding fault with these plans and asking some tough questions. When it comes to the various treatments, pills, and risk-reducers, people complain that not everyone is going to have access to them. While there are organizations that seek to provide such help overseas, there aren’t many in the United States. And, even if there were, the fact of the matter is that these treatments have to be paid for—by someone. Is it fair, people ask, for only those who can afford treatment to be treated or to have a lessened risk? Shouldn’t every AIDS sufferer be given help and healing, and shouldn’t every at-risk individual have the right to lessen his or her risk? Some people don’t think so. They think that people bring AIDS and HIV on themselves and that they should have to suffer the consequences of their actions and deal with whether they can or can’t pay.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect Myself?
We are not here to tell you which viewpoint is "right" or "wrong." Only you can decide that for yourself. No matter where you stand on the issue, remember that prevention is worth a pound of cure. While you can worry about these issues globally, you can protect yourself from ever having to worry about them personally. Preventing HIV is simple now that we know how it works. Avoid having multiple sexual partners if possible, and always use protection when engaging in intercourse or oral sex. Do not share needles with others and remember that the virus can be passed through breast milk as well. If you do those things, then there is no need for preventative medications and certainly not for treatment, because you will never be infected. If you do choose to engage in risky behaviors, make sure that you are tested for HIV regularly and if you do become infected that you inform all sexual partners of your condition and do your part to not further spread the disease.
AIDS and HIV are no longer the "big bad monsters" they were when they were first discovered. However, that doesn’t mean that you should take the disease lightly or decide to "just take your chances." You should always strive to protect yourself and those around you from this epidemic; that, no matter where you stand on the issues presented here, is your responsibility.
This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at onlinedegrees-benedictine.com. For those interested in a masters degree in nursing, contact onlinedegrees-benedictine to learn more about their masters degree in nursing.