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7 months ago

Leave stigma, talk openly about HIV: Doctors ask people on World Aids Day

Srinagar: As the world observed AIDS Day, the health experts here on Friday said that there is a need to get rid of social stigma so that affected people may come forward for treatment and talk openly about HIV to educate people.


World AIDS Day is observed across the globe on December 1 with a new theme every year and in 2023, the theme is “Let communities lead”.


Doctors while talking to KNO said the social stigma has been a formidable barrier in the fight against HIV, thereby hindering prevention efforts and perpetuating the spread of the virus.


Dr Fozia, Head of Department Community Medicine at GMC Anantnag, said that stigmatizing attitudes surrounding HIV contribute to fear, misinformation and discrimination creating an environment where individuals are hesitant to seek testing, treatment and support.


She said by challenging and changing societal perceptions, we can definitely create an environment that promotes open dialogue, open dialogue education and understanding.


Dr Showkat, another doctor at GMC said that people who have already been affected by this virus must come forward and lead the fight to get rid of it and avoid its spread.


He said fear of judgement often leads people to avoid HIV testing that allows the virus to go undetected and untreated and destigmatizing will definitely help in improving individual health outcomes but also helps in preventing further transmission of the virus.


Dr Ifra from GMC Anantnag said that people can easily come for treatment of HIV as their identities aren’t being disclosed besides they are being sanitised to adhere to treatment plans, ultimately reducing the overall burden of the virus in the communities.


Doctors said that talking openly about HIV will help in addressing misconceptions and can help in dispelling myths, reduce fear and foster empathy.


They said by engaging communities in discussion, awareness and support networks, an environment can be created that can encourage empathy, understanding and solidarity and that will in turn contribute to a more effective HIV prevention.


They said there is complete treatment available for HIV and it can be cured fully, however, preventions are better so as to avoid contraction of this virus.


They said that people can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV. These fluids are blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.


“To reduce your risk of HIV, use condoms properly. Do not inject drugs. If you do, use only sterile injection equipment and water, and never share your equipment with others,” they added.

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