Every year, the world comes together to commemorate World AIDS Day on the first day of December. The 2019 World AIDS Day theme was communities make the difference and at Resolution, we took this theme to heart by examining how our community interacts with the virus.
At a sit down with the Resolution Impala Saracens rugby team, moderated by Dr Alex Bosire, we had an open conversation on not just HIV/AIDS but sexual health at large.
Why was this important?
Tackling a problem from a point of knowledge and information is more often than not effective and creates room for innovative solutions. Dr Bosire intimated, ‘We need to talk about sex with our children. Nowadays most children learn about sex from different types of media. In our days, we had VHS’ while the team shared that they get most of their information on digital platforms. But those are just third parties, how can we take this information and apply it in real life?
How do we ensure that today’s youth stays protected on night outs? How do we effectively address the frequent usage of emergency pills and the hot question of the day; what to do should the condom break? All these questions vary, depending on the context in which they occur. However, one thing is clear, technology plays a big role in answering them.
Technology and innovation
In the past, condoms have been championed the world over as the preferred safety measure. However, while they prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS via sexual contact, there are instances where they fall short. Enter PrEP.
PrEP, Pre-exposure prophylaxis in full, is a course of HIV drugs taken by HIV negative people to protect them from HIV infection.
How does PrEP work?
The anti-HIV drugs in PrEP stop the virus replicating in your body. If you are exposed to HIV, for example during sex without a condom, but have been taking PrEP correctly, there will be high enough levels of the drugs to prevent you from getting HIV.
PrEP is highly effective in the elimination of HIV infection if consistently and correctly used.
A big part of the fight against HIV is knowing your status. While in the past VCT centres were pretty popular in the country, there has been a need to get these results on the go, a need that has been met by self-test kits. HIV self-test kits are popular because they offer privacy, they are relatively affordable and are easy to use with numerous tutorials available on the web.
But at what risk?
A big component of why VCT centres were as popular is because, in addition to testing facilities, they also offered professional counselling, regardless of one’s status. They are a testimony to the importance of communities in the fight against HIV.
As we progress in the quest to remain negative while we think positively about fighting HIV stigma, it is important that we embrace both technology and the role of the medical community. This holiday season, talk with your healthcare provider about your status and how to move forward, in your community, regardless of where you stand.