No More AIDS | Teen Ink

No More AIDS

December 10, 2008
By Anonymous

As I spent my last summer in Botswana I had the privilege to meet many inspiring and great people. I lived with a host family in a small village, Otse. While I was there I spent a day visiting AIDS patients with the Home Base Care Unit. Thats was a very memorable part of my trip. Some of the people I saw that day were very ill, and I knew they didn’t have much longer to live. I had such a hard time seeing this, it doesn’t seem fair that they were diagnosed with the virus, I wanted more than anything to be able to cure them. I know I can’t cure them but I do have an idea to help the devastating problem become less abundant.

AIDS needs to be dealt with, we can’t continue to push aside. People can’t continue to suffer and die from the disease. The 29.3% prevalence in Botswana is way too high. AIDS has had such an impact that it has dropped the life expectancy from 65 years to 40 years. The life expectancy, if AIDS wasn’t round would be 28 years higher than it is now. That is a huge difference. Many parents are being taken by the epidemic and leaving 95,000 children at a loss of at least one parent. Parents that are unaware of caring the virus, breast feed and pass it on to their newborns, passing the disease into a new generation.

HIV/AIDS is also taking a hit on the economy. We are losing many of the older people that are in the working force. With those people we lose skills, and jobs. As well as the economy, families are also having a hard time keeping up with the expense of the medication, causing them to falling into poverty.

I was always told that HIV/AIDS was a deadly disease, and that I should not participate in any activities that AIDS can be passed through. I didn't until very recently learn all the ways AIDS can be passed, and the actual way the virus attacks the body. I learned how the cell can transform, making it impossible for the human body to fight the intruder. I found it fascinating and immediately wondered if the people I knew in Otse knew about all this. I wondered if the people actual living with the virus knew what their bodies were doing, and how hard their body must fight to produce antibodies, and keep them alive. I wondered if they were aware of the different ways that AIDS is transmitted, and how they could have prevented it.

I am a strong believer that education is key in solving this issue. Every child must know everything there is to know about this virus, how it attacks the body, how its transmitted, and how to prevent it. The information needs to be easy to obtain and in ways that can be understood. I learned with drawings, depicting the virus, and how it changes. The lesson was also very interactive, and made me think about it. Every school must have a AIDS awareness lesson, every year, with every class.

One problem with the idea of teaching in schools is, not everyone goes to school. Those people need other ways to learn about HIV/AIDS. We need advertisements, billboards, commercials, and just an over all awareness all over the country. Details on prevention need to be understood by everyone, and need to be every where even if it means putting thing up in the grocery store, on street signs, or on people’s houses.

AIDS information needs to be everywhere. Another way to spread the awareness is to print AIDS information on cars. The cars that have information on them should be sold at a cheaper price than the ones that are just plain. This will encourage people to buy the cars that have AIDS awareness information on it, and making information more available. What if on the inside of every candy wrapper was a fact about preventing, or a statistic, about the epidemic. Small ways of reaching people will go a long way.

Everyone should be tested so that they can prevent themselves and others from transmitting it. I recently learned that even when you are tested AIDS takes 3-6 months to show up positive on a test. That is something people need to know, people can transmit it before they know they have it which is a potential problem that needs to be faced. People need to have 3-6 months after their last potential exposure before being tested. People should also be tested regularly. I think that being tested should be a requirement, maybe any one employed should be tested annually, every trip to the doctor, or clinic, or a results from a test included with taxes.

Testing locations should be easy accessible and free. It can’t be seen as a hassle but as an educating, and health benefit. Testing needs to be encouraged, and support. Influential people need to recommend it, and help spread awareness.

We can’t pretend like AIDS isn’t a problem and affecting millions of people world wide. We need to do everything we can to get the situation under control. We need to make sure people are educated with the facts, and are aware of how they can stay healthy, and safe. We need to make sure the education is available for all people not just those people that attend school. We need to make sure testing places are accessible and easy to get too. People must be encourage to take charge and attack AIDS before it attacks them

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