With nearly 37 million people living with human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, according to the World Health Organisation, AIDS is one of the major health challenges looming over the world. If reports are to be believed, there are about 2.6 million people who are newly infected per year.
By destroying CD4 (T-cell) lymphocytes, it weakens the body’s immune defenses and the body becomes more vulnerable to different infections also called “opportunistic” as they invade the body once the immune defenses are weak. CD4 cells are the white blood cells that guard the body against attacks by bacteria, viruses and other harmful germs.
HIV virus can be transmitted through
- Sex (anal, vaginal and oral) with an infected person
- Contaminated blood (by sharing a contaminated needle)
- Artificial insemination with infected semen
- Organ transplant taken from an HIV-infected donor
The range of symptoms and illnesses that occur when HIV infection severely weakens the body’s immune defenses, continues to dramatically affect the lives of many – physiologically and psychologically. Unfortunately, HIV infection is a lifelong illness with no known cure. However, there are several medical interventions across the different parts of globe constantly working to find the optimal cure for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Interestingly, the survival of infected people has improved dramatically in developed countries by opting the right medications and healthy lifestyle choices.
Aiming at zero new infections and AIDS-related deaths, an awareness programme is must-have to create the public awareness about the disease. Sensing the importance of such programmes, Department of Microbiology, School of Medical Sciences and Research (SMSR) conducted an awareness programme for patients & visitors to Sharda Hospital and commemorated the “World AIDS Day” with a pledge to join the fight against HIV infections.
The theme of World AIDS Day 2016 was ‘Hands up for HIV prevention’.
Keeping the theme in the foreground, the talented MBBS students of 3rd Semester along with their peers pinned the RED RIBBON (the universal symbol of awareness and support for HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS) when presented an educational skit on AIDS that created awareness among the patients and visitors of Sharda Hospital. Also, a poster making competition on the subject “HIV and AIDS” was organized and the competition received an overwhelming response from the students who actively participated in poster making. A panel of experts judged the best poster works and the first three best entries were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation and the prize.
The day ended on a very high note with all the major objectives achieved by School of Medical Sciences and Research. Through this awareness programme, SMSR was able to fetch together the new research findings on AIDS along with new scientific breakthroughs and community collaborations from around the world. Also, the spokesperson appealed all sections of the society to take an oath on zero discrimination and not to ill-treat the HIV-affected persons.
All in all, the awareness programme on “Hands up for HIV prevention” by the students of School of Medical Sciences and Research, was a big success.