By Segun Awolaran:
Since the detection of the first case in 1978, a lot has been done to disarm the scourge of HIV/AIDS. In my country, we say that a dead body that has been in the grave for three days is no more a stranger to the graveyard. The HIV/AIDS pandemic that has been around for the past 34 years should no longer be a stranger to us and we should not be a stranger to it. The danger that we may face is that of familiarity which brings contempt.
As the world commemorates another AIDS day, there is the need to stress the personal responsibility of every world citizen in getting to Zero, the theme for the World AIDS day from 2011-2015. The theme says ‘getting to Zero: getting to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. Unlike the early 1980s where people were presenting to the hospitals various symptoms that doctors were not familiar with, we now know the symptoms of HIV/AIDS as well as the modes of transmission from one person to the other. Armed with this information we should be getting to zero.
As world leaders are striving to achieve this, scientists ranging from medical scientist to social scientist, doing their best to getting to zero, their efforts will not yield much if individual citizens of the world do not see themselves as responsible for at least their own health. Personal responsibility in this sense is the determination by each one of us to do what is needed to get to zero. I will however start by making a commitment to the following and I hope that others who will read this will also do the same.
Personal Responsibility in Ensuring Zero New HIV Infections:
I am making a personal commitment not to get infected with HIV. I have the knowledge of the modes of transmission on my side and hence I should take my health and existence with more seriousness. I will, as an individual make a commitment to avoid unprotected sex either by abstinence or by the consistent and correct use of condoms and I will not share any sharp object nor receive or give unscreened blood or blood product. I will also observe every universal precaution needed. I will commit to a large extent reducing the chances of any more new cases as much as lie within my reach.
I will not discriminate against any one on the ground of their HIV status and will not permit anyone in my circle of influence to do the same. I will help promote the adequate knowledge of infection in an attempt to stop discrimination.
Zero AIDS related deaths:
I am not HIV positive, but I hope everyone who is, will also be committed to taking the required treatments so as not to die untimely. I hope every caregiver will pay the utmost attention to details and to give all it takes to ensure that every client gets the needed attention and help when due.
These we can all do, if we are committed to them. Getting to zero is a matter of personal responsibility.
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