4 November 2007

The Hardest Part

Did you watch Stephen Fry's programme called "HIV and Me?". No? Oh well. It really was a great programme.

Fry made this programme as an aim to reduce the stigma (prejudice) and increase the education about how to be safe with this whole HIV/AIDS thing.

An important note - before watching this programme, I did not actually know what HIV/AIDS actually was. All I knew was that it was "bad" and that anyone who had it is "bad" themselves. But what is even more important is that after seeing this, I have no more stigma, in fact, I feel desperately sorry for anyone with this condition - and any other condition it that.

Here are the most important facts you must know - these are all on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS
  • HIV is the infection itself, which leads to the AIDS condition. It takes 9-10 years to fully develop, but will take only 9 months to kill you.
  • HIV is spread via blood (touch and blood transfusion), through a mother to her baby, sexual/bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid and pre-ejaculate fluid (through anal, vaginal and oral sex in that order), breast milk and through shared needles. HIV has never been found in saliva, tears or urine, and is very, very unlikely to get there if you come in contact with it.
  • AIDS causes damage to the immune system, making you much more vulnerable to other viruses such as TB (tuberculosis) and Pneumonia. It kills off your white blood cells very quickly and this causes many other problems.
  • The best way to prevent infection is by using a condom (and as everyone knows, this also prevents other STI's and of course, pregnancy!!!!)
  • There is no cure, and treatment of AIDS still leaves you with a massive intake of pills and HIV symptoms.
  • Not everyone can get free condoms or medical support for HIV, because of lack of money (particularly in Africa) or because religion does not accept sex before marriage as "right".
  • Anyone can get HIV. It spreads just as well through straight people as well as gay/lesbian people. It is not rooted to just one type of sex.
What is so important in today's world is that everyone should be taught all of this and learn not to rely on stigma. I'm 17 now and in the last few months I've learned so much about life than I ever have done. Just through experience. And reading and watching. And listening. All I hope for in the future is that everyone can learn this, and that stigma can be killed, and education about this should be compulsory. I watched "HIV and Me" because there was nothing else on, and I missed the first of two episodes anyway. But then I actively thought about it again and it and changed my prejudices, and I did a little research about it.

What I want is for everyone to see this. But that is the problem, you see? Trying to get every new generation to learn this is hard work!!!

And just in case you didn't know, Stephen Fry is an intellectual genius and is homosexual, but does not have HIV/AIDS. But the programme showed some of his close friends who were positive and how they passed away.

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Luca Macis wrote:
I did like this blog Rob. Some very interesting info and im sorry i missed the programme to be honest
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