HIV can be traced back as far back as the 18th century. It came from a type of chimpanzee in central Africa. This is called the Simian immunodeficiency virus. It is thought that the people might have caught the virus from the tools used in hunting the chimpanzees.
Gradually this deadly virus has crept into other African countries including Nigeria and even other nations in the world.
Which State has the highest HIV Rate in Nigeria?
As of May 2022, Akwa Ibom was the state with the highest HIV rate with a prevalence of 5.5%, closely followed by Benue state at 4.9%, next on the list is rivers state at 3.8% with Anambra at number 5 with a prevalence of 2.4%. The state with the lowest HIV rate is Jigawa and Katsina both at 0.3%.
Human Immunodeficiency syndrome popularly known as HIV is a sexually transmitted disease that attacks the immune system. The human immune system is responsible for protecting the body from attacks of sickness and disease. By breaking down the immune system HIV makes it possible for the carrier to be prone to falling ill.
Ways HIV can be transferred among people
Through blood transfusion: if the blood of a donor is not properly tested for HIV he/she can transfer the virus to the receiver.
Through injury from sharp objects: if a carrier of HIV is cut by a sharp object you can contract it if you get injured by the same object
Unprotected sex: this is the most common method of transfer for HIV. Having unprotected sex with a carrier exposes you to the virus.
From mother to child: if a pregnant woman has HIV and it’s not detected on time there’s a high chance of it being transferred to the unborn child.
Contrary to what some people think, you cannot get HIV from sharing cups, plates, clothes, and other blunt objects. And also you cannot get it from mosquito bites, if that were true then the whole Nigerian population will probably be affected with HIV since almost everyone has at one point or another been bitten by a mosquito.
During the first stage of HIV people experience flu-like symptoms such as Colds, loss of appetite, weight loss, stooling, etc. All these symptoms go away on their own after some time. After this patients experience a period of no symptoms this is known as the latent stage. During this period you’ll enjoy maximum health and feel normal. The final stage of HIV is known as AIDS “Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome”. At this stage the virus has weakened the white blood cells responsible for fighting against diseases, this in turn will make the body susceptible to attacks that the body can prevent normally. Doctors have been unable to find a cure for AIDS
Ways of preventing HIV
Avoid sharing sharp objects, if possible get your clippers for your hair when you go to a barbing saloon, or ensure that the clippers are properly sterilized before it is used on you. Doctors should sterilize stencils and other equipment after each use.
Avoid having unprotected sex: in this current generation, it is very difficult to abstain from sex. If you must engage in sex use a condom, but if you want to go for unprotected sex ensure that you and your partner are properly tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections
Abstinence from sex: is the only way you can ensure you are not infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Proper testing of blood: Before every blood transfusion, donors should be tested for HIV and any other foreign bodies in the bloodstream.
Pregnant women should be tested for HIV in other to make provisions for the unborn child if the mother is found to be a carrier.
HIV is not a death sentence, many people are living with HIV today and will probably live to old age or die of natural symptoms. Doctors have been able to produce many drugs to help manage HIV and help patients live their lives as normally as possible.
Know your HIV status today and also practice safe sex.