As humans, we are prone to various types of diseases that existed surrounding us and we may be one of the infected whether we know it or not. Most of these diseases were transmitted in the form of viruses and evolved into the name we are familiar with today; Influenza, HIV, HPV, Hepatitis, Polio and so on. Many viruses cause no harm or disease due to our immune system. However, those that are harmful may target and attack a certain cell in our body, multiply within them, and spread to other parts of our body. That is why the human body is equipped with white blood cells and the immune system to fight against the infections, but only if they operate effectively. Humans have been known to consume harmful substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and having an uncontrolled diet that may result in the less effectiveness of our body immune system.
In conjunction with the International World AIDS Day this 1st of December, we would like to spread awareness relating to this matter and encourage the public to regularly check your HIV status before it is too late. This is due to the window period of the HIV infection that refers to the period the body takes to produce measurable amounts of antibodies after infection. For HIV, this period takes usually from 2 until 12 weeks. This means that if an HIV antibody test is taken during the ‘window’ period, it will be negative since the blood test is looking for antibodies that have not yet developed. During this window period, a person is already HIV-infected and can transmit HIV to others. People taking the test are advised, if the result is negative, to return for a re-test in three months, by which time had the person been infected, the antibodies are almost certain to have developed.
HIV, as it stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a type of virus that attacks and infects our immune system, making it less effective day by day. Unlike any other viruses, it is too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope and in order to reproduce, HIV must enter a person’s immune system. By interfering with the cells that protect us against infection, HIV leaves the body poorly protected against the particular types of diseases that these cells normally fight. This leads to the incurable disease that is known today as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). A person will have AIDS when HIV has done enough damage to the immune system that eventually will allow infections and cancers to develop. These infections and cancers make the person ill and lead to death. However, a good and a healthy lifestyle in combination with consumption of antiviral drugs and therapy enables a person with AIDS to survive and live up to ten years and much longer.
We are glad to be informed that a World’s AIDS Day 2018 celebration and awareness campaign will be held on a massive scale at Warehouse @ Kilang Bateri, Johor Bahru on the 2nd of December, 2018. A five kilometres Awareness Fun Run will mark the start of the event. This one-day event will also serve as the hub of health and centre for the public to take HIV test. It is important for the public to know their HIV status based on each individual’s lifestyle. Awareness and informative values on AIDS and HIV will be so much use if the public is informed about its symptoms and prevention steps.
Source: Unicef AIDS Club Manual, Ministry of Health Malaysia.