World AIDS Day

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WORLD AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.

World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Official data reveals the total number of people facing deadly disease (HIV) in the Jammu and Kashmir as on Aug 2018 is 4609. In Government Medical College Jammu (GMC) infected people alive on ART is 2246, while in SKIMS Srinagar, 256 patients are alive on ART.

When people first hear about their HIV status, they may feel shock, anger and numbness and they usually deny that they are effected by the disease. Feelings of guilt and shame are also present. People with HIV are usually stigmatized and face a lot of other problems like being looked down upon, shunned by the society as well as the family and friends. They receive little psychological and social support and are usually left to face the disease by themselves.

The positive diagnosis also has a negative effect on the marital relationship wherein, the spouse usually leaves the relationship. The stigma attached with HIV usually arises from fear and lack of information about how HIV spreads and whether or not it can be controlled. This stigma leads to people facing a lot of mental health problems like depression as well as self-induced isolation leading to disrupted social relationships, thus people may not engage in any activities with people from their families, friends and society. People also have lowered self-esteem and view themselves in a negative light. There may be denial and people may also further engage in disruptive behavior. This effects the quality of life of the people, thereby letting the disease progress. Physical abuse and denial for treatment at hospitals are other issues faced by people.

Umar Shafiq Khanday

[email protected]

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