Ideas on Eradicating AIDS

Education and Prevention Initiatives which are culturally specific and sensitive are the best chance of controlling the spread of HIV and ultimately eradicating HIV and AIDS.

Sexual transmission, whether it is heterosexual or homosexual, remains the #1 route of transmission worldwide. The blood supply is now extremely safe, due to careful screening of donors and donated blood. Hospital workers and other medical and rescue personnel who may have contact with blood or body fluids are very well trained on the proper precautions to take in order to prevent transmission of blood-borne infections. IV drug users have access to clean needles and works in many areas of the world, and there have been campaigns to educate them on the dangers of sharing needles and how to clean the needles after use.

HIV prevention efforts have failed miserably in the developed parts of the world such as the United States, as evidenced by continued new infections being diagnosed every day; even people who are well-educated on the risks of unprotected sex (including people working in the HIV field) and those who have unlimited access to free condoms are not using them consistently and are becoming infected with the virus. Given these facts, how can we expect to eradicate this disease in areas of the world where the people are poverty-stricken, uneducated, and do not have access to quality medical care or health education programs?

This makes me think that education regarding safer sexual strategies needs to be changed and improved. In most cases, it is not that people are not educated and do not understand the principles of safe sex; for some reason, people tend to make poor choices in the heat of the moment. Humans also tend to have the mindset of “it won’t happen to me”… Maybe cognitive-behavioural specialists need to be involved in the education and prevention efforts; these specialists are able to understand and analyze the behaviour of human beings in a more abstract way.

The HIV transmission rates in the developing areas of the world are astounding. In addition to education and prevention efforts, these areas need access to condoms, medical care, HIV testing, and HIV treatment. Much is being done in all of these areas, and much remains to be done. This pandemic is here to stay for a while, and the responsibility lies with each one of us to educate ourselves and others as much as possible and to be compassionate to those who are affected.