World Aids Day that happens on December 1st every year is an opportunity for people living around the globe to unite together and fight against HIV, to support people living with HIV and to remember those who have died due to AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, this was the first ever global health day.
The theme for 2017 is ‘Right to Health’ and aims to ensure better care of all the 37.4 million people living with HIV and those who are at risk of being affected by the epidemic. In 2016 alone, more than 1 million people died from HIV-related infections. Any individual living in this world, regardless of being rich or poor, tall or short, thin or fat, has a right to health which is also dependent on external factors such as sanitation, housing, availability of nutritious foods, healthy working conditions and access to justice.
A Brief Insight into the Deadliest Virus
The immune system is gravely affected in people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as this virus mainly targets on a person's immunity. The virus destroys or impairs the immune cells and the infected person becomes immunodeficient. Such an immunodeficiency can lead to different infections, cancers and many other diseases (which serve as symptoms of the virus too!) that are easily evaded by people with a healthy immune system.
The few months after acquiring the virus are the most critical ones as the virus tends to be most infectious then. The individuals either experience no symptoms in the first weeks after infection or may experience symptoms such as fever, headache, rash or sore throat. As the infection progresses, other symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea, cough, tuberculosis and cancers are common.
HIV is transmitted via body fluids such as breastmilk, vaginal secretions, semen and blood. It is never transmitted through ordinary contact such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands or sharing personal objects (food & water).
Prevention of HIV infection is possible by limiting exposure to risk factors. Key prevention strategies include:
Healthy foods that can boost immunity can be consumed by HIV-affected individuals to feel better. To get a complete list of foods that help promote immunity, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.