A Study on the Social Issues of HIV-AIDS in Today’s Society.

Nimmy Thomas

B.Ed Student- Natural Science

Mount Carmel College of Teacher Education for Women- Kottayam

Abstract

HIV is a virus that enters your body and begins to destroy T cells. You need T cells
in order to fight infections. HIV spreads through bodily fluids that include: The first few weeks
after infection is called the acute infection stage. During this time the virus rapidly reproduces.
Your immune system responds by producing HIV antibodies. Many people experience temporary
flu-like symptoms during this stage. Even without symptoms, HIV is highly contagious during
this time. After the first month or so, HIV enters the clinical latency stage. This stage can last
from a few years to a few decades. Progression can be slowed with antiretroviral therapy. Some
people have symptoms. Many people do not, but it’s still contagious. As the virus progresses,
you’re left with fewer T cells. This makes you more susceptible to disease, infection, and
infection-related cancers.HIV is a lifetime condition with no cure. Medical care, including
antiretroviral therapy, can help manage HIV and prevent AIDS.

INTRODUCTION

“Every new infection starts with someone who is already infected. New infections occur because
infected persons do not take the necessary precautions or because of poorly organized protective
service. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is one of the most significant health and
social problems facing the world today .HIV diagnosis is a traumatic experience that
significantly changes a person’s life. In recent years a number of organizations have published
papers, monographs and policy documents highlighting ways in which using the criminal law to
address potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission might undermine HIV-prevention
efforts.“Newspapers have the power to provide concrete knowledge, to influence fears about
personal safety, to shape perceptions of who is considered a threat to public safety, and to
influence how people perceived to be a threat are treated.

THE IMPACT ON PEOPLE AT RISK OF ACQUIRING HIV

It has been asserted that using the criminal law to address
potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission produces conflicting messages regarding who is
responsible for HIV prevention. Responsibility, not all people aware they are living with HIV are
willing or able to disclose their HIV status every time they have sex that risks HIV exposure. If
people at risk fail to recognize this, and think instead that HIV-positive sexual partners should
and will always disclose their status, they may fail to take steps to reduce their risk of becoming
infected. Despite the fact that accurate up-to-date information about HIV is widely available in
the communities represented by the study population, most of the men who supported
prosecutions considered HIV to be invariably fatal. Having this erroneous belief, the researchers
noted, may lead to assumptions that people who look well, and do not disclose that they are HIV-
negative, are free from the virus. The investigators expressed concern that the aggregate impact
of criminal prosecutions is that it exacerbates misconceptions around responsibility for HIV
prevention, "particularly the perception that the law now provides negative and untested men
with added protection from HIV in sexual interactions."

CHALLENGES FACED BY PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS

The main challenges faced HIV/AIDS-related stigma and “othering” (blaming and stigmatizing
the “other” whereas the “other” is defined as someone with a different religion, ethnic group to
one’s own, and gay men) for the spread of HIV.

(i) Disclosure of HIV status to others.

(ii) Risky behaviors for HIV infection.

(iii) The importance of the socioeconomic context within which people with HIV live.

The problem that we are facing as a person living with this virus, there’s a stigma and a
discrimination, because people, if you say ‘I am HIV-positive’, they are going to chase you
away.” When it comes to our [people of mixed race], you know it’s funny, we have a different
mentality in a way, because when it comes to the HIV persons, we don’t want to get involved
too much, or associated with HIV/ AIDS, because there is a lot of stigma and ignorance.”

“The idea that HIV / AIDS is a punishment from God I think runs through all religions, and that
you’re being punished for leading a promiscuous life or immoral life or whatever, so that is also
a dominant theme in the Muslim community.”

THE BASIC FACTS ABOUT HIV-AIDS
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.

If left untreated, it can take around 10 to 15 years for AIDS to develop, which is when HIV has
severely damaged the immune system.

With early diagnosis and effective antiretroviral treatment, people with HIV can live a normal,
healthy life.

HIV is found in the following body fluids of an infected person: semen, blood, vaginal and anal
fluids and breast milk.

HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva or urine.

According to UK statistics, the most common way for someone to become infected with HIV is
by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.

SOCIAL EFFECTS OF HIV & AIDS

1. Disclosing HIV Status
Despite increased HIV/AIDS awareness and the limited ways it is contracted, social isolation
remains a reality for many with HIV.

2. Navigating Relationships
Some people mistakenly believe that HIV is spread through casual contact, or they make
erroneous assumptions and judgments about people with HIV.

3. International Travel Restrictions
For the more than 1 million living with HIV, the social effects of this diagnosis can be distressing
and disruptive. Infection with HIV can lead to AIDS, if left untreated.

THE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PUBLIC HEALTH
1. By overstating risks.

Prosecuting individuals for behavior that is very unlikely to expose someone to HIV,
when using condoms or when an individual is on successful ART with an undetectable viral load.
Extremely unlikely to expose someone to HIV (e.g., biting, oral sex); and impossible to expose
someone to HIV spitting, and throwing urine or farces may perpetuate popular misconceptions
about what puts people at risk, as well as compounding HIV-related stigma.

2. By creating a false sense that HIV is someone else’s problem.

Placing the responsibility for HIV prevention on the person aware they are living
with HIV contradicts the message of shared responsibility during consensual sex, where both
partners in a sexual relationship should take measures to reduce the risk of HIV
transmission/acquisition.

3. By providing further incentive for people to avoid learning their HIV status.

The prospect of facing stigma and discrimination contributes to some people’s
reluctance to get tested for HIV, and the possibility of criminal sanctions may function as an
additional disincentive.

PEOPLE WITH HIV FACE MORE PROBLEMS FROM LIVING
LONGER IN THE SOCIETY.
Ground-breaking new research has shown that as the average age of people living with HIV in
Britain rises they are facing huge financial and social problems related to their condition.

Today, someone diagnosed with HIV in their 30s can expect to live into their 70s, with proper
treatment.The investigation revealed that, while effective drug treatment can dramatically
lengthen the lifespan of HIV-positive individuals, it does age people far faster, throwing up
implications for the future care of patients – often gay men who are feeling socially isolated.

CONCLUSION
The global burden of HIV infection in the years to come will be borne overwhelmingly
by people in developing countries. Increasingly, inequalities of gender, race and wealth
will dictate the course of the pandemic, with infection rates increasing among the
vulnerable groups. Social and economic dependence will be the major determinants of
the future course of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. Input from social research field is urgently
needed for planning and evaluation of AIDS prevention programs. Social, behavioral and
legal research will improve understanding of the dynamics of the pandemic and its
impact. It will translate into public health and societal action for fostering understanding
of the intricate relationships between the individual, public health and societies. It will
also help in resolving some of the complex social and ethical issues.

REFERENCES

http://.hiv-aids.com

http:// hiv-aids socialissuse.com

http://hiv-aids impact in socity.com