Yesterday, I was watching Crime Patrol and the episode showed how in an Indian village where people are ignorant, small kids belonging to a family where the father was infected by AIDS was shunned by the society. They were also disowned by their own relatives. This episode makes me think how little knowledge people have about AIDS. AIDS is one such disease, the cure of which is not known till date. There are various stigmas associated with it in our society. A country where having sex is a hush hush matter, having AIDS (which is popularly associated with having unprotected sex) is not well received. However, having unprotected sex is just one of the reasons for having AIDS.
AIDS, (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused due to the lack of immunity of the virus HIV in our body. If a person is infected with this virus, having sexual intercourse with such a person can cause AIDS. Besides, it is also caused by blood transfer from a person having AIDS to one not having AIDS. Apart from it, if a mother is infected, there are chances that the baby in the womb is infected. Infected needles can also cause this virus.
Since AIDS is a disease which can be transmitted from one person to another, there are also stigmas associated with it. People have many wrong information about this disease which is passed on from generation to generation. Many believe that hugging or touching or by sharing food with a man infected with AIDS can spread this disease to another person who is actually not infected. However, these are just stigmas associated with this disease. In reality, this is not true. Some of the common symptoms of AIDS are swollen lymph nodes, fever, sweating at night, weight loss and damaged immune system.
Since AIDS is not passed on by hugging or touching, there is no need to shun an AIDS victim. In fact, these patients go through a lot of emotional and mental trauma and they need the love and support from family, friends and their society. They need to be treated with love and care. Thankfully, the present generation is educated and not marred by superstitions. However, the situation in rural India is very different due to lack of education. The government must take steps to ensure that people infected with AIDS can live a life of dignity. After all, they too are human beings.