HIV/AIDS SCREENING HELD AT DANSOMAN
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially fatal condition caused by the. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV impairs the body’s ability to fight infection and disease by wreaking havoc on the immune system. Responsible institutions, organizations and NGO’s both external and internal have taken it upon themselves to eradicate this slow pace killer.
In view of this, the Ablekuma West Municipal Assembly organized a health screening at the Dansoman Market as a way to encourage the people of Dansoman to know their current status. The health screening was also used to educate and remind the people of the presence of the disease, the risks and the necessary measures that can be taken to protect one’s self and the various treatments available for Persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). The health screening was organized on 23rd June, 2023 at the forecourt of the Dansoman Market.
The health screening held commenced with an introduction of personnel present and a briefing on the agenda for the day. A concise education and sensitization were provided by one of the health workers to the people gathered on HIV\AIDS, describing the disease, spreading awareness on the treatments available and advising them against stigmatization. After the short briefing, the health screening commenced at 10am with the nurses carrying out HIV\AIDS test, malaria test, BP test and Sugar level tests. The health screening officially came to an end at 2pm.
During the screening the people were given an extensive and interactive education on HIV/AIDS by the municipal health officer in the person of madam Sheilla. She touched on the causes of HIV, its symptoms, how to prevent it and the treatments available for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). She added that the disease is spreading so fast and has no cure, thus the need for more awareness. She also stated that the disease is no respecter of persons; even unborn babies are at risk if the mother is affected.
The health officer further explained the points raised and how exactly these things expose one to HIV/AIDS. She indicated the virus does not survive in saliva but when there’s a cut in the mouth of the infected person with blood coming out. She added that the virus can also be transmitted through semen, vaginal fluids, unsterilized objects and blood that has not been properly screened. The highly prevalent way of getting infected is through sex which forms about 90% of the causal rate.
She again added that these symptoms however do not show on the outside thus there has to be further investigation through HIV testing before one can be diagnosed to have the disease. She educated them on how the various stages of testing are done at the health facility to diagnose an HIV positive patient. When a person is diagnosed, he/she is put on medication to suppress the viral load and boost the immune system together with routine check-up schedules and proper nutrition. The medicines are known as anti-retroviral drugs and are free as the costs have been absorbed by the government. She added that there is life after HIV/AIDS; however, the best option is prevention.
A total of 52 people were screened. The health officials will call and follow up on persons who tested positive; providing them with additional tests, counseling services and treatment. On a whole, the screening was successful since the people at the Dansoman market participated.
Participants were admonished to share the lessons learnt with their friends and families at home. The Municipal AIDS Committee is positive that the target groups for the health screening are a relevant force of change and will in the long run help to reduce the number of cases of HIV/AIDS cases recorded in the country.