AIDS…. Silence Should be Broken & Consequences Should be Spoken Out [Archives:2001/39/Health]

September 24 2001

Ismaeel Al-Gabery
Yemen Times
AIDS is the last phase of infection of HIV. The word AIDS is an abbreviation of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV is the virus causing AIDS, the ever dangerous disease. If such a virus enters the body it starts destroying the immune system gradually. Consequently, an infected person won’t be able to resist any bacteria or virus that may affect his body. The most common places of HIV infection can be found in Africa. An annual report is being issued pertaining to this issue emphasizing the hazards of this disease and ways of protection. The virus is transferred through the sexual intercourse in all its forms, through blood transfer, surgical instruments, toothbrush, etc. Also those also who take narcotics and drugs are exposed to AIDS. In Yemen the flow of refugees has become manifold. What adds fuel to the flame is that our country has received a huge number of refugees to its territories without conducting medical examinations. As a matter of fact these people contact with the Yemeni people in different neighborhoods in Yemeni cities in general and in the capital, Sana’a in particular, and work in different institutions and houses without even giving the health investigations an order to prove that they are free from infected diseases such as AIDS. People in Yemen should know what steps must be taken to address the virus and come up with a comprehensive program that can be supported from both the national authorities as well as the international community. As Yemenis, we have to cooperate with concerned bodies in order to take the following steps to get rid of this fatal disease, or at least to take part in overcoming the disease through:
Making sure of the health investigations for tourists and outsiders.
Disseminating public awareness has become very crucial now to hinder the potential explosion of the disease. People in Yemen are lacking knowledge about modes of transmitting the disease. Most of them still believe that living or shaking hands with the infected people will transmit the virus to them. They hold the opinion that infected people should be isolated or even killed. Physicians themselves refuse to treat these people with the exception of a select few. Public awareness is of a pivotal role now. It lets people know that there is no reason to isolate or ignore these people; they can be treated like other ill people. They need respect and compassion.
Conducting nationwide surveys in order to know the origin of the disease
Getting rid of all kinds of addiction.
Strengthening the capacity of health education among school teachers in order to equip students with knowledge on how people should be hygiene conscious, how people can become infected with diseases including hepatitis, HIV/AIDS
The Yemeni political leadership has to break the silence and speak out the problem instead of dealing with it as a national secretive security issue that should not be discussed in a transparent manner. This will help reveal the magnitude of the virus so as a national policy is made to control the disease.