Shockingly 3.3 million youth in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV/AIDS according to Luo UNICEF, AIDS (2012). Sadly most of these youth contracted HIV from their parents, from having unprotected sex, and trough blood transfusion processes. Most of the countries in Sub-Samarian Africa have adopted a multi-sectoral response to HIV which is comprehensive in nature. An example of such a comprehensive strategy is the A, B, C, D, E, F, G and M approach which I’ve explained in detail below:
A: Abstaining from sexual activities. By definition abstinence is making a personal conviction not to have sex. They are four major forms of Abstinence which are primary abstinence, celibacy, secondary abstinence and temporary abstinence. Primary Abstinence means to have sexual intercourse at all, Celibacy is a personal conviction not to have sex at all for the entire life for various for example religious, traditional and cultural, Secondary Abstinence is when one has indulged in sexual intercourse but decides to stop and waits until death. Temporary or periodic abstinence is a conscious decision made not to have sex over a period of time for a variety of reasons for example when partner is away, working trip, educational vacation, post natal or post delivery or when healing from a break up.
B: Being faithful to one faithful partner, please not that I have highlighted the word faithful to stress the fact that one can be faithful to someone who will be not faithful to them thus endangering oneself in the process. Faithfulness is important because if the partners are faithful to one another they will be no room for HIV infection.
C: Correct and consistent use of condoms, most people contract HIV because they use condoms wrongly which can cause the condom to burst during intercourse, Condom use is also affected negatively by issues related to condom storage, most people keep condoms in areas with high temperatures, even in back pockets were they are squeezed thus the condom will not be effective. On consistence, in long term relationships people tend to trust their partners and stop using condoms with time as the relationship develops.
D: Delaying onset of sexual activity, indulgence in sex at an early age is another risky behaviour that increases the spread of HIV/AIDS. Early sexual initiation leads to subsequent sexual behaviour. Women who become sexually active at an early age are more likely to have sex with more men who will be at least 10 years older than them than those who start having sex at later age. Since these men are in the range of the most infected men with HIV, the women will be at a higher risk of being infected with HIV as there is inconsistent condom use in these relationships due to socio-economic reasons.
E: Early treatment of Sexually transmitted infections, if one is suspecting that he or she has an STI it is advisable for the person to refrain from engaging in an sexual intercourse because the chances of transmitting HIV are increased when they is direct contact of body fluids like blood. When one has an STI like genital Ulcers it simply means the skin on the sexual organs will be so delicate and can bleed during the sexual intercourse meaning HIV can be transmitted in the act.
F: Free and frank discussion about Sexual reproductive health, HIV and AIDS issues. It is very important for people in love to discuss their sexuality issues freely and frankly, telling each other how they want to be treated when making love so that they will be satisfaction of both partners when they make love. This means that both partners will be content and satisfied with the sexual experiences from their beloved partners and will not be tempted to go and seek greener pastures outside the relationship.
G: Getting tested early, before engaging in any sexual activity partners are encouraged to get tested early so that they know where they stand. This means that the partners will make informed decisions which will make the sexual intercourse safe. For example if one is tested positive it will be up to the couple to decide whether they will make love or not, if they are will choose to have sexual intercourse then they would have to use protection correctly and consistently so as not to infect each other.
M: Medical Male Circumcision, Medical male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by approximately 60%. Since 2007, WHO and UNAIDS have recommended voluntary medical male circumcision as an additional important strategy for HIV prevention, particularly in settings with high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision, where the public health benefits will be maximized. Fourteen countries in eastern and southern Africa with this profile have initiated programmes to expand male circumcision. Medical male circumcision offers excellent value for money in such settings. It saves costs by averting new HIV infections and reducing the number of people needing HIV treatment and care. A one-time intervention, medical male circumcision provides men life-long partial protection against HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections. It should always be considered as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package of services and be used in conjunction with other methods of prevention, such as female and male condoms.
In conclusion for nations to reach to the 3 Zeros, that is Zero HIV related deaths, Zero Stigma and discrimination and Zero new HIV infection they have to adopt the comprehensive prevention strategy stated above and also make use of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis and post exposure prophylaxis and adopt various behavioral changes approach which prevent people from contracting HIV.
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