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HIV Doesn't Change You

Take control of your life. GET TESTED.

HIV is a viral illness which affects the immune system, thus rendering it ineffective in protecting the body from illnesses that it could otherwise fight off and prevent illnesses. All persons who are considered to be at risk are prone to contracting this illness. It crosses all social barriers; hence it does not matter to which social class one belongs. It's relatively safe to say that we are all at risk.

Knowledge is power. It enables a person to act positively. Knowing your HIV status is a necessary precursor to positive action. This knowledge allows for plans to be put in place as to how the person's life is to be structured or directed. Considering that there are many persons worldwide who are not aware that they are in fact already infected, it behoves us well to be prepared for that eventuality.

In keeping with this year's theme "HIV does not change who you are", the importance of knowing your status in order to take necessary steps cannot be overemphasized. The fact is that a diagnosis of HIV does not change the person but that it can impact that person's life in either a positive or negative way. Knowledge of how to adjust to this illness, as one would have had to adjust to any other chronic disease could lead to a positive outcome. That outcome would be based on actions taken post diagnosis.

The fact that it is not the person who changes but his/her circumstances, seem to dictate the importance of persons seeking the necessary education so that they know what is available and what they should do in the event that they are ever diagnosed with the illness to access help.

Previously, when persons were tested positive for HIV, their first thought would be that they were going to die. This picture has changed dramatically. Through research, care givers can now view HIV as any other chronic illness and to manage it as such. Research has also allowed for different treatment modalities, including strict adherence to antiretroviral drugs and proper nutrition. This intervention has seen HIV infected persons enjoying healthy, long lives. They are able to continue in their different spheres of employment thus allowing them financial independence.

In the Cayman Islands, provision is made for the treatment of all of its residents. The entire treatment process is conducted under one umbrella at Health Services Authority. Take control of your life. GET TESTED.

National Testing Day will be on Monday, June 28, 2010. The public is encouraged to visit all HSA District Health Centres, as well as Faith Hospital, Little Cayman and General Practice from 9am -1pm for free testing.