• Amanda Mooij

World AIDS day

December 1st marks the world day for AIDS. When I was in school this disease was super fascinating to me. I actually had attended a lot of lectures by the Canadian envoy of AIDS in Africa: Stephen Lewis. I also have his Massey lectures as well…

I was a little bit of a fan.

But I still maintain the same questions, Is AIDS in Africa the same virus that affects us here in North America? Why do people seem to have such different experiences and symptoms and life expectancies depending on the continent you are on?

Anyway…. So my university days were at the beginning of this century (talk about feeling old y’all) around 2005 and 2006 and AIDS was at an all time epidemic portion, and there was this new course of treatment, called anti retroviral medications. There was so many things started from clinics to hospices all based on the treatment of AIDS and so much research time and medications and trials. It was a really exciting time in medicine, viruses were all the rage, and learning about them was fascinating, how they affected humans, not so cool.

But before I get lost in reminiscing and miss my point

what is AIDS?

It is acquired immune deficiency syndrome. And one cannot talk about AIDS without the mention of HIV which is human immunodeficiency virus. The government of Canada states

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. While HIV is a manageable chronic condition, if left untreated, it can cause a weakened immune system or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/hiv-aids.html

For signs and symptoms I encourage you to visit the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/hiv-aids.html#a1

So please let us rest a moment and reflect and feel for those who are living with this disease. It is livable but there is so much that can happen to a person without an immune system. Unfortunately, this disease does just that steals the immune system from a person. And it is fatal in the end. That is even worse!

I was trying to think back to the last time I had heard about AIDS either in Canada or in Africa, and my friend I am hard pressed to remember. Sad, really. But now I have a mission to look for information.

So stay safe, if you did not know how AIDS and HIV are spread, it is by contact with body fluids, it is a sexually transmitted, or any way when people exchange bodily fluids, especially blood.

Because of Anti Retro Viral medication it is now a disease that is under control. This is fantastic news!

But I still enjoy hearing my Massey lectures! I think this just might have been a win!

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