How can it be prevented?

a) Blood Products

AIDS can be transmitted if we come into contact with infected blood. Drug addicts who share needles often become infected in this way. Haemophiliacs who have received blood products from untested blood in the past have also contracted AIDS and many have died.

Blood products in this country are now very much safer with detailed questionnaires being given to potential donors and all blood is screened for the virus. Because of the AIDS problem in Uganda their blood transfusion service has rapidly developed AIDS testing and they often take blood from young people in the 12 to 15 age group because this group is much less likely to be infected with HIV.

b) Sex

Having sex with a person who is infected with the HIV virus is another common method of acquiring the disease. Barrier methods of contraception however, such as the condom and the femidom can be used to prevent the contact of body fluids between partners which will greatly reduce the risk of catching the disease.

Barrier methods of contraception will give some protection against acquiring HIV but the only way of being sure not to catch the disease is to both remain faithful to one partner for life or to abstain from sexual intercourse.

Programme ideas

1. Produce your own play, poem or story to educate young people about the risk of catching AIDS and perform it at a suitable event. (Why not perform it at the next District or County event?)

2. Invite somebody from the Family Planning Clinic or an AIDS charity such as the Terence Higgins Trust to come and give the Unit a talk on AIDS awareness and prevention. Ask them if they can provide videos on AIDS to act as discussion starters.

3. Hold a discussion on how different cultural and religious beliefs affect peoples attitude to sex and contraception. Discuss how wider adoption of these beliefs would affect the rate of infection of HIV.

4. Invite someone with AIDS or HIV to come and talk to the Unit about their feelings and society's reaction to them. They may also be prepared to talk about how they perceive themselves as regards to having the disease.

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