The Bahamas Aids foundation hosted the Candlelight Vigil 2023 on Thursday,30th November 2023 at the ministry of health & Wellness courtyard meeting street at 6:00pm.
The candlelight vigil was in partnership with Bahamas national aids programme, ministry of health and wellness and the HIV resource committee.
The initiative was taken to honour the fallen soldiers along with those who dedicated their lives to helping people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS
Lighting candles is used as an opportunity for solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
December 1 is recognised as World Aids Day annually since 1988. World aids day is a global initiative to bring awareness among people and commemorate those who have lost their lives and suffered badly from the disease.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus which is a retrovirus and infects the cells of the human immune system, destroys or impairs their functions.
AIDS stands for Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV transmitted through :
- Sexual transmission
- Transmission through sharing of needles and syringes
- Mother-Child transmission
- Transmission through Blood Transfusion
The differences between HIV and AIDS is:
- HIV weakens the immune system, making the body Vulnerable to infections.
- Treatment can make HIV Viral load undetectable, preventing transmission to partners or babies.
- AIDS is the advance stage of HIV Infection
- Treatment for Aids is available, but the average life span for those diagnosed is typically around 3 years.
- HIV and AIDS spread through certain body Fluids like blood,breast milk vaginal fluids and mainly through unprotected sex.
A major concern is that people do not get tested and may not be aware that they are affected with HIV/AIDS therefore spreading it to others.
According to UNFPA Caribbean, the highest rate of reported AIDS cases come from the Caribbean. About 350,000 to 590,000 people living in the Caribbean are affected with HIV/AIDS. The HIV prevalence rate for adults in Caribbean ranges between 1.9% and 3.1% after Africa that has a prevalence rate between 7.5% and 8.5%.
Ways to reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV:
- Using male and female protections during intercourse
- Testing regularly for HIV
- Using HIV prevention drugs if you have ongoing risk of HIV.
- Using sterile injection equipment for people who inject drug.