The Holiday in December We Shouldn’t Ignore
Several ideas came to mind when I was thinking of a topic to write about for the month of December. Sure, there are your common themes of Holiday Fire Safety Tips, Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) and National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, but there was one national holiday that I wanted to highlight most: World AIDS Day.
On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, I went site seeing in an uncharted territory and decided to see a play without knowing the name or the storyline.
It did not matter what the play was about because I knew that the renowned directors, Terrence McNally and Jane Unger, were helming the show. I quickly learned that I was seeing, “Mothers and Daughters,” which was about a mother who had a son that fell victim to the AIDS epidemic.
I was very naïve to the subject, but I came out of that room more educated and aware than I’d ever been. I wanted to write about this heavy topic in which some people still have a truculent spirit around and how a Smart911 Safety Profile can help AIDS patients and first responders alike.
According to the Voices of Youth, here are the 10 things you should know about AIDS:
- AIDS is caused by HIV.
- The onset of AIDS can take up to ten years.
- HIV is transmitted through HIV-infected bodily fluids.
- HIV is most frequently transmitted sexually.
- People who have Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are at greater risk of being infected with HIV.
- The risk of sexual transmission of HIV can be reduced.
- People who inject themselves with drugs are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV.
- Contact a health worker or an HIV/AIDS center to receive counselling and testing.
- HIV is not transmitted by everyday contact.
- Everyone deserves compassion and support.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is the cause of AIDS. It is danger to individuals living with it because it weakens a person’s immune system. HIV destroys important cells the body uses to fight infections and diseases. Currently more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV and 1 in 8 of them are completely unaware of it, which puts them at risk of unknowingly sharing it with others. It is important to take the right precautions when living with HIV like open communication with life partners and medical workers to reduce risk of those around contracting it.
The CDC recently published a report, which stated that there was a 19% decrease of HIV/AIDS in America from 2005 to 2014, which could be attributed to the awareness campaigns and work to treat and prevent. It is important to not only be aware of HIV/AIDS, but also of the potential complications that can arise in an emergency for those living with the disease. HIV/AIDS patients take a lot of medication such as Dronabinol, which is an appetite stimulant to prevent them from wasting away. These individuals are often required to take an extensive amount of medications and some cannot interact with other drugs such as acetaminophen which is found in your common Tylenol.
So how does this relate to Smart911? Smart911 is a national database in which individuals can add vital information, such as current medications and location in the home, allergies, emergency contacts and anything a first responder might want to know to www.smart911.com. In the Smart911 Safety Profile, a person can enter that they are living with HIV/AIDS and what medicines they take.
In the unfortunate event of an emergency, that information would display on the 9-1-1 call taking screen to help 9-1-1 and first responders respond faster and more efficiently. Smart911 also benefits first responders because they can follow their standard operating procedure with AIDS patients such as use of additional protection including latex gloves.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public that HIV has not gone away and we can still support those living with HIV/AIDS every day.