The most important social interventions that would help prevent and manage HIV/AIDS is to remind everybody that the virus can be contacted through means other than unprotected sex. A lot of emphasis is being put on sex education (maybe not enough in Nigeria as there are still gaps in the Sex Education classes) and this is good as a lot of mental and physical damage can be incurred via sexual relations. Communicable diseases are being spread through unprotected sex and it remains one of the most common ways of contracting the HIV
However, it should be noted that the HIV is contacted when the virus gets into the bloodstream of an individual. A large number of people contract the disease when they come in contact with the blood of infected people. Local tattoos, branding, circumcision and even childbirth in remote areas without proper medical supervision contributes to the increase in people living with HIV. Hair salons, blood donation centers, or even things as mundane as playground injuries can make one prone to HIV infection.
Also, adequate sex education for everybody would help prevent the spread of HIV. The sex education has to go beyond the means of practicing safe sex but also the knowledge that every party involved in a sexual act has personal rights and wishes that should be respected. It was reported that 3.17% of young Nigerian adults were living with HIV in 2014. There are several information outlets on how to practice safe sex in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases but the spread of HIV is still prevalent and it is even worse in rural areas.
Condom negotiations; a conversation to exercise the right to use (or not use) a condom should be had before intercourse and should not be frowned upon. In some societies, especially in Africa, women are made to feel ashamed of their sexual urges and activities especially before marriage. This allows men to dictate most of how sexual experiences go and the women are encouraged to do anything to make the man happy or to hide the fact that they have sex. For instance, recently on social media (Nigerian Twitter), questions were posed to random users on how they request for condoms at the local store and a large number of people claimed to be “too shy to buy condoms”
Finally, the stigma attached to HIV needs to be reduced so that more people would be encouraged to get tested and request for help without feeling discriminated against. A lot of people refuse to get tested because even the desire to get tested for the virus raises some eyebrows in some African societies. People that already have the virus are sometimes ashamed of revealing their status to their sexual partners because of discrimination. Others would even refuse the treatments required to live a healthy life because of shame.
While we hope on medical innovations to finally provide a more permanent means to prevent against HIV infection. The medical researchers may even come up with something that would cure AIDS. Till then, we as humans must do our part to reduce the casualties that the virus claims yearly. These social interventions together with biomedical solutions must work hand in hand to help reduce the spread of communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS.