The HIV crisis is very real. There has been a phenomenon known as HIV/AIDS denialism that is so rampant that it even has its own Wikipedia page here. However, facts do not lie, and we do see a prevalent spread in the disease across multiple countries, especially in developing countries. Now, Japan is pushing back against the virus, and seeking to sponsor free checks to encourage early detection and treatment of the condition.
Japan planning to offer free HIV checks to encourage early detection and treatment in annual company health screenings
The health ministry in Japan is considering offering free HIV testing as an option during companies’ annual health checks according to The Japan Times. However, there are some critics who have voiced out the fact that Japan as a country is highly conservative, and the effectiveness of this push might not be very successful.
A ministry official announced this Monday that the program will start on a trial basis from next year, targeting cities with a relatively higher rate of HIV infection such as Tokyo. The test will not be compulsory. Results will also be directly sent to patients. 28 million Yen is requested for the purpose of funding this program.
HIV tests are offered by public health centers for free in Japan, but typically only available during weekdays. However, testing rates have fallen. The ministry is hoping to make the testing more accessible so that undetected sufferers of HIV can seek help early and potentially live a longer and more fulfilling life. Since 2008, the country has seen a steady increase in new HIV infections.
Close to 80% of the people who contract HIV in 2016 became infected through homosexual sex
In 2016, approximately 1,011 people became infected with HIV. However, a shocking 73% contracted the condition through homosexual sex, and a much smaller 17% contracted the condition through heterosexual intercourse. This phenomenon is not isolated to Japan, and we see a much higher percentage of contagion among people who lean towards the same gender. More education is required, as the threat of the disease is very real. The discouraging fact was that more than 40% of the newly infected developed AIDS in the same year, cutting short their meaningful lifespan as early treatment with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) might not have been possible for hidden cases.
The way forward to encourage a truly compassionate society and true cures
There is a need for greater acceptance for people dealing with chronic conditions and incurable diseases. Unfortunately, the stigma is real and that prevents many people from getting the help they need. That is wrong. A person only has one life in this world, and it should be our calling to help all who are affected and are suffering from the pain and loneliness of dealing with these diseases and condition. Let the stigma end today, and move towards a true cure for the world.