Thinking throughout HIV: changing a perspective

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Adrian Goss, a second-year medical student at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Poland. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Who would ever think that viruses can give us lessons in being humans?

Generally, when it comes to solving problems, most of us focus on their closest community. On occasion it happens nationally, and infrequently – globally.

Simple proof – almost a year ago the whole globe thought ‘this strange, new coronavirus is only a problem in China’ and just look where we end up. Time flies and we are still not smart enough to understand one simple fact – WE have problems. Living as a part of a cross-cultural world in which you can travel everywhere forces us to change the way of thinking.

In today’s world, every kind of solution must be global.

I live and study in Poland. Many of you can think that the country located in central Europe, a member of the EU, is a place where, in general, the level of sexual education is good. Nothing could be further from the truth, my parents (now people in their forties) have not received any kind of sexual education in school and even after the political system changed (1989), nothing really changed. My education (I am twenty-one years old) was only slightly better, but, fortunately, I am part of an era of different accessibility to information.

I couldn’t agree more – SRHR stops spreading HIV and saves lives by helping prevent infection, showing hazardous behaviors, giving basic knowledge about what the virus is and why it is dangerous, saying about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and ART or ARV treatment but…

Noble discussion if or how HIV could be prevented via usage of SRHR is upstanding but useless for now. Sexual education in counties other than highly developed is a myth. We do not have a sexually and reproductively aware community in many countries all around the world – you can ascertain about it by visiting WHO’s website (srhr.org). According to this fact, a lot of unaware people are unprotected and that means, potentially, they can become part of the HIV infected and HIV positive group.

Simplifying – in areas where SRHR is not even at a primary level – we have no chance of winning.

The base of SRHR is education. And SRHR is the most powerful tool for ending HIV. Awareness, good practices, avoiding hazardous behaviors comes from education. Only when someone understands the importance of the case within all mechanisms and answers the few questions – what is it? how does it work? why? What can I do to help?. After that, the individual can be part of a positive movement.

Thus, if we want real change, we must start with areas and communities where SRHR does not exist. Moreover, the case is not about a few groups living in specific territories. We must be going globally.

First and maybe the last step to the ultimate win is to spread the knowledge associated with SRHR globally in an accessible way. 

WE can only defend HIV according to the proper EDUACTION that builds SRHR and by using GLOBAL THINKING.

About the author

Adrian Goss is a second-year medical student at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Poland, president of the newly opened IFMSA-Poland Local Committee and vice-president of Faculty Student Council. During school years, he has had an affair with creative writing. Not only a future doctor but a human being who is interested in fashion, cinema, art, and travelling around the world on his own. He is also a strong believer of the positive globalization role in society development. On a personal level, he is really open-minded and thinks that we should be united and conquer every border between people to create a better world.

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