Kenya avoiding disease and infection

HIV/AIDS
AIDS and HIV infection occur worldwide. At the end of 2007, there were approximately 5.7 million people living with HIV in East Africa, and almost 1,000 AIDS deaths occurring every day. With statistics showing that almost one in five adults is infected, HIV is widespread in a sense that can be difficult to imagine for those living in less-affected countries. HIV is sometimes seen as being disease of the poor. In Africa there is some correlation between extreme poverty and high HIV prevalence, although HIV is prevalent across all sectors of society.

The Risks
Both men and women can become infected and can give the virus to someone else. HIV is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact with someone who is infected with HIV. Also, an HIV-infected woman can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy or during birth as well as through breastfeeding.

Rape plays a significant role in the high prevalence of HIV among women in South Africa. Although HIV prevention campaigns encourage people to use condoms and have fewer sexual partners, women and girls in Africa are often unable to negotiate safer sex.

Factors to consider in assessing risk include the extent of direct contact with blood or other potentially infectious secretions and the extent of sexual contact with potentially infected persons or with persons whose HIV infection status is unknown.

Many persons may be infected and be unaware of their status. Therefore, if you engage in sexual contact, you may be unknowingly at risk from an infected sex partner.

Assess and take ownership of your personal behaviours; do not choose high-risk behaviours,

HIV can NOT be spread in the following ways:

× Shaking hands, hugging, or casual kissing
× Coughs or sneezes, sweat or tears
× Mosquitoes, toilet seats, door knob, drinking fountain
× Eating food prepared or handled by an infected person
× Everyday contact with HIV-infected persons at school, work, home or anywhere else.

Precautions

  • Students should avoid use of unscreened blood-clotting factor concentrates or concentrates of uncertain purity. If transfusion is necessary, the blood should be tested, if possible, for HIV antibody by appropriately trained laboratory technicians using a reliable test.
  • Students with insulin-dependent diabetes, haemophilia, or other conditions that necessitate routine or frequent injections are advised to carry a supply of syringes, needles, and disinfectant swabs (e.g., alcohol wipes) sufficient to last their entire stay abroad. Before travelling, students must request documentation of the medical necessity for travelling with these items (e.g., a doctor’s letter) in case official inspection personnel at ports of departure/entry question their need.
  • Exercise caution at all times to avoid serious accidents or injuries that could require a blood transfusion.
  • Abstinence is the only certain choice for preventing infection with HIV
  • Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
  • All medical students working in high risk areas should wear appropriate equipment at all times, gloves, aprons and take the appropriate universal precautions at all times.
  • Should an incident occur in which you suspect you were exposed to HIV, you should immediately seek immediate medical assistance, do not delay as the first 72 hours are critical.
  • Even though a vaccine is not available to prevent infection with HIV, Adventure Alternative has PEP treatment and contacts with Doctors at medical clinics at all times.


PARASITIC INFECTION

The Risks
All freshwater in southern and sub-Saharan Africa–including the great lakes and rivers as well as smaller bodies of water–is considered to be at risk for schistosomiasis (a disease caused by parasitic worms’ transmission).
Infection occurs when skin comes in contact with contaminated freshwater in which certain types of snails that carry schistosomes are living.
Schistosoma parasites can penetrate the skin of persons who are wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated water. Within several weeks, worms grow inside the blood vessels of the body and produce eggs. Some of these eggs travel to the bladder or intestines and are passed into the urine or stool.
Occasionally, eggs may be deposited in the brain or spinal cord, leading to seizures or paralysis. More than 200 million people are infected worldwide.
If skin comes in contact with freshwater from canals, rivers, streams, or lakes, there is a risk of getting schistosomiasis.
No vaccine is available.
No drugs for preventing infection are available.
Untreated piped water coming directly from freshwater sources may contain cercariae larvae.

Precautions

  • Do not wade or swim in freshwater in Southern African countries.
  • Drink safe water. Because there is no way to make sure that water coming directly from canals, lakes, rivers, streams or springs is safe, you should either boil water for 1 minute or
  • filter water before drinking it. Boiling water for at least 1 minute will kill any harmful parasites, bacteria, or viruses present.
  • Brush your teeth with clean water.
  • If you wear gas-permeable contacts use only clean water to rinse them.
  • If you accidentally come into contact with fresh water, vigorous towel drying after a very brief water exposure may help to prevent the Schistosoma parasite from penetrating the skin.