HIV/AIDS: What you need to know!

[I had posted this on my medium account some time ago but I felt it would only be right to put it up on here so more people get informed. So here goes…]

For some time now, I have been working at an Infectious Diseases Institute, particularly with the HIV/AIDS program and on this particular day, a young man walks up to me with these questions

Young Man: Please is this the clinic where people with HIV are treated

Me: Yes, it is!

Young Man: So, this is where they quarantine them to treat them?

At this stage, I paused…’quarantine’? It was at that moment i realized that he knew close to nothing about HIV and it’s treatment and this is the case with most people hence this post.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system. It destroys the white blood cells till it gradually breaks down a person’s immune cells. These white blood cells are called T-helper cells or CD4. If left untreated, the immune system gradually becomes severely damaged. However the speed of progression of HIV is dependent on age, health and background.

Globally, as at 2016, about 36.7 million people were diagnosed to be living with HIV, with more people getting infected daily and while there is no cure for it yet, the good news is that there is effective Antiretroviral therapy (ART) available so People Living with HIV (PLHIV) can live normal and healthy lives. For pregnant women living with HIV,there are measures in places to eliminate the risk of Mother to Child transmission provided the mother starts treatment early enough.

One of the goals of treatment of HIV is to ensure that the patient has a good quality of life. What this means in medical terms is that the patient has a higher CD4 count and the lowest possible viral load.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), on the other hand is not a virus but a set of symptoms caused by the HIV. A person is said to have AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections and they develop certain defining symptoms and illnesses. This is the last stage of HIV and if left untreated, will lead to death.

Modes of transmission

  • Unprotected Sex with infected persons
  • Sharing sharp objects
  • Contaminated blood transfusions and organ transplants
  • Mother to Child transmission
  • Contact with infected body fluids like blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal and anal fluids.

Please note that you DO NOT get HIV from hugging infected persons or from any physical contact, from toilet seats, sweat, insect bites, saliva or bathing. HIV is not airborne and as such a quarantine is not necessary.

What to do

  1. Know your status. Get tested and ensure that if you have a sexual partner, you know their status also. This is to enable early detection, and for thus early treatment.
  2. If you test positive, find the nearest ARV clinic to start treatment immediately. You can live a normal and healthy life as long as you take your medication as at when due. There are a number of centers in countries around the world that provide antiretroviral medications at no cost to the patient. So, find one closest to you and get enrolled for treatment.
  3. In the case of an accidental contact with a possibly contaminated sharp object, or unprotected sex or sexual assault, visit the nearest hospital for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis within the first 72hours of exposure especially when you are not sure or do not know the HIV status of the other party involved.

In doubt???

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about HIV or go to the nearest HIV Centre to you for more enquiries. You can also visit the CDC website for more information.


Back to Basics: Who is a Pharmacist?

A pharmacist! 

In this part of the world, it would seem the role of pharmacists are not understood let alone appreciated. Somewhere along the line, things got blurred and now we have people either placing expectations on pharmacists that should not be or not even knowing what to expect of a pharmacist. You see scenarios where pharmacists are carrying out their duties and you hear things like “why would you ask me that?” or “why would you ask for a prescription?”

Who really is a pharmacist? Why do they tend to ask questions when you go to get your prescription filled? Why do they ask to speak with your Doctor sometimes? Aren’t they just supposed to just count drugs? The answers to these questions and many more is what I hope to achieve with this post.

A pharmacist, the medication expert on the healthcare team, is a healthcare professional who is concerned with ensuring the safe and efficacious use of medications, providing information on medicines and medicinal products, and ensuring the overall wellness of the Patient/Client. 

The professional commitment of a pharmacist is Pharmaceutical care! (Not to bore you with medical jargon but this basically means responsibly providing drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve the patient’s quality of life within realistic economic expenditures)

 I have come to recognize and accept my role as a Pharmacist, I therefore solemnly and truthfully pledge MYSELF to devote my life to the service of mankind.”

                                 -excerpts from the Pharmacist’s Oath, PCN ’15

In no particular order, here are some of the responsibilities of a pharmacist, especially as it relates to the patient.

1. Dispensing/Filling prescriptions: This is probably the single most expected duty of pharmacists. It is the responsibility of the pharmacist to ensure prescriptions presented to them are filled accurately as is suited to the patient. The pharmacist has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring the 3 R’s – Right drug, Right patient and Right dose, and assessing a prescription to check for possible interactions and proper dosages. This is essential because all drugs are poisons, it’s only the indication and amount ingested that draws the fine line between it being efficacious and it being flat out lethal to you. The pharmacist is legally obligated to not supply drugs that are likely to be abused or may be detrimental to your health where there is no reason to believe that it is required.

…I do consider the health of the patient or patrons above all and will abstain from whatever may be deleterious to their health.”

                                    -excerpts from the Pharmacist’s Oath, PCN ’15

2. Communicate with Prescribers: As earlier mentioned, the pharmacist is the medication expert on the healthcare team and as such it is the duty of the pharmacist, in whatever setting(hospital or community), to ensure that you are receiving the best medication for your situation. Sometimes this may entail having to liaise with your physician but be rest assured that it will only result in you getting the best care. Anytime a prescription order is unclear or potentially harmful to a patient, it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to confirm dosages, formulations and substitutions, sometimes even make suggestions on what decision and medication is better suited for the patient. 

3. Counsel patients: This role involves more than just informing you on adverse reactions or drug interactions, although those are equally important information the pharmacist passes on to the patient. The counselling session is more of an interactive training session where the patient is involved in his/her own regimen. The patient is educated on how and when to take doses, follow up questions are asked to see if the medication has been helpful to the patient. The pharmacist shares tips on how best to minimize side effects and maximize benefits of a patient’s regimen, and also advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

4. Health Promotion: The pharmacist engages in health promotion campaigns on a wide range of health-related topics and particularly drug-related topics such as antibiotic resistance, rational drug use, alcohol abuse, etc and also disease prevention campaigns like immunizations. Health topics such as Hypertension, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Diabetes and even family planning are examples of issues the pharmacist responsibly educates the community on.
These are only a few of the responsibilities of pharmacists as it relates to patients so the next time you come in contact with a pharmacist, whether in the hospital or in a community pharmacy, feel free to ask for whatever medical advice you require. Our professional responsibilities center around you, the client, and we are here to ensure you get the best care.

Till next post,


Know Your Drugs!!!

Dear Patient Client,

My writing this to you is deemed necessary as a result of some situations I have been privileged to observe in recent times. The average Nigerian does not know anything about whatever medication they’re taking. You hear things like “It’s one yellow and red capsule” or “They gave me this round tablet for the headache last time” or even the absolutely bothersome “it’s my wife that knows the drug” line. I hate to break it to you but these lines (and all the other ones you have up your sleeves) are no longer acceptable, not to your local drug store attendant and most definitely not to your pharmacist. So, this is going to be some sort of Drug Identification Counselling/Sensitization hopefully in a not-so-boring way. I’ll try to state some of the many reasons your excuses are no longer valid and trust me, you’re at the center of it all.

Do you have any idea how incredibly smart and worthy of my respect(as a pharmacist) it is when I ask a patient “are you on any other medication?”, and they give me a list of the drugs they take with the dosing regimen? It’s like *swoon* I’m in love…with your brain. Lol. The truth is, as a patient client, you have come into the pharmacy for my medical assistance. How am I supposed to help you when you won’t give me the tools to? Saying “one white tablet” is like telling me to find a needle in a haystack, we all know that’s never going to happen. So you leave us racking our heads and asking a million and one questions just to try to figure out the drug you’re taking. It’s time consuming and incredibly exhausting for both parties and sometimes you leave without figuring it out.

As for those that have been told countless number of times and their response is “How do you expect me to know these names, I’m not a medical person?” Want to know the truth? That’s another flimsy excuse right there. If you’re a female, when you go to the market and want to buy a particular type of vegetable, you don’t go describing the shape of the leaf to the seller, you expressly say the name of the one you want. Guess what? You’re not a botanist but you know the exact type you want and won’t mix it up, how’s that? If you’re a man, you know the specifications of the good cars around and when you need to buy one, you don’t go there and say “I’d like to buy the red one please”.

You know why? You paid attention to these things, you know the name of the vegetable you want or the car you love or even your favorite shoe designer because you paid attention to these things; you thought of them as being important. How much more the drugs you take to get better? They’re clearly more important but we never think of them. Majority feel it’s the job of the pharmacist to know. Guess what? Your pharmacist is not a psychic! They can’t know what drug you’re referring to when you say “one pink tablet”.

The thing is I know you expect your health professionals to be all-knowing and perfect but the truth is we’re human beings and we make mistakes. How would you know if a mistake has been made or a wrong drug has been given if you can’t even identify what you’re on? So pls the next time you have a prescription to buy medication, take the time to ask for the name of the medication and how to use it, and know them. If you find it hard to memorize the medical jargon name, you can save it as a note on your phone. It goes a long way in determining the type of care you get from your health professional.

As I always say, we only want what’s best for you. Its not that we like to stress you, but to get the quality of healthcare you desire, we need to work hand in hand to make it happen.

Till the next post…

R.Ph next door:)💊

Dysmenorrhea! Oh Dysmenorrhea! 


Funny, a large number of people don’t even know what this term means. Let’s try a simpler term.. “Period cramps”??? See… now we’re all on the same page. ‘Dysmenorrhea’ is just a medical term fancier and geeky way to describe Period pain, cramps, etc.

So this is not one of those posts to educate you on the how’s and why’s of dysmenorrhea. This is a post to educate you on how to behave around people with dysmenorrhea. Truth is there’s no adequate way to explain the pain you’re feeling…some people have tried…

“it feels like there’s a fat man sitting on my uterus” 

“it hurts like I’ve laid a million eggs and they’re all hatching” 

“it’s really bad, like someone glued and duct-taped the inner wall of my uterus and then started violently ripping it off. And on top of that, you have diarrhea, and sometimes an upset stomach.”

Trust me people, it’s one of the most inconvenient, intense,  excruciating and exhausting things ever. There really are ‘NO WORDS!’ to explain the feeling and you know what? It differs… you think your case is bad? Wait till you see the lady that gets admitted to the hospital or one that steady passes out! So this is not only about educating the guys because we feel they don’t know half of what we go through (even though I think a vast majority of them have no clue), there are also ladies who downplay other ladies’ cases because a mild Paracetamol solves theirs.

If you’re one of those ‘2 tablets of Paracetamol can solve all my period issues’ ladies or one of those ‘what are cramps’ ladies, God be praised…Lord knows I rejoice with you, in fact I’m doing a little wiggle for you right now BUT remember some other ladies need to take Tramadol (a higher up analgesic) or go to the hospital for injections and all that, so before you go passing comments like “is it not just cramps?” Or “is she the first person to have cramps” or even “Is it because of cramps you are acting like you want to die?” (Ummm…yeah I want to die, leave me! ) remember that she might have it worse than you do OR she could have a lower pain threshold…yup, that’s a thing! You see, what might seem like a little pinch to you can have someone else with a lower pain threshold rolling, wailing uncontrollably and acting seemingly crazy. We can’t all be Incredible Hulk like you.

Yeah, and for those of you ‘know-it-all’s that blame people’s pain on too much ‘ijekuje’ (junk eating)…mbok face your market! To each his own…well her own in this case. I’m not saying it’s not okay to offer help or advice to help ease the pain but no one needs the judgement! Save it for some other time…more like NEVER! If you have nothing nice or helpful to say, please move along quietly. The truth is some ladies have cramps because they have more serious underlying medical situations like Fibroids, PID, endometrosis, etc. Guys, I promise you, if you only had one day to experience the cramps we go through every month (twice a month for some) you’d almost ask God to take you home.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is “BE CONSIDERATE” Do not mock a pain that you haven’t endured. You’re a lady that has cramps doesn’t mean you know what my cramps are like, you’re a guy that…scratch that, guys have no idea! Tolerate other people and the way they handle their pain, and be grateful to God for your life while ensuring you’re not worsening someone else’s. Even if Especially if they’re yelling at everyone and being cranky, don’t contribute to their already difficult and exhausting situation. The world would be a much more better place if we were more considerate and tolerant of others!



Till the next post…

R.Ph next door😊💊


Mama we made it! Lol…

My internship experience got featured on thatinternist…Please read, I hope you enjoy it!



This is another episode of the Pharmacy Internship Experience series brought to you from the stables of thatinternist blog. Lol! Why so serious?


This experience is from darling Tolu (see that beautiful smile up there) day one supporter of this blog, like she deserves an award for real. Tolu shares with us her experience as a Pharmacy Intern at National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi (NOHIL) . Thank you very much sister girl. I am sure you all will enjoy and get something valuable from her experience. Let’s do this.

Tell us about you:

I’m ToluWAlope Adeoya but you could just call me Tolu (as usual) but pls NOT Tolulope…Go short,long or GO HOME!. I attended the University of Lagos and graduated in 2015 with  a B.Pharm degree. There’s a fairly long list of things I love to do but if I had to mention…

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