Once the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gains entry into the bloodstream, it begins its deadly work of destroying immune cells which fight infection. With this invasion, it is difficult for the body to fight off infections and certain kinds of cancer.
Without proper treatment, an HIV infection can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, a stage where your immune system is seriously damaged and you get a number of severe illnesses that cannot be curable.
HIV spreads through contact with body fluids like blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk from an infected person. In most countries of the world, this virus is mostly spread by having s3x with or sharing syringes or other injection equipment with someone who is infected.
It can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during the course of the pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or during childbirth. Although the number of people being infected with HIV has been declining, it still remains a cause of concern with thousands of new cases being diagnosed every year. But don’t feel so low, you can help yourself avoid this deadly s3xually transmitted disease.
Now, what are those practices you can embrace inorder to stay safe?
one: Do Practice Safe Sex
To completely prevent HIV involves abstaining from vag1nal, anal, and oral s3x. Since this might not be practical, this next best thing would be to take measures to protect yourself if you’re s3xually active. Protections like the use of LATEX Condoms (either male or female condoms). And make sure that when using condoms, you use a water- or silicone-based lubricant that can prevent condoms from slipping or breaking. It can also lower the risk of anal or vag1nal tears.
Avoid oil-based lubricants or products like massage oils, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly as these can weaken latex condoms and lead to their breaking. Also, it’s best to not use lubricants with nonoxynol-9 as this chemical can irritate the lining of the anus or vagina, increasing your risk of getting HIV.
two: Get Tested
It’s important that both you and your partner get tested for HIV before you start having s3xual intercourse. A person with HIV can considerably reduce the risk of passing it on to a s3xual partner if she or he takes medication known as antiretroviral therapy to treat the infection.
three: Stay faithful to one partner
Having more sexual partners automatically increases the likelihood of a partner who has HIV or another s3xually transmitted disease. Both these aspects can up your risk of getting infected with HIV. Being in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who doesn’t have HIV is your safest bet.
four: Do not Share Blades or Needles
Sharing needles or other injection equipment can put you at significant risk of getting HIV. If you are addicted to drugs, it’s important to quit. Your doctor will be able to guide you with treatment options for substance abuse.
If you are getting a piercing or tattoo, make sure a sterilized and clean needle is being used.
five: Do take preventive medications
If you have a high risk for HIV – for instance, if you are in a s3xual relationship with someone who is HIV positive – you can take medication known as pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent infection. This preventive measure requires daily medication and regular doctor visits.
Or, if you’ve been potentially exposed, perhaps the condom broke, post-exposure prophylaxis can help prevent infection. But remember, this medication needs to be started within three days of exposure and the sooner you start taking it the better.
six: Avoid behaviours that are risky
Certain behaviours may increase your risk of getting HIV. For example, if you abuse drugs or alcohol, you may be more likely to engage in s3x without a condom or share injection equipment while you’re high or zonked out.
seven: Screen and treat for HIV during pregnancy
You should get tested for HIV when you’re pregnant. If you do have HIV, taking the appropriate medicines religiously can greatly lower the risk of transmitting it to your baby. And, try to start the medications early.