By learning more about HIV/AIDS, how it is transmitted, and the associated symptoms, you are one step closer to preventing HIV. HIV is a disease that is contracted through bodily fluids, including blood, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and semen. It can also be contracted through sores, tears, and mucous membranes.
The most common way to transmit HIV is through vaginal, oral, or anal sexual activity. The use of condoms, dental dams, and other safe sex practices is essential to preventing HIV. Those who engage in sexual activity with more than one partner are at greater risk of contracting and spreading HIV. Since individuals with HIV may not show any symptoms, safe sex practices and regular STD testing are important steps to take to prevent HIV and other STDs.
HIV can enter the body through open wounds, sores, and cuts. Sharing needles, including intravenous drug use, tattoos, and piercings, can also be a means to contracting and spreading HIV.
There are numerous stories and myths about other ways HIV is transmitted. Some may say that HIV is transmitted through blood transfusions, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food. The truth is that HIV is not transmitted in these ways and cannot be transmitted through saliva.
If there is possibility you’ve experienced an exposure to HIV in the past 72 hours, we recommend seeking urgent medical treatment at an Emergency Room nearest you.
Treatment for HIV/AIDS
No cure is currently available for HIV/AIDS, but there are various treatment options that can help to ease your HIV symptoms. ART is an antiretroviral treatment that consists of medications that reduce the levels of HIV within your system. The purpose of lowering and weakening HIV levels is to slow the progress of the damage it can cause. It also reduces your risk of transmitting the virus to others and can ease the symptoms you are experiencing.
ART is very efficient, and given time, can make HIV invisible to blood tests, though this doesn’t mean you are cured. In reality, the individual is still infected and still contagious.
Living a healthy lifestyle will boost the effectiveness of your treatment plan. Making improvements to your nutrition, sleep, and exercise plan will put you on a good course to a healthier lifestyle. Other lifestyle changes include reducing levels of stress and avoiding the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Your doctor can help you develop a plan to get you on track for obtaining a healthier lifestyle.
Discussing HIV/AIDS with Your Partner
Many people don’t realize how important discussing HIV/AIDS with their sexual partner(s) is. While it can be true that telling other people about your infection can be the hardest part of having HIV, it can also be the most freeing. It is hard to know how someone will react to the news, so the best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the possibilities. Let them know what you have learned from your doctor about HIV/AIDS, the symptoms, and the treatment. Making sure they understand that people with HIV can live happy, full lives can bring them reassurance. Avoid blame when talking with your partner(s) about HIV/AIDS. If neither of you have been consistent about regular testing, it might be difficult to know when and where the virus originated. This is because an individual can be infected for years without ever knowing it.