Ways & How

how to prevent HIV transmission

how to prevent HIV transmission

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus contracted by humans that causes AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which compromises your immune system. This leaves you susceptible to all kinds of conditions and diseases and will lead to eventual death. Today, it is estimated that there are about 34 million carriers of the virus all around the world. Everyday, they pose the risk of spreading the virus. Given the severity of the condition and given that the viral infection is now widespread, HIV prevention and AIDS education has become highly important. Adults and young adults engaging in sexual activity must make it a point to educate themselves about how to prevent HIV transmission. In learning about HIV transmission prevention, one must learn about the means of transmission first. It is commonly known that those with indiscriminate sexual practices have the highest risk for HIV infection. While this is true, it must be understood that transmission is not limited to sexual means. HIV can also be transmitted through drug use, blood transmission and vertical transmission.



Here are ways to prevent HIV transmission:

  1. Sexual transmission. HIV is transmitted through an exchange of sexual fluids such as semen and vaginal transmission. Sexual intercourse leads to HIV transmission through both vaginal and anal discourse. Transmission occurs because sexual fluids enter the body through open wounds, breaks in the skin or through mucus membranes during sex. Sharing bodily fluids through kissing, sharing eating utensils or using the same swimming pool does not lead to HIV transmission.

    Prevention:

    Preventing HIV transmission through sexual means entails always being conscious of the medical background of those you have sex with. If you are unsure, it is best not to risk it. Using condoms helps prevent transmission but there is no 100 percent assurance; condoms can tear or may not work as intended. A monogamous sexual relationship between two HIV-free people is ideal. Also, make sure your partner does not acquire the virus through other means, such as drug use or blood transmission, to ensure that your relationship is HIV-free.

  2. Drug use.  Using syringes used by HIV carriers facilitates HIV transmission, as syringes inject directly to the blood vessels and deliver the virus to the blood. Sharing syringes is common among drug users, and the spread of HIV among drug users is widespread. Needles contain blood when reused; therefore, in procedures such as tattooing or piercing, contracting HIV is also possible.

    Prevention:

    Firstly, do not engage in drug abuse. Aside from contracting AIDS, drug abuse in itself can lead to other diseases and death. When planning to get a tattoo or piercing, look into the sanitary practices of the shop before undergoing the procedure. Make sure they are licensed and credible before availing of their services.

  3. Blood transmission. Ingesting blood from an HIV carrier will lead to transmission. Kissing an HIV carrier with an open mouth sore or wound will transfer the virus to you. Having oral sex when you have an open mouth sore or wound also makes you susceptible. Receiving blood through blood transfusion (as in the popular and landmark case of Ryan White) will also lead to transmission.

    Prevention:

    When receiving blood from the hospital or medical institution, verify that the blood has been tested. Although this is standard operating procedure, it is still best to make sure by asking for the test results certifying the condition of the blood. Although extremely rare, cases of HIV-positive donated blood being given to patients have occurred. Also, if you have a mouth sore or wound in the mouth, be careful of who you kiss and engage in oral sex with.

  4. Vertical transmission.  This type of transmission occurs between a mother and her child during childbirth and breastfeeding. If the mother is HIV positive, it is possible for her to transmit the virus to her child during childbirth or breastfeeding.

    Prevention:

    Pregnant mothers should be tested before giving birth so that if found positive for HIV, the doctors can take all the necessary precautions to prevent transmission during childbirth. Needless to say, HIV positive mothers should be allowed to breastfeed.

AIDS is very preventable as long as you know how to prevent HIV transmission. However, the government and health agencies need to be more aggressive in ensuring that everyone is equipped with the necessary knowledge for AIDS and HIV prevention.

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