Do you know how one can get infected with HIV and what should be done to prevent it? Let us take a look at how one can get infected with HIV from an HIV +ve source and some preventive steps.
HIV virus or Human Immunodeficiency Virus can cause AIDS. When a person is affected with AIDS his or her immune system becomes weaker and susceptible to even minor infections. It is categorised as one of the sexually transmitted diseases
. An HIV +ve person may show symptoms like diarrhoea for prolonged period, persistent fever for more than a month, weight loss for no apparent reason, sudden night sweats, frequent infections like herpes
etc. However, these symptoms do not necessarily indicate that a person is infected with HIV virus.
An HIV infected person can transfer infection to another person through various ways. The virus can get mainly transferred through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, from pregnant mother to child, intravenous drug abuse etc. Given below are the HIV +ve sources through which the risk of infection is greater.
RISK OF INFECTION (from a HIV +ve source)
|Sexual Intercourse (Vaginal/Anal) ||0.1 % - 1.0 % (male to female is 7- 10 times more than female to male) Having STD increases the risk. |
|Blood Transfusion ||90 - 95 % |
|Pregnant Mother to Child ||20 - 40 % |
|Intravenous Drug Abuse & Others (*) ||0.5 - 1.0 % |
|Breast Milk ||Controversial (but if present, benefits definitely outweigh risks) |
|Saliva ||Controversial (just anecdotal reports till now been presented in its favour). |
(*) - Surgical accidents -needle stick injuries- unsterilised instruments/ equipment.
YOU DO NOT ACQUIRE HIV by:
- Casual contact (sitting together, sharing clothes/ utensils).
- Casual kissing, shaking hands (deep kissing when there are oral ulcers could be risky).
- Swimming Pools/ Door knobs/ Railings/ Toilet Seats
- Donating blood
[Apart from ways mentioned in the BOX, there is no other route by which HIV can be transmitted].
How to avoid acquiring HIV?
- Here are some precautions that one can take to avoid acquiring HIV.
- Stick to one faithful partner when it comes to having sex. Having more than one sex partner can increase the risk of infection.
- Avoid having sex with the person who has more than one sex partners.
- Always use a condom when sex is unavoidable with more than one sex partners. Note that the risk of infection can increase if condoms are not used correctly.
- Make sure that you use a new condom every time.
- Abstain from oral or anal sex completely.
- Keep away from intravenous drug abuse. Sharing needles syringes increase the risk of infection.
- Make sure that proper testing is done when blood transfusion is required to be done.
- Opt for the alternatives to sex like masturbating etc; when sex needs to be avoided.
- Check if your barber is using a new blade every time when you go for shaving or cutting your hair.
- Check that your doctor uses a fresh needle or syringe when you are taking an injection.
It is a must to be properly aware of this disease in order to take right preventive steps. In case if you have doubts about prevention you can visit a government hospital or an AIDS
counselling centre without any hesitation. Note that HIV infection can be contracted even through a single unprotected intercourse with an infected person. The infection can get transferred even if the intercourse is incomplete.
It is also very important to note that AIDS cannot be cured. Currently vacation against HIV
is not available as well but research is under progress. Therefore, it becomes a must to take right preventive steps for protecting yourself from acquiring it.