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HIV-AIDS; This ‘World AIDS Day,’ Let’s Prevent HIV Infection By Following 8 Simple Steps

Introduction

HIV prevention involves more than just obeying the regulations. It is important to be aware of the risks and comprehend the transmission and non-transmission of HIV or AIDS. It’s important to go the extra mile and educate yourself on cutting-edge and time-tested HIV prevention strategies. 

Knowing oneself is the most important aspect. Everyone is unique in the end. Some people are more prone to infection than others. A few may have specific objectives, such as beginning a family or becoming pregnant, which call for unique considerations and include various risks.

In order to protect yourself, you must be honest with yourself about your personal risk factors and create a unique prevention plan to reduce the risks.

In this blog, we’ll look at eight strategies you can use to develop your personal HIV prevention plan.

Know the risks

Knowing the truth about the many mechanisms of transmission and the behaviours that put you personally at risk will help you prevent HIV or AIDS.

Beginning with the fundamentals:

Intimate contact with semen,  pre-ejaculate fluid (pre-cum), blood, vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, and breast milk can transfer HIV.Shared needles, anal sex, and vaginal intercourse are the main ways that HIV is transmitted.HIV can also be transmitted from mother to kid through breastfeeding or occupational exposure (such as a needlestick injury).HIV cannot be transmitted by contact, kissing, mosquito bites, sharing utensils, using the bathroom or drinking fountain, spitting, or touching bodily fluids.

Take the PrEP

A daily dose of HIV drugs, known as antiretrovirals, can lower your risk of contracting HIV by as much as 99% when used as part of the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) approach. 

A more recent PrEP alternative that does not require taking daily medication is called Apretude. The chances of infection is significantly decreased when the uninfected spouse receives an injection every two months. 

All sexually active adults and adolescents should be informed about PrEP, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

PrEP is advised for anyone who is more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, including those in serodiscordant relationships (intimate couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and another is HIV-negative) with partners whose viral loads are detectable or unknown, those who have had one or more sexual partners whose HIV status is unknown, and those who have recently experienced a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). 

In other words, anyone at risk of HIV can lower their chance of infection using PrEP.

Avoid sharing needles

People who inject drugs (PWIDs) have a high HIV prevalence rate. According to studies, sharing needles or syringes may have contributed to the infection of 20% to 40% of PWIDs. 

Furthermore, not just PWIDSs are at risk. Additionally, their sexual partners can be in danger, especially if they are not aware of their partner’s drug usage.

To stop the spread of HIV or AIDS and other bloodborne illnesses (like hepatitis C), many jurisdictions offer free, government-sponsored needle exchange programmes. It has been demonstrated that clean needle programmes significantly lower the incidence of HIV among PWIDs by lowering the likelihood of needle sharing.

Use condoms

There is no justification for being careless with condom use. The most effective method of preventing pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is still celibacy and internal and exterior condoms. No other preventive measures can accomplish all three at once. 

STDs can raise the risk of HIV due to their ability to compromise delicate vaginal or anal tissues. This applies to all STDs that induce vaginal inflammation, not just those like syphilis that result in open sores.

Conceive safely

In over half of all HIV-positive couples, one partner is HIV-positive while the other is HIV-negative. 

With improvements in HIV treatment, serodiscordant couples now have a better chance than ever to get pregnant, permitting pregnancy while lowering the danger of transmission to a partner without HIV.

In fact, protection against transmission in serodiscordant relationships should be almost guaranteed by the use of PrEP in conjunction with a viral load that is undetectable.

Avoid mother-to-child transmission

All phases of pregnancy are involved in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Mother-to-child transmission is rare since it is routinely screened for during pregnancy. However, it continues to happen.

Early initiation of antiretroviral medication for the mother reduces the probability of transmission to virtually zero. The risk is still less than 2% overall, even if medication is initiated later in the pregnancy. 

Nursing should also be avoided since breast milk can contain HIV.

Stop HIV infection after exposure

You might potentially avoid getting HIV by taking a 28-day course of HIV medications if you think you may have been exposed to it, either through unsafe intercourse or other high-risk activities.

The technique, referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), is most effective when it is implemented quickly after virus exposure. According to studies, starting PEP within 72 hours can cut the chance of contracting HIV by as much as 81%. The sooner you begin therapy, the better will be the outcomes.

Get and stay undetectable

According to the evidence-based concept of Undetectable=Untransmissible (U=U), individuals with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others.

A viral load is a measurement of how much virus is present in a blood sample. Undetectable is defined as having fewer than 200 copies of HIV per millilitre of blood, which indicates that no virus was found in the blood sample.

You cannot transmit the virus to others if you reach and maintain an undetectable viral load, according to data from the PARTNER1 and PARTNER2 investigations, which were conducted from 2010 to 2018.

Also read: HIV Test 1 & 2 Antibodies

Final thoughts

Today, there are various ways to avoid HIV. Using one or more of these above-mentioned suggestions may be advantageous for you, depending on your particular risk factors.

Another important key is education. The more you know about HIV-AIDS, the more you get to know about the prophylactic measures to protect yourself on time.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q1. How did AIDS start?

Ans.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is most probably passed to human beings when humans hunted chimpanzees for meat and came in contact with their infected blood and hence spread to people all around the world as time goes on.

Q2. What are the three stages of HIV infection?

Ans.

Without timely diagnosis and treatment, HIV-AIDS advances into three stages including acute HIV infection, chronic HIV infection, and AIDS.

Q3. Can a person survive AIDS?

Ans.

Although there is no cure for HIV infection, there are several effective treatments that allow most people with the infection to live healthy and longer life.

Written by: Anjali Dharra

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