Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Do You Get HIV AIDS?

How do people get this deadly disease? First, what exactly is it? What are possible cures? What are the ways of preventing its occurrence and protecting ourselves from having stricken?

AIDS 101

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a killer disease without a cure. It is spread by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and destroys the body’s immune system. As a result, the body cannot protect itself against infections and some cancers.

How do I protect myself against HIV and AIDS?

Most get the disease through casual sex with prostitutes, strangers and acquaintances. It takes just one sexual encounter with an HIV-positive person to be infected by HIV. Besides a laboratory HIV test, there is no way of telling who has HIV since an infected person looks normal and shows no symptoms for several years after infection. Thus, if you are infected, you might unknowingly spread it to your spouse.

How do I set up my defenses against AIDS?

To protect yourself and your loved ones from this devastating "virus," do take note of the following:
  • Say no to casual sex
Avoid casual sex with prostitutes, strangers and acquaintances.
  • Stay faithful to your spouse
Have sex only with your spouse. This will protect yourself, your spouse and your family from AIDS and the needless suffering that comes with it.
  • Always use a condom
A condom (the latex/polyurethane type only) acts as a barrier to reduce the chances of HIV transmission. However, condoms do not offer 100% protection. They may leak and break due to defects or improper use. Hence the best way to protect yourself is still to avoid casual sex.
  • Stay away from drug abuse and needle-sharing
Drug abuse is harmful to the body and by sharing a needle tainted with blood containing HIV, you can be infected.
  • Ensure that surgical and skin-piercing instruments used are sterilised
When using services that involve piercing the skin such as tattoo-piercing, and ear- or body-piercing, check that sterile needles are used every time. If in doubt, stay away.

You definitely need to protect yourself, but there is no need to be paranoid. HIV is not spread through:
  • kissing an HIV-infected person (unless there are open sores or wounds through which HIV-tainted blood can be transferred);
  • sharing food, utensils, towels or bedding, a swimming pool, the telephone or the toilet seat with someone who has HIV; nor
  • coming into contact with the sweat or tears of someone with HIV or AIDS.
If you think you might be HIV-positive or have a high risk of infection, see a doctor or go for HIV testing. Where AIDS is concerned, ignorance is not bliss. Continuing high-risk behaviour only increases the chances of you being infected with HIV and spreading it to others. HIV testing is important to safeguard your health and to prevent transmitting the virus to others including your loved ones.