Despite increases in the total number of people living with HIV in the U.S. in recent years, the annual number of new infections has remained relatively stable overall. However, HIV infections continue at far too high a level, with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming newly infected with HIV each year. — Brian Mustanski Ph.D.
With about 36.9 million people living HIV, how do we keep ourselves safe? We commonly know that it is transmitted through unprotected sex. However, there are other ways we can get infected. The key is spreading awareness because out of the numbers mentioned above, 1.8 million are children, and most had it even before they were born!
How Is HIV Transmitted?
HIV can be transmitted through semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluids, or rectal fluids which come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue found inside the vagina, opening of the penis, rectum or mouth. It is highly encouraged to use a condom when having sexual intercourse because much more than people should fear unwanted pregnancy, they should worry about the risk of acquiring HIV.
HIV can be injected into the bloodstream through needles that had been used by an infected person. The perfect example of this is sharing syringe for drugs. Not only are you risking yourself of addiction, but of acquiring HIV as well. Health practitioners should also take extra precaution especially when they are dealing with HIV patients because they can accidentally prick themselves and get infected.
An unborn child can acquire HIV if an infected mother does not take medication for it. The drug called zidovudine is what HIV-positive mothers take to reduce the risk of babies getting infected. It is critical that they consult a doctor throughout their pregnancy, and they should never breastfeed their baby. More information are available at BabyCenter.
Bobby—not his real name—was in his teens when we met. He had contracted HIV from his mother before he was born. Related complications resulted in him being small for his age. — Peter Cashorali, LMFT
How To Protect Yourself From HIV Infection:
HIV has long been terrifying us, but until now, it is still one of the most misunderstood illnesses. For instance, some people think that HIV and AIDS are one. However, having HIV doesn’t necessarily mean that you have AIDS. AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome is also known as advanced HIV infection or late-stage HIV. It is a set of symptoms and illnesses obtained from advanced HIV infection. It weakens the immune system disabling it from defending itself from diseases, but because HIV treatment is available, the number of people developing AIDS decreases.
Practice Safe Sex Correctly
A condom is not only for avoiding unwanted pregnancy but acquiring HIV as well. Learning how to use it properly is critical, and to really use it every time you have sexual intercourse. Some people think that it fails to serve its purpose because of the quality, but it is really because of inconsistency or improper use of it.
Take Extra Precaution When Dealing With Syringes
As mentioned above, HIV can be transmitted through blood. It means that once infected blood gets into your bloodstream, you are going to be infected as well. Take extra precaution when you need a blood transfusion, work in a hospital with HIV patients, and sharing syringes with strangers but can be put in the best way as “Don’t do drugs!”
Avoid Spreading The Virus
The worst that you can do is to get others infected as well, especially your spouse or unborn child. If you are married or expecting a baby while you know you are positive, make sure that you work closely with a doctor to avoid the risk of transmitting the infection to your family. Check out more ways to avoid spreading the virus at www.sheknows.com.
In any circumstance, public awareness is the key to prevention of illnesses. Sometimes, people get in serious trouble like acquiring fatal diseases simply because they lack knowledge that’s why it is essential to spread awareness about health issues affecting millions such as HIV.