The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the immune system of a person infected with the virus. When the immune system, which happens to be the body’s natural defense or shield becomes weak, the body generally becomes susceptible to other forms of diseases. The virus which gives way for these infections is subsequently referred to as HIV.
HIV is caused by a host of activities going on inside the body, step by step compromising the immune system until such a time it completely overwhelms the sufferer (if not treated and managed) and transforms into full-blown AIDS.
The body fluids that can cause HIV
HIV cannot be passed on easily from a person to another because the virus does not spread through the air like flu and cold viruses which are experienced in other situations. HIV is simply caused when one of these fluids of the body of a person with HIV comes in contact with an infected person. The body fluids which may be responsible for HIV include the following, among others:
- Vaginal Secretions
- Breast milk
- The lining of the anus
- Menstrual blood
It is very important to understand that some other body fluids like sweat, urine, and saliva do not contain enough of the virus which is needed to infect another person.
Habits or activities that can cause HIV
- Anal sex. An infected person indulging in anal sex increases the tendency of being infected most especially when it is unprotected. This class of sex extends to both men and women as they are both at the risk of contracting the disease through the lining surrounding the anus. The slightest mixture of the body fluids during this activity is sufficient to transmit HIV.
- Vaginal sex. This sex connotes penis inside the vagina and it tends to be the most popular which makes it the most common cause of HIV as far as sexual intercourse is concerned. When fluids are exchanged by the partners, the virus can move from the uninfected to the infected person thereby causing HIV.
- Oral sex. This also forms a sexual habit which involves mouth on the penis or in/around the vagina causing saliva to mix with vaginal fluid easily.
- Childbirth. This can also cause HIV if the mother has been infected without medical care and directions as to management during pregnancy. It happens to be one of the causes of HIV especially in the underdeveloped world where Medicare is still a big deal.
- Organ transplantation. When an organ transplantation is carried out, the receiver is put at a very high risk depending on the donor’s status. A donor with an infected organ can transmit it to the new body receiving the organ, thereby causing HIV. Many people have gotten infected through this means and it is advised to observe a high level of care and accurate HIV tests before transplantation.
- Tattooing and body piercing. This activity can cause HIV when tools used are unsterilized and subsequently shared between the infected and the non-infected.
- Breastfeeding. Just as explained in the relationship between the mother and child during childbirth above, breastfeeding can cause HIV if an infected mother without medical supervision and directions breast-feed the offspring.
Habits or activities that cannot cause HIV
Many controversial notions exist on the subject of HIV and one of them includes the acts that cannot cause HIV. This article would clarify the air by listing these acts which include, but are not limited to:
- Shaking hands
- Sharing of toilets with an HIV infected person
- Hugging an infected person
- Contact with urine, tears, sweats, saliva or feces
- Massage by or for an infected person
- Sharing the same house with an HIV infected person
- Being bitten by the same mosquito as an infected person
- Sharing same toiletries or swimming pools
How to prevent the causes of HIV
- Talking to your partner especially if having sex for the first time to ascertain whether he or she is infected or not. Getting tested together consistently would be a good way to also ensure good health and build confidence the more.
- Being faithful to one partner at a time is also safe as multiple sexual partners would result in a high risk of being infected with HIV.
- Desisting from sharing personal items like hair clippers, nail-cutters, and razors would cut down the tendency of being infected.
- The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs before sex should be stopped as it might let down one’s guard and dispense with the practice of safe sex.
To avoid the HIV infection and its causes, one should prevent blood, vaginal fluids, and semen or breast milk of an infected person from entering the body or touching the breaks in the skin where blood is evident.