HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is a type of virus that causes HIV infection that leads to having AIDS. There are a lot of ways of getting infected with HIV virus and most of it are controllable. Among the ways that a person can get HIV are through:
- Contact with infected semen
- Contact with infected rectal fluids
- Contact with infected vaginal fluids
- Contact with infected breast milk
- Contact with infected blood
- Using infected needles
How can I reduce the risk of contracting HIV?
Anyone can be at risk of being infected with AIDS or HIV especially if you have an active sex life or you normally use injection for some reasons. If you are, you can do the following steps to reduce the risk of having HIV infection.
- Always get tested. If you have a partner, ask him to undergo testing as well
- If you have active sex life, choose your partner very well
- Lessen your chance sexual adventures and focus on fewer partners
- If you have any type of Sexually Transmitted Disease, get treatment immediately
- If you are at high risk of contracting HIV, go for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a treatment that involves medicines to protect yourself against HIV. This is like a vaccine against HIV in a different form.
- Use condoms at all times especially if dealing with multiple partners
- If you are into injections, make sure to use clean and sterile needles all the time
How HIV works
The human immunodeficiency virus or HIV works by attacking the CD4 cells in our body and killing it. CD4 is the cell that protects our body from all types of infection. If our CD4 is low or weak, then our body becomes susceptible to all kinds of infections and diseases. HIV doesn’t only kill CD4 but also copies it, allowing the virus to multiply inside the body. This is what doctors call as HIV life cycle and most medicines available today works by preventing HIV life cycle.
The only known treatment for HIV infection is through Antiretroviral therapy or ART. ART means taking multiple HIV drugs every day from different groups of HIV medicines. The reason for this is because HIV lifecycle has a lot of levels and for each level, a type of Antiretroviral drug is needed. With ART, you can slow down the increase of HIV virus and can prevent the virus from becoming resistant to your HIV drug. ART cannot cure HIV yet but it can help patients to have a longer life and better well-being despite having HIV infection. With ART, the chance of infecting your partner (if you have one) is lessened as well.
Having HIV infection means a life-long treatment plus the risk of infecting your love one if you will continue to have an active sex life or if you will get pregnant. Hence it is important to stay safe all the time and do everything that you can to prevent HIV infection at all costs.