You have probably heard on the radio, saw on the television, or read the newspapers about the large number of people that are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. The disease has affected millions of human beings worldwide, infecting men and women, children and adults, and it continues to do so and will not stop unless we learn how to prevent from acquiring it and find a cure for it.
HIV works by attacking our bodies, targeting the immune system, until we become so weak that we cannot fight off all the other bacteria, viruses, and sickness that will come our way. It is like kryptonite; it makes us feeble and frail, enabling other foreign elements to harm us, and making us susceptible to all these illnesses.
So in order to figure out how to not contract the virus, let us look for the answer to this question first: “How do I get HIV?”
There are many ways to spread HIV. Some of them are for real, while the others are just myths. When I was younger, I heard people around me say indignantly that only gay men can get HIV. That is not true. If you look at the HIV reports that we have now, the patients are diverse. Anybody can be infected with HIV, regardless of ethnicity, citizenship, age, height, weight, sex, social status, etc.
Enumerated below are the most common ways to transmit HIV:
- Unprotected sex tops the list of the most common mode of HIV transmission. If a person engages in sexual intercourse with an HIV patient, he or she will also get the virus. The body fluids present during the sex act as carriers of the virus. So whether it is anal, oral, or vaginal, having sex with someone who is HIV positive will result in you contracting the disease as well.
- Blood transfusion is another way to get HIV. A long time ago, people who donated blood did not really undergo an HIV test to check if their blood is clean. Things changed when they found out that the people who received the infected blood turned out to be positive for HIV. Nowadays, anybody who wants to donate blood is required to get tested for HIV.
- A mother who is HIV positive will pass on the disease to her unborn child. During pregnancy, they share nutrients and blood and other bodily fluids, so it just makes sense that the virus can travel from the mother’s system to the child’s. Fortunately, there is a way to not transmit the virus to the baby. The anti-HIV medication called zidovudine or AZT has been proven to reduce the chances of the virus infecting the child.
I hope with the information above, many of us can open our minds and realize how serious, and even fatal, HIV is. We should all take care of our health and remember to be careful every time we do something.