Contracting HIV is one of the biggest fears of any person who at any point in time, has heard about the horrors of the disease. For this reason, many have held on to awkward beliefs about HIV for years which have, consequently, misled other ignorant persons also.
Knowing how a human contracts HIV goes beyond mere speculation or set of beliefs which have been passed on from generation to generations It is therefore important to consider some of these awkward beliefs which people have held overtime before going into the valid ways to contract HIV – and how to avoid it.
The major wrong beliefs include:
- Testing HIV positive is the beginning of doom. This has been passed around because people view HIV patients as unhealthy people that can never measure up to the standards and capabilities of a normal person.
- A person who is infected with HIV should never have sex with anyone even when protective measures are available.
- People who have had sex with other infected people but tested negative immediately after the act can never be HIV positive.
- Only homosexuals stand at a very high risk of infection.
- The use of condoms is the only effective way to shield against HIV.
- Any person who is infected with the virus would surely transmit it in their lifetime.
It is surprising that some of these myths are still held and believed by many today; be that as it may, the silver lining is that a whole lot of people in this class are getting better enlightened on a daily basis.
It suffices to add at this point that HIV lives in certain bodily fluids of the body when a person is infected. These fluids serve as a means of transmission to other uninfected people. These bodily fluids include:
- Breast milk
- Vagina fluids
- The blood
- The rectal fluids or anal mucous, as the case may be
- The semen
Before one can be infected with HIV, one of the above bodily fluids would have to get into the blood via the mucous membrane, skin breaks (like in the case of sharp objects), or direct ingestion into the bloodstream. Worthy of note also is the fact that fluids like urine, saliva, and sweats cannot carry enough virus to transmit it to an uninfected person.
The most common ways to contract HIV
- By having unprotected sex. Unprotected sex with an infected person is very detrimental to an uninfected person. The use of condoms has often been said to be a very good protective measure, meaning that a person who neglects this puts him or herself at a very great deal of risk.
- By having a contaminated blood transfusion. When due tests are not carried out before transfusion, one is put at a very high risk of being infected if the transfused blood has HIV in it. It forms one of the many ways to contract HIV although it rarely happens because adequate tests are carried out in most circumstances.
- By sharing sharp objects. These could extend to needles, syringes, and any form of an object that is capable of piercing the skin of a person such that the blood vessels can be reached. The use of a syringe which has also been used by an infected person is another common way to contract HIV.
- By being the offspring of an infected mother. This is the case when a newborn is being breastfed by an infected mother as the baby stands at a very high risk of contracting the virus.
How to shield against contracting HIV
Numerous ways exist to protect one from contracting HIV which have helped quite a good number of people over time. These ways include but are not limited to:
- The use of condoms during oral, vaginal and anal sex with a person whose status cannot be ascertained.
- Desist from sharing sharp objects with both infected and uninfected persons to be on the safe side.
- Expectant pregnant women should be under the supervision of medical personnel to help reduce the chances of passing HIV to the baby at birth or while breastfeeding.
- Use of protective measures like gloves by healthcare workers while handling HIV patients and using separate medical tools for each patient.
- Ascertaining if a blood product one is about to receive during blood transfusion has been certified negative and good enough.
- Going for regular HIV tests especially if one resides where HIV is common.
The ways of contracting HIV is very easy to avoid if the above protective measures are practiced and as one does these, it is important to educate others on the need to do away with old sets of information (HIV myths).
HIV can be avoided as well as contracted with whatever lifestyle one decides to adopt. Since the protective measures are quite easy, it is advised to stick to them and enjoy an HIV free life.