It is good to know something about HIV to be able to protect oneself against it.
HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – was discovered by scientists in France in 1983. They named the new virus the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.
The HIV virus affects the immune system by infecting and eventually destroying special cells in the immune system. That means the anti-bodies that fight off or kill harmful micro organisms in the human body, are weakened and cannot protect the body as they should. Infections and diseases that were easy for the body to fight off and overcome, suddenly become life-threatening.
There are 4 ways of HIV being transmitted:
- The most common way of being infected is by having vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse because one comes into contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal and cervical fluids. Infection during sexual intercourse is more common if a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is present in one or both sexual partners. All sexual intercourse with an infected partner – man to woman, woman to man, man to man and woman to woman – can transmit HIV
- Receiving a blood transfusion or a transfusion of blood products that are infected
- Infected injections (needles or syringes) or skin piercing equipment
- HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or while breast feeding.
Protect yourself from being infected during sex by remaining with one loyal sexual partner and always wear a fresh condom. Doing drunk-sex or sex with multiple partners or having sex without a condom is looking for mega problems. Don’t handle the blood of another person without wearing plastic gloves, especially not if you have open cuts or lesions. Don’t ever use unclean needles and check that the acupuncturist uses sterile equipment.
Following these guidelines will definitely help you to protect yourself. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle where you eat healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep will also help. Drink no more than two drinks a day. Give up tobacco and drugs. To be on the safe side, have yourself tested once in a while and make sure you know all about PrEP and PEP.
If you want to remain HIV free, you can do it. It’s all in your hands. Keep informed and make sure you always have a fresh condom handy.