HIV is a life-threatening virus that attacks the immune system by killing white blood cells. When your immune system is under attack and has weakened, it is unable to defend your body against dangerous pathogens, infections, and diseases.
HIV is spread through bodily fluids, primarily through sexual intercourse, sharing needles, and breastfeeding. Thankfully, modern medicine has both measures to prevent and treat the virus to help patients live a normal, long, and healthy life.
– Having unprotected sex
– A partner who is HIV-positive or at a high-risk group
– Sharing needles
– A sexual relationship with someone who does not practice safe sex
Here is what you need to know to lower your risk of getting HIV:
- Get tested regularly.
Being familiar with your own and your sexual partners’ sexual histories is of utmost importance. Depending on how active your sex life is, you should also get tested every 6-12 months.
- Be mindful of multiple partners.
You may have more than one sexual partner, but ensure that you know and trust them. However, keep in mind that the higher the number of your sexual partners, the higher your risk of contracting the virus.
- Always use protection.
Practicing safe sex is the most surefire way to prevent getting HIV. Condoms are approximately 98% effective in protecting you against exposure.
- Avoid intravenous drug injection.
If you need injections, be sure to sterilize your equipment properly and regularly. Avoid sharing needles at all costs, especially.
- Bottle feed.
If you are a mother who is HIV-positive, you should be feeding formula to your newborn rather than breastfeed him or her since HIV can be passed on via breast milk.
- Take PrEP.
If your doctor prescribes it, you can go on PrEP, aka pre-exposure prophylaxis, to lower your risk of contracting the virus dramatically. PrEP reduces the risk of HIV transmission by over 90%. The brand name for the drug is Truvada and is currently a popular method of prevention among those who are a high risk of getting HIV.
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