The HIV virus is spread through direct contact with an infected person’s body fluids like breast milk, blood, vaginal fluid and semen. However, it can never be spread through casual contact like shaking hands or even hugging since the virus does not survive outside the body for a long time. Moreover, the virus is never spread through urine, faeces, vomit, tears or even sweat. Most of the times, the virus is spread through having unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex. This article will give an insight into the precautions that one can take to avoid contracting the HIV infection
Using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
This is a preventive medication against HIV for the people who are at a high risk of contracting the infection. It is common among many people and readily available in health centres in order to minimize the number of people in society with the infection. Research indicates that Truvada, a South African PrEP kind of drug which is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine has been so effective in alleviating sex workers from HIV infection. Note that strictly following the instructions when taking PrEP and using other protective measures is the best way to protect yourself against getting infected.
Taking a Step after Exposure to HIV Infection
At times, you can realize that you have been in contact with breast milk, semen, and blood or vagina fluid from an infected person. At this time, it would be hard to establish whether you have been infected or not. Within 72 hours of exposure, you can take PEP which is an antiviral medication aimed at reducing the chances of infection. This drug is available to those that have been sexually assaulted, those who shared drug needles with infected persons or those that work in medical environments and have been exposed to the infection. The medication lasts for 28 days. It is good to note that you should not rely on this medication to substitute the other measures of prevention.
Practising Safe Sex
Mutual masturbation, erotic massage and kissing are safe sex activities that you cannot get an HIV infection from. However, having unprotected oral sex increases that chances of getting the infection. Neither having unprotected sex nor unprotected oral sex is safer but research indicates that unprotected sex is far worse than unprotected oral sex.
Know Your Partner’s And Your HIV Status
You can never be safe without taking precautions. Getting to know your partner’s status first before engaging in sex for the first time is a precaution that is worth taking. If your partner is okay, you can then go ahead and ensure that this partner becomes your only sexual partner to avoid multiple sex partners who would then increase the chances of you contracting the disease. Not everyone will be comfortable and completely honest to disclose their sexual life hence having a test is very necessary.
Know Your HIV Status
To protect yourself and the people you love, it is very necessary to get tested since you would never know your next step of action without being tested. However, establishing the presence of the virus in the body during the window period is hard. That is why would need a test after every six months in order to keep track of your status. That way, you will be able to protect your friends and family by not infecting them without being aware.
Once every six months, you should make sure that you and your sexual partners undergo an HIV status test. You should then make sure that you stick to your partner and avoid sleeping around with multiple partners. This reduces the chances of you contracting HIV from the infected people. If the tests come out negative, you cannot contract the virus from your partner through unprotected sex.
HIV prevention calls for one to avoid contact with the infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk. You can avoid all this by practising safe sex, avoiding unprotected sex, knowing your partner’s HIV status as well as your status, staying away from drugs, abstaining, being faithful to one sex partner, considering PrEP or PEP, being circumcised and avoiding infecting the unborn in cases where the mother is infected. When this happens, you can ensure that you