HIV Prevention: What you need to know in brief:
The highly infectious HIV has been known for the last 30 years. Despite the improving knowledge about HIV prevention, virus pathogenic mechanisms and development of improved testing and treatment protocols, the disease seems to spread in an unstoppable tempo through underdeveloped countries, but in developed countries as well. In fact, and according to the CDC (Center of Disease Control) new infections with HIV in the United States occur every 9 1/2 minutes and it is estimated that 1 in 5 people living with HIV in the U.S. are not aware they have been infected.The important question remains how to prevent the spread of this potentially deadly disease; and who should be tested for?
To control HIV infection rate and helping HIV prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their regular health care routine. The range of age chosen tends to be the one with the highest rate of sexual activity, but also occupational and social exposure (e.g. health care professionals, etc.). Individuals at high risk of acquiring the infection are even recommended to be tested for HIV every six months.
HIV Prevention is The Best Treatment
While continuous research and development have provided us with new treatment options, HIV prevention is still the only and best way of surviving the disease or its complications. But the most important point to remember about HIV prevention is that it requires education about HIV transmission(Read More About HIV Transmission), modes of HIV prevention, and a strong collaboration between you and your health care professional.
Also, you should keep in mind that in the same way you might be at risk of inquiring HIV(Read More About HIV inquiring), the same risk exists for your partner who would be at danger of being infected by you during unprotected sex and unknown status. So it is important to now your status!
The HIV status(Read more about HIV Symptoms) of an individual can only be determined by proper testing. If you are suspecting a HIV infection or have been lately exposed to risky situations such as unprotected sexual encounter with a person of an unknown HIV status, ask your medical provider about HIV testing or contact the Division of Public Health Services, Infectious Disease Prevention, Investigation and Care Services Section for more information.
By getting tested you will know your status which will help you to prevent others, but most importantly yourself from possible new infection.
Currently, the government is offering free or low expense testing opportunities all across the country. The Division of Public Health Services(Click to find a Free HIV Test Center) supports limited testing sites around the state. These sites may charge a small fee for the testing services; this is money well spent. Clients receive confidential counseling, personalized education, HIV testing and referrals for medical and supportive services with the highest levels of professionalism and client confidentiality at every site.
Who Should Be Tested for HIV?
The CDC has set up a clear protocol in order to better help to determine your need of being tested for HIV.
You should be tested for HIV if you belong to one of the following groups:
- 13–64 years of age
- Pregnant women during the course of each pregnancy
- Higher risk exposure to the HIV virus; these individuals are advised to be tested more frequently.
Individuals at higher risk may include employees of certain professions or drug users. Persons at higher risk for HIV exposure are:
- Men who have unprotected (without a condom) sex with other men
- Persons who share needles or piercing equipment
- Persons who have unprotected sex with several partners
- Persons who have a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Persons who have unprotected sex with a person infected with HIV
- Persons who have unprotected sex with a person whose HIV status they do not know
- Persons who have been exposed to the blood, semen, vaginal secretions and/or breast milk of someone who may be infected with HIV.
How can the spread of HIV be prevented?
Currently there is no vaccine for HIV prevention and no cure for AIDS. Education about HIV and avoidance of exposure to HIV-infected material – blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk- remain the key and the only effective means of HIV prevention. Simple measures like limiting the number of sexual partners and avoiding sexual activities with individuals with an unknown HIV status, use of condoms, use of clean and sterile instruments (e.g. needles, etc.) are just a few simple ways to avoid the potentially deadly disease. Pregnant women should seek immediate medical care.
Life is beautiful and full of adventures. Some moments are just breathtaking and tentative to forget all the risks that our behavior might bring with itself. Simple rules to be followed, and simple mistakes to avoid can make life so much more enjoyable and keep regrets away. Self education has become very accessible thanks to the World Wide Web and almost everybody can gather and learn from the wast amount of information provided out there. Furthermore, speaking with your health care provider can not only reduce the risks of acquiring several diseases, but can also help to be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner which might just be the right thing to avoid disease progress and further complications.
We discussed about HIV Prevention in this blog post, you can read more about what HIV is, How it is transmitted and HIV symptoms and stages in our previous posts, we will discuss more about HIV infection and AIDS statistics in the world.