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HIV/AIDS: How it Spreads, Causes & Consequences

What is HIV/AIDS?

Abbreviated as the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV is a type of virus that attacks the immune system of the body. In case the person getting HIV does not get treatment, it then leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Once a person has been infected with HIV – they then have this virus for their whole life. However, one can lead a healthy and long life if proper medical treatment and care are given timely.

Causes

The causes for the spread of HIV are myriad. HIV can spread by coming in sexual contact, injection of drugs by using shared needles, coming in close contact with blood that’s been infected, or from a mother to her child during pregnancy.

How the Spread of HIV Takes Place

By Having Sex

When the semen or vaginal secretions enter the body of a partner in a sexual act – then the other partner gets HIV. They ways in which the virus can enter the body is through mouth sores or small tears. These things are basically formed in the rectum or vagina – and this happens during the act of having sex.

Sharing of Needles

A person is at a very high risk of getting HIV if that person is injected with a needle that’s already used or contaminated. By doing so a person is at an extremely high risk of getting the disease.

Blood Transfusions

There have also been scenarios when people got infected due to the transmission of HIV through blood transfusions. Especially in the first world countries – medical institutions like blood banks and hospitals test the blood donors they recieve for HIV. By first-world countries, we mean the upper-middle-income countries. The countries that lie in the third-world-country list are the most susceptible to the spread of HIV due to blood transfusion – because these countries mostly do not afford to screen the donated blood for testing.

Pregnant Mothers

Mothers that are infected with HIV, can pass on HIV to their newborn babies. The baby can get the virus in any phase from the development inside the womb to delivery or during breastfeeding.

However, if the pregnant lady gets proper treatment during pregnancy, then the risk of her baby getting the HIV virus lowers to a great extent.

How to Prevent HIV from Spreading

When it comes to HIV prevention – you can play an effective role.

Protect Yourself While Having Sex

  • Go the less risky route of having sex. Oral sex has a much lower risk of getting HIV than anal or vaginal sex.
  • Use a condom so that neither of the partners gets infected.

Careful Injection Drug Use

  • Whenever you need to inject a medicinal drug – use new and clean syringes along with other injection equipment.
  • Find a syringe services program SSP near you to get new needles and syringes and know how to dispose of them the right way.

Protect Others If Your Have Virus

  • Take proper treatment and medicines.
  • Let your sexual partner know that you have HIVAIDS before deciding to have sex.
  • Get the virus under control with fast treatment.

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