HIV/AIDS Prevention

Practicing HIV/AIDS prevention is the best way to never get HIV/AIDS. This article looks at prevention methods and which might work best. Education about HIV and AIDS continues to be a vital resource in helping prevent contracting this serious infection.

Prevention efforts to protect yourself from HIV/AIDS or any other type of sexually transmitted disease include not only safe-sex practices, but educating yourself about how AIDS and HIV can spread from person to person.

What is HIV?
  • HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • HIV is detrimental to the body through attacks on the human immune system. A person’s immune system is designed to keep infection away by attacking the kinds of viruses that cause internal damage. However, HIV works by attacking the immune system directly, which stops it from being able to protect itself. The immune system is then damaged so severely that it allows the body to develop AIDS.
What is AIDS?
  • AIDS is the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • AIDS usually develops within the first 10 years following the contraction of the HIV infection. If left untreated, it takes about that long on average for the HIV to kill the healing cells produced by the immune system. AIDS then develops in the body, once the immune system can no longer fight the infection.
  • A person with an already weak immune system from improper nutrition or other types of illness is at a higher risk to develop AIDS more quickly.
How can HIV/AIDS be transferred from person to person?
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse with  someone infected by HIV/AIDS
  • Direct contact with blood from an infected person.
  • Needle-used drugs can transfer HIV between the drug users using the same needle.
  • A infected mother can also give the infection to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and through breast milk.
Other HIV/AIDS prevention efforts:
  • Abstinence from any form of sexual contact where there is the transference of semen to stop spreading the infection to other sexual partners.
  • Be careful around an HIV/AIDS-infected person’s blood.
  • Practicing safe sex in a monogamous relationship only where you know your partner is not infected with HIV.
  • Correctly use a latex condom each and every time.
Knowing what signs and symptoms to watch for are key in helping you to determine if you have contracted HIV. Catching the infection early is the best way to engage in early and more effective treatment options.
  • The first signs and symptoms of AIDS development occurs when the infected person develops some sort of AIDS-related condition or cancer. This happens through an “opportunistic infection.” AIDS  is more difficult to treat than HIV and is more damaging and can be fatal. It is referred to as an “opportunistic” type of infection because it takes advantage of the opportunity of a severely weekend immune system and it attacks the body.
  • A person is still able to develop AIDS even if they have not developed an opportunistic infection. This can happen when the cells (CD4 cells) of the immune system of an HIV-infected person drop below a certain level.
  • Early AIDS/HIV symptoms in the first few weeks after contracting HIV are different than the symptoms seen later in the illness. Within the first few weeks you may experience flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat and rash. However, after you have had the infection for a few years, the symptoms get worse. They begin to include chronic diarrhea, severe weight loss, fever, cough and swollen lymph nodes.
  • If the HIV is left treated or necessary medications are taken in time, the infection will develop into AIDS. AIDS symptoms are even more severe symptoms including soaking night sweats, shaking, chills, fever, chronic diarrhea, unusual lesions on the tongue or mouth, headache, chronic fatigue, distorted vision, severe weight loss and skin rashes and raised bumps across the body.
Despite new treatment options through the advancement of modern medical science since the disease was first seen in the 1980s, individuals are still developing AIDS. This may stem from the fact that many do not realized they are infected and don’t get treatment with antiretroviaral medication before it is too late. Others at risk of allowing HIV to go untreated are infected individuals who live in underdeveloped areas where they do not have access to treatment. This is why AIDS continues to be a growing problem in areas with poor health care access and a severe lack of treatment opportunities. A lack of educational opportunities about HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in these areas is also a contributing problem.
Treatment options:
  • Unfortunately there is still not a cure available for HIV or AIDS. However, there is now a more and more treatment options that can help prevent symptoms and the illness from progressing for many years.
  • The antiretroviral is a medicated treatment system that works through a of a series of drugs. These medications must be taken each and every day for the rest of the infected person’s life in order to be effective in staving off the symptoms and development of AIDS.
  • The antiretroviral drugs work to keep the amount of HIV in a person’s system as low as possible. This helps minimize the damage to a person’s immune system.
  • The infected person often receives the treatment through multiple medications in a method called combination therapy. This is the best way to treat HIV. It helps to stop the infection from becoming drug resistant. It would become most ineffective if only one medication was used for treatment.