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7 Safety Tips for HIV Control & Prevention
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports an average of 35.0 million people worldwide with HIV, with about 2.1 million people newly infected in 2013. It’s imperative to stay educated on HIV/AIDS to help control and prevent disease transmission. Acquiring insight and carrying out safety measures empowers individuals in their personal health and wellbeing of others.
7 Safety Tips for HIV Control & Prevention:
1. Get Tested. Several HIV testing options are available such as home kits, and blood exams which are more commonly done in healthcare facilities. For optimal results it's best to test for HIV through a blood sample, which can be done in most clinics and medical facilities. Please visit AIDS.gov for testing information and to find a local clinic in your area.
2. Ask Questions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares commonly asked questions on HIV transmission and prevention. For instance, how safe are condoms in preventing the transmission of HIV? How can someone with HIV prevent the spread of disease when living with other people? Can male circumcision stop the transmission of HIV? The CDC addresses these questions and more. Visit the CDC to read more on HIV control and prevention.
3. Practice Safe Sex. Protect yourself and your partner by wearing a condom each time you have sexual intercourse. Using condoms doesn’t guarantee any exposure to HIV, but it does help control the spread of viral infection.
4. Refrain From Using Contaminated Sharps. Used needles and contaminated sharps increase the risk of HIV transmission and other infections that can pose health risks. The CDC notes, “Injecting drugs, including hormones, steroids, or silicone, can transmit HIV directly through needles or equipment (works).” The CDC also mentions how drug use may pose HIV risks by decreasing self-consciousness and increasing the likelihood of risky behavior.
5. Inform Partners. If you test positive or suspect HIV infection, be sure to inform sexual partners. Sexual partners should also get tested for potential viral transmission, as well as seek medical advice if they too suspect viral infection.
6. Seek Medical Advice. Medical professionals can assist in answering questions and concerns on HIV/AIDS transmission. If you tested positive or suspect HIV infection, please contact your healthcare provider for further testing and prompt medical care.
7. Stick to the Treatment Plan: Medical treatment for HIV/AIDS aims to control viral replication for optimal wellbeing and disease management. Medical modalities use combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) to stop viral replication at different stages. According to the WHO, when reproduction of HIV stops immune cells have a longer lifespan, protecting the body against infections. WHO comments further on ART therapy mentioning, “If the HIV positive partner in a couple is on ART, the likelihood of sexual transmission to the HIV-negative partner decreases dramatically by 96%.”
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.