How not to catch HIV (and main forms of transmission)


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The main method to avoid contacting HIV is using a condom during sexual intercourse, whether anal, vaginal or oral, since this are the main ways by which the virus is transmitted.

However, HIV can also be transmitted by any other activity that involves contact with secretions from an infected person with the blood of another uninfected person. For this reason, some of the precaution that be taken include:

  • Do not share needles or syringes, always using new and disposable syringes and needles
  • Do not come into direct contact with wounds or body fluids of other people, and gloves should be used
  • Make use of PrEP if there is an increased risk of HIV exposure

HIV is transmitted through the blood and other secretions of the body and therefore by avoiding contact with these substances then one can avoid infection. However, there is a medication that is used in prevention of HIV called Truvada. It is prescribed if there is risk of exposure to the virus and it can also be taken 72 hours after exposure.

How HIV is transmitted

Transmission of HIV occurs when there is direct contact with infected blood or secretions of the infected individual. It cannot be transmitted through kissing or contact with infected sweat.

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If HIV can be transmitted through:HIV cannot be transmitted through:
Sexual intercourse without condom with infected individualKiss, even on the mouth, hug or handshake
From mother to child through childbirth or breastfeedingTears, sweat, clothes or sheets
Direct contact with infected bloodUse the same glass, cutlery or dish
Use the same needle or syringe as an infected individualUse the same bath or pool

Although HIV is a very contagious disease, it is still possible to lead a normal life and have a loving relationship with someone who is infected because kissing, sharing utensils or shaking hands do not transmit te virus. However, if the HIV patient is cut on the hand, caution should be taken to avoid coming into contact with the infected blood.

Here are the symptoms and how to take the HIV test:

Vertical TRANSMISSION OF HIV

Vertical transmission of HIV is the transmission of the HIV virus from infected mother to baby either through the placenta, during labour and when breastfeeding. The contamination can occur if the mother’s viral load id too high or when she breastfeeds the baby.

To avoid vertical transmission of HIV, it is recommended that the mother follows the treatment procedure even during pregnancy so as to reduce the viral load. She should also not breastfeed the baby but rather opt for milk from another mother, which can be obtained in the human milk bank or adopted milk.

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Did I get HIV?

To find out if you have caught the HIV virus, you should consult with the infeciologist approximately 3 moths after having sexual relations with an infected individual, so as to take a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

Therefor, anyone who has been exposed to the virus or has been engaging in risky sexual relations with infected people should take the test. In most cases it is offered free of charge in any testing and counselling centre. In addition, the test can also be done at home safely and quickly.

It is recommended that the test is taken 40 to 60 days after engaging in sexual intercourse with an infected person or when you begin to experience symptoms of HIV such as persisted candidiasis.

In some cases, health professional may sting themselves with infected needles and in this case, it is important to consult an infeciologist so as to take prophylactic dose of HIV remedies 72 hours after exposure so as to decrease the risk of contacting the HIV virus.


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