HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, and it stays in your body for life. This virus attacks cells that help us to fight infections and causes us to be more susceptible to disease and infections. HIV is spread through human contact and bodily fluids during unprotected sex or sharing injection drug equipment. Here is a list of basic HIV prevention tips you should know.
Untreated HIV Can Lead To AIDS
This acronym refers to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the late stage of the HIV virus if it is left untreated. Thankfully we have developed medication to treat the virus and prevent HIV from becoming AIDS. The key, obviously, is to be aware that you are carrying HIV, and begin to protect yourself from getting it.
You Are Safer Taking PrEP
A prevention strategy is to take advantage of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, a pill to significantly reduce your risk of getting HIV. Taking one antiretroviral pill each day is a way to reduce infection rates.
Clinical studies have shown that this HIV prevention tip can reduce infection in men having sex with men, heterosexual active adults, and injection drug users. It should also be used in tandem with other preventative measures like using condoms.
Using Condoms Remains Effective
Unless you are remaining abstinent, using a condom not only prevents pregnancy, but also protects you from HIV and sexual transmitted diseases, STDs. It is especially important to prevent sexually transmitted diseases since they can lead to HIV infections due to disturbing the tissue in the vagina or anus.
Don’t Share Needles
Estimates suggest that 20 – 40% of needle users are infected with HIV. Regrettably, it’s not only the users who are at risk but their sexual partners too. Needle exchange programs are available in many states to combat this unfortunate crisis.
You Can Prevent Infection Even After Exposure
Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV can begin a course of antiretroviral medications known as PEP or post exposure prophylaxis. It is a 28 day course and if taken within 72 hours of exposure, can reduce the risk by up to 81%.
This antiretroviral therapy can also be used to prevent transmission from pregnant mother to child. Talk with Dr. Tricia Shimer to find out more.
Treatment Such As Prevention TasP Is New And Effective
Studies have shown that when HIV infected people have an undetected viral load or a low load, they cannot pass the virus to others. When the viral load is suppressed, the risk of transmission is zero for anal, vaginal, and oral sex.
If you are living with HIV or feel that you are susceptible, it’s important to see Dr. Tricia Shimer regularly, especially if you decide to become pregnant.
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (469) 364-3760 today!