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Aids Prevention Tips
What is HIV? HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS. It can only affect human beings by destroying the bodys immune system, or lymphocytes or soldiers of the body, leaving the body vulnerable to all diseases.
Here's what everyone should know to protect themselves and others from infection with the AIDS virus (human immuno-deficiency virus, or HIV) ....
Last Updated - 12th October 2005
- HIV is contagious, but not in the same way that measles or chicken pox or the common cold are contagious. It is a sexually transmitted, blood-borne disease that spreads from one person to another in the following ways:
- By sexual intercourse between a man and a woman or between two men. The virus can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
- By sharing contaminated needles or "works" used to inject drugs.
- By an infected woman to her baby during pregnancy or delivery, and possibly through breast feeding.
- By transfusion of contaminated blood or blood components, although this risk has been sharply reduced by screening blood and blood donors and by new ways to process blood used to treat disorders such as hemophilia.
- Many people infected with the AIDS virus have no symptoms and may look and feel completely well for many years. But these people can transmit the virus to others. And a person can become infected after just a single exposure to the virus.
- The AIDS virus does NOT spread through casual social contact. In more than seven years of tracking and studying AIDS, scientists have found no evidence that HIV is spread casually through contact at school or on the job, by sharing meals or office equipment, or by handshakes or hugs with an infected person. There is no reason to avoid ordinary social contact with a person infected by HIV.
- There is no risk of getting AIDS by giving blood; new equipment is used for each donor.
- The AIDS virus is not spread by sexual intercourse between two people who maintain a sexual relationship exclusively with each other and who have not been previously infected.
- The best protection against sexually transmitted infection by the virus is, of course, to abstain from sex or to have a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected person. Avoiding sex with people who have AIDS, people who have tested positive for the AIDS virus antibody, or people at risk of infection would also eliminate the risk of sexually transmitted infection.
- Unless you're absolutely sure that your sex partner is not infected, avoid contact with his or her blood, semen, urine, feces, saliva, and vaginal secretions
- Use condoms, which will reduce (but not eliminate) the possibility of transmitting the virus.
- Avoid sexual practices that may cause tears in the vagina, rectum or penis.
- Avoid oral-genital contact without a condom.
- Avoid open-mouthed, intimate kissing.
- Do not have sex with multiple partners. The more partners you have, the greater your risk of infection.
- Do not use illegal intravenous drugs. If you do, never share needles or syringes.
If you think you may be infected, or if you have engaged in risky sexual or drug-related behavior:
For people who have received a positive result on the AIDS antibody test:
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