Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): Are you at risk?

November 2, 2018 6:39 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Every 1st of December, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrate the World AIDS Day to raise awareness of AIDS caused by HIV infections. According to WHO, 36.9 million people were infected with HIV virus and it has been a problem ever since.

By 2020, the WHO’s Millennium Development Goal 6, wishes to achieve universal access to treatment for HIV and AIDS. The vision of this MDG is to lower the cases of the people dying with AIDS and stop the growth of HIV cases around the world.

HIV is still a problem that each of us may be a victim of. And the government has been trying to reach every individual to educate about it.

 

What is Human Immunodeficiency Virus?

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that spread throughout the body and attack the body’s immune system. Over time, HIV virus will kill all the cells that helps our body to fight foreign substances causing infection and diseases. Therefore, if a person is an HIV positive, he/she is susceptible or vulnerable to infectious viruses.

If untreated, the HIV virus will weaken and reduce the number of cells that helps our immune system making it hard to fight off the opportunistic pathogens that eventually take over the very weak immune system which is sign that the person who is HIV positive has now acquired AIDS.

HIV is a form of STI…

Sexually transmitted infection or also known as sexually transmitted disease is an infection acquired from a person through sexual contact like vaginal intercourse, anal sex, and oral sex. Here are the signs and symptoms of STI that you should watch out for.

  • Painful urination – It is the stinging and burning sensation that a person feels that occurs when urinating which is a sign of possible STI.
  • Severe itchiness – Yes, it is normal that your genital to itch. Well, most likely after you shave but don’t take it lightly when this symptom shows. Your genital tract may have acquired a bacterial infection that causes STI.
  • Pain during sex – Feeling pain instead of pleasure during sex? You might want to consult your doctor. Feeling pain during sexual intercourse is abnormal. This may be a sign that you have an STI.
  • Yellowish discharge – It is commonly normal for women to have a vaginal discharge before their monthly period. But a frequent yellowish discharge that is usually associated with unpleasant odor indicates that there is a bacterial infection in the genital tract.

These are the following STI that associates with the symptoms given above:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis
  • Genital warts

As soon as you see these signs and symptoms, consult your doctor to prevent complications and to prevent the spread of STI to your partner.

How is it transmitted?

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Here’s what you need to know about the modes of transmission of HIV.

  • Anal Sex – It is the riskiest sexual behavior of acquiring HIV. The reason behind why anal sex has the highest risk of HIV transmission is because of the anal mucosal tissue is more delicate than the lining of the vagina and is more easily damaged. So, when a semen containing HIV virus released in the anal, the anal mucosal tissue will absorb it faster because the said tissue is thin.
  • Vaginal Sex – It is the most common mode of transmission of HIV. In vaginal sex, a woman may acquire HIV because the lining of her vagina and cervix allows HIV to enter her body through the form of body fluids, like semen or pre-seminal fluids, coming from her partner who has the HIV virus. The lining of the vagina and cervix is also the same with anal but much thicker.
  • Oral Sex – There is a risk of passing HIV virus through oral sex. The virus tends to be absorbed when there are open cuts and sores in the mouth.

These are the following body fluids:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Breastmilk

Myths of HIV Transmission…

 

To end the stigma, we should educate ourselves on what is wrong to right. People living with HIV tend to be bullied and isolated from their loved ones. So, here are the following myths about HIV transmission:

  • You may acquire HIV through kissing
  • Hugging a person with HIV makes you an HIV positive
  • Using public toilet seats
  • Sharing food and utensils
  • When an HIV positive person accidentally sneezes or cough on you
  • Insect bites
  • Bathing

Is there a Cure???

 

There is no available cure in HIV as of now but there is available treatment to control the pathogenicity of the virus. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a medicine that is a combination of two or more groups of drugs that every drug has its own function in fighting the virus in different ways.

The physician will prescribe an ART based on how well is your immune system and what are the diseases and infection you would likely to get during the medication.

The patient is required to take the pill every day and every three to six months, he/she will undergo various test to see if the medicine is working and if so, the viral load should decrease. If the ART successful, the viral load will furtherly decrease making the virus undetectable.

Ways to Prevent HIV…

  • Abstinence – For the young people out there, it is advice to abstain from sexual intercourse as much as possible to avoid acquiring HIV.
  • Be mutually faithful – Sticking on to one partner lessen the risk of getting an HIV. Practice monogamy.
  • Correct and consistent use of condom – Always practice safe and protected sex.
  • Lubricants – Lubricants or lube makes sex safer by reducing the risk of anal or vaginal tears due to friction or dryness
  • Don’t do drugs and alcohol
  • Educate and early detection – Educate yourself about the risk of HIV and AIDS and get tested.

Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/analsex.html, https://www.avert.org/hiv-transmission-prevention/unprotected-sex,

Are You at Risk?

 

HIV is still a stigma in the society and we should change this. Everybody is at risk in HIV. You can help to lessen the growing rate of HIV and AIDS cases around the world by educating yourself and sharing the word to the people around you.

We should be aware on what is not only happening in the HIV community but also to your own body. Get tested and know your HIV status. If negative, you can continue to protect yourself from getting HIV, and if positive, get treated to live normally and healthily.

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We’re hoping that this has helped in some way. If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section and we will be more than happy to help you out as much as we can.

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All the best,
Jacy and Ryan (TMD Team)

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