Effective Prevention Measures for HIV
The primary approach to preventing the spread of the HIV virus is to significantly lower your risk of contact with it. This can be achieved by having only protected sex (using a condom) and never sharing needles or any other kind of injecting tool with anybody else.
If you have the HIV virus, it is possible for you to spread it to other people. Once again, this can happen if you have unprotected sex or share injecting tools of any kind. At present, the best known pharmaceutical method of prevention is ART treatment. If you have HIV, but are taking ART medications, the risk of spreading the virus is significantly reduced.
It is absolutely vital that you know whether a prospective sexual partner has HIV before you become intimate with them. If you are the one with the virus, you have a moral and a legal obligation to inform your partner. For people who are at frequent risk of exposure, monthly HIV checks are very important.
The HIV virus can be spread via both unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse – any misconceptions that say HIV can only be caught from anal intercourse are just that, misconceptions. There is a degree of risk associated with oral sex, but it is significantly lower than that of penetration. However, you can catch HIV if you share sex toys with a person who has the virus.
The condom, or prophylactic, is available in a broad range of different colors, textures, tastes, and materials. Whilst you can buy female condoms, they are a lot less popular than the male variety. This is the single most successful method of prevention for HIV, aside from complete abstinence. You can use condoms for any kind of intercourse that you like, from vaginal to anal and oral.
As the HIV virus can be spread in the build up to climax, via the meeting of pre-ejaculate and vaginal or anal fluids, it is absolutely vital that condoms are applied before any kind of contact occurs between the genitals. If you insist on having unprotected intercourse, particularly with a number of different partners, you are putting yourself at a very high risk of contracting HIV.
It is common for couples to use lubricant to heighten the sensations of sexual intercourse and to increase the security of anal and vaginal penetration – lubricant contributes an extra layer of moisture to the genitals, so that there is less chance of friction breaking during sex. It is important to remember that only water based lubricants can be safely used with condoms.
Needles and Injecting Tools
If you are a user of intravenous drugs, you must never share needles, syringes, or any other kind of injecting tool with another person. The same rules apply for swabs and spoons as all of these things can spread the HIV virus. There are lots of local organisations and medical groups which run needle exchange schemes. These allow drug users to swap potentially dangerous needles for clean ones without the fear of legal recrimination.
If you are planning to get a tattoo or a piercing, it is absolutely imperative that a completely fresh and unused needle is employed to do the work. In fact, make sure that you see the needle being taken out of its sterile packaging before you agree to be pierced or tattooed.
Screening for Pregnant Women
It is routine for pregnant women to be offered a blood test to make sure that they do not have the HIV virus – this is offered to most women and does not indicate that a doctor or specialist believes that you have HIV. If there is any chance that you might have the virus, the test makes sure that it is identified as soon as possible, so that treatment can be used to protect the baby.