HIV and AIDS: Causes and Risk Factors You Should Be Aware of
What is HIV and AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that targets the human immune system. The virus is responsible for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV infects immune system cells, particularly CD4 cells, which are responsible for fighting infection. This virus, if left untreated, can weaken the immune system and make the human body more susceptible to infections and dangerous diseases.
How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV can only be transmitted through:
- Vaginal fluid
- Anal fluid
- Mother's milk
Let's take a closer look at the causes and methods of HIV transmission.
Causes of HIV in Women and Men
1. Unsafe Sexual Relations
One of the main causes of HIV transmission to women and men is unsafe sex.
- Without Protection
Sexual activity without protection, such as condoms, or with an HIV-infected partner increases the risk of HIV transmission significantly. To reduce the risk of HIV transmission, it is critical to understand the importance of using protection such as condoms with each sexual partner.
- Without Loyalty
Unfaithful sex is another significant cause. The risk of HIV transmission increases significantly when a person has sex outside of a stable and faithful partner. It is important to be open with your partner about your HIV status and take the necessary precautions.
- High-Risk Group
High-risk groups, such as sex workers and men who have sex with other men (LGBT), are also more likely to contract HIV.
As a result, it is vital to provide this group with HIV-related information and resources, such as condom use, support services, and treatment.
2. Injection needle
Needles are one of the most potent ways to spread HIV. This happens when an individual uses a needle that has been contaminated with blood containing HIV.
- Uses of Needles
Women and men use injections for a variety of purposes, including narcotic injections, hormone therapy, and other intravenous therapy. HIV infection is more likely in men and women who share the same or non-sterile needles.
- High-Risk Population
Some groups of people are at a higher risk of contracting HIV through needle sharing. Narcotic users, for example, frequently engage in risky behaviours such as sharing needles. As a result, they are more vulnerable to HIV infection.
Furthermore, medical personnel involved in practices that involve the use of injections, such as treatment procedures, are at high risk of HIV infection if sterilisation procedures are not followed correctly.
3. Unsafe Blood Transfusions and Blood Products
Although uncommon, unsafe blood transfusions and the use of blood products can also result in HIV transmission. A person is more likely to contract HIV if they receive blood from an HIV-infected donor or use blood products that have not been properly purified.
Preventive measures can be taken with proper medical practice to ensure the safety of blood transfusions and the use of blood products.
4. Lack of Awareness
HIV transmission to women and men is also caused by a lack of HIV knowledge and awareness, as well as appropriate preventive measures. Inadequate education about HIV and the risk of transmission can lead to unintentionally unsafe behaviour.
5. Transmission from Mother to Child
One of the most common routes for HIV transmission to women is from an HIV-infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
However, the risk of transmission to the baby can be greatly reduced with proper prenatal care, ongoing monitoring, and antiretroviral treatment.
6. Stigma and Discrimination
HIV-related social stigma and discrimination can also lead to virus transmission. Many people are afraid to get an HIV test or seek treatment for fear of being judged or shunned by society.
As a result, it is critical to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination through education, awareness, and the promotion of acceptance and support for HIV-positive people.
HIV is NOT transmitted through this method!
Here are some ways HIV is not contagious that every individual needs to understand:
#1 Through Insect Bites
One key point to remember is that HIV cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites, cockroaches, or other insects. HIV requires a unique environment to survive and reproduce, and it can only be found in the human body.
#2 Through Saliva
HIV cannot be transmitted via saliva, tears, or sweat. You will not get HIV if you share a drinking glass, or a cup, or eat the same food as someone who has HIV. To be contagious, the virus must be present in large quantities in the blood, vaginal fluid, or sperm.
#3 Through Contact
HIV also cannot be transmitted through casual contact. This means that hugging, greeting or doing casual activities like shaking hands will not cause the virus to spread. HIV requires a specific route such as through blood or vaginal fluids.
#4 Through Sexual Activity That Does Not Involve the Exchange of Body Fluids
Sexual activity such as touching or sex toys that do not involve the exchange of bodily fluids will not result in HIV transmission. It is important to note, however, that unprotected sex, without condoms, carries the risk of HIV transmission if one of the partners is HIV positive.
#5 Through Air
HIV cannot be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. The virus cannot survive in the presence of airborne particles and must come into direct contact with infected bodily fluids.
By understanding these facts, we can eliminate stigma and unfounded fears about HIV.
Reduce Your Risk for HIV
Several measures can be taken to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Here are some important precautions you can take to lower your risk:
- Condom use
Use a condom whenever you have sex, especially if you don't know your partner's HIV status. Condoms are one of the most effective methods of preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
- Avoid sharing needles
If you use a syringe, don't share the needle with anyone else. To prevent HIV transmission through blood, it is critical to use clean and sterile needles.
- Routine inspection
Get regular HIV testing, especially if you have an HIV-infected partner, have sex without a condom, or use injections. Early HIV detection aids in the effective treatment of the infection.
- Sexual education
Comprehensive sexual education will provide you with accurate information about HIV and AIDS. Understanding how HIV is transmitted and how to reduce your risk can help you make the best sexual health decisions.
There is currently no effective HIV vaccine. Other vaccinations, such as hepatitis B, can help reduce the risk of other viral infections, which can raise the risk of HIV infection.
- Prevention of drug use
Avoid using illegal drugs, and seek help and support from the authorities if you have a drug abuse problem.
Raise Your Awareness Today!
By raising awareness about HIV, we can protect ourselves and others and reduce the number of individuals affected by the disease. Together, we can fight HIV and achieve a world free of this virus. So, don't wait any longer! Take care of your health starting today!
*The free doctor consult initiative is supported and fully funded by DoctorOnCall