HIV/AIDS is a disease that continues to be a threat to the health of people around the world. Aids has become one of the most common diseases in the world today, with 1.2 million new cases being reported each year, with more than 50% of those infections being in sub-Saharan Africa. In some areas, it is now the leading cause of death among young adults between 15 and 24 years old. This article will discuss the prevention of HIV/Aids from a personal perspective.
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A Personal Approach to Prevention of HIV/AIDS
When we were kids, we were told to “Protect Yourself” against HIV/AIDS. We were also told not to use needles, not to have sex before marriage, and so on. But do you really know how to protect yourself from this disease?
First and foremost, I think it is important for people to know what HIV/AIDS is, and what causes it. HIV/AIDS is a disease that can affect anyone at any time. It does not discriminate between rich or poor, men or women, young or old. It can attack the immune system of anyone and there is no way to tell who will be infected with the virus.
The first case of HIV was reported in 1959. Since then, we have been engaged in a continued race to find a cure. After four decades, HIV remains a global public health issue with strenuous emotional, social, and economic impacts. Albeit, we have made tremendous strides in preventive strategies. There are several in which we can be exposed to the virus, and these strategies were developed to respond to these risk factors.
Prevention strategies for HIV/Aids
- Effective use of PPEs
Some occupations put you at constant risk of HIV infection. Healthcare workers and other rescue workers, for instance, work environments where physical injury is common. In such cases, using protective barriers like condoms, gloves, gowns, and goggles helps minimize the exchange of bodily fluids, the primary transmission mode for HIV. Personal responsibility, therefore, helps manage the risks of exposure to the virus. Anytime you are in a high-risk environment quickly assess the type of risk involved and choose the appropriate protective barrier.
2. Duration of exposure
It takes 72 hours after exposure for infection to take place. Exposure could be due to not using protective barriers or their malfunction. If you feel you have been exposed, the 72-hour rule informs of how much time you have before infection can take place. Quick responsiveness will help protect you against HIV. If you visit a health facility before the time lapses, you can disrupt the infection process.
3. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) Treatment
This is a 28-day treatment program to prevent an exposed individual from being infected with the virus. Be honest and share with your healthcare worker the details of the exposure. The health practitioner needs to ascertain the likelihood and duration of that exposure. It is also recommended that your HIV be established before deciding on a treatment plan. When your healthcare provider is confident that you were exposed within the last 72 hours, they take you through Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). A treatment plan aimed at stopping the infection process. The course includes weekly counseling sessions and an ARV regimen. Adherence to the full program is highly emphasized. The program covers people of all ages. Breastfeeding mothers on PEP, however, need not take their infants through the program. Instead, they should breastfeed them normally.
Using condoms is a proven way to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from one person to another. Condoms are cheap and easy to use.
You can use a diaphragm for contraception as well as a condom for protection against HIV/AIDS and other STDs, provided you use it correctly. Condoms are not always 100% effective in preventing the transmission of STDs, so you have to use other methods too when you want to avoid getting pregnant or contracting an STD such as HIV/AIDS or herpes.
6. Stay away from Alcohol
Avoid alcohol when you want to prevent pregnancy and HIV/AIDS since alcohol lowers your inhibitions which can lead you into situations where you might get infected with these diseases. You may also be more likely to engage in unsafe sex if you drink alcohol because it dulls your senses and makes it easier for you to do things that are dangerous, including having sex without protection against HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
7. Keep off recreational drugs
Avoid recreational drugs, like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. These drugs can impair your judgment so that you might engage in unsafe sex. Also, they can lower your inhibitions which may cause you to have unprotected sex with people who are infected with HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
8. Birth Control pills won’t help in the prevention of HIV/AIDS
Always use condoms during sexual intercourse even if you are taking birth control pills since birth control pills do not always prevent pregnancy and they do not protect against the transmission of STDs, including HIV/AIDS. It is important to know this because it is still possible for you to get pregnant if you are on birth control pills or if you take them at the wrong time of the month (when your body is most fertile) or forget about taking them altogether when using a condom is a better option than having unprotected sex without contraception because using condoms during sexual intercourse is safe even if you’re on birth control pills or have other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus or a sexually transmitted disease.
9. Use Contraceptives as prescribed by a doctor
If you are taking birth control pills, it is best to take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not start taking birth control pills unless your doctor has told you that you can take them without any medical supervision and it is safe to do so. If your doctor tells you that you should not use birth control pills, talk to him/her before using them since he/she is the one who will prescribe them for you and he/she knows what conditions make it safe for you to use them.
10. You should always be aware of the symptoms of STDs like HIV/AIDS and other STDs so that if any of these symptoms show up, you will know what to do about it immediately since many people don’t have an idea how these diseases affect their bodies or when they start getting sick. This is especially important if someone in your family has already been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or another STD such as herpes or genital warts because you might be at risk for contracting the same disease if exposed to it.
11. Learn how HIV/AIDS is transmitted
You should also be aware that other ways can also transmit HIV/AIDS and other STDs besides unprotected sex with an infected partner, including by sharing drugs or needles or by coming into contact with blood from an infected person. It is important to know this so that you will not get exposed to these diseases if someone in your family has already been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or another STD such as herpes, genital warts, or syphilis.
12. Stay Informed on HIV/AIDS
It is good for you to be up-to-date about the latest information on HIV/AIDS and other STDs because this will help you avoid being exposed to these diseases if someone in your family has already been diagnosed with them and they are doing well on treatment so that you don’t have to worry about catching them when they are in their advanced stages of the disease. You can also learn more about HIV/AIDS and other STDs from reliable websites that provide you with information on these diseases.
13. Educate others on HIV/AIDS
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or another STD such as herpes, genital warts, or syphilis, it is very important to inform yourself about the symptoms of these diseases so that you can know if any of them show up in you or your family members. This will help you to get treatment for any diseases that might be affecting them when they are not aware of how they are feeling or when they need medical attention and care. It is also important to know how to treat these diseases because some of them can be cured and others cannot and it is important to know which ones cannot be treated because if left untreated, these diseases can cause death.