What is HIV? How do you get it? Do I have it? These are questions many people are asking themselves. HIV is a fast-spreading disease that does not discriminate according to age, gender, or race. It can affect anyone and everyone who is not careful.
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that causes the body’s immune system to weaken or slow down, leaving it much more susceptible to diseases and other ailments. HIV is the leading cause of AIDS, which is a result of the weakening of the immune system by the virus. While the virus itself is not a disease it can progress to the point that it becomes AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which is a combination of complications and illnesses that make up to the syndrome.
One of the main questions people ask is “How do you get it?” HIV is commonly transmitted through unprotected sex with an individual that has the virus already. Another way is by sharing needles (i.e. drug use) with an infected person. Also it can be given from mother to child during birth, during the pregnancy, or during breastfeeding. But another common way it is transmitted is by the blood through blood-to-blood contact, meaning an open wound, or by organ transplant with an organ that is infected.
Preventing the spread of HIV is somewhat easy. One way is to always use protection – condoms – while having intercourse. Another is simply checking to see if a sexual partner has the virus. Make sure the partner does not have any genital rashes or lumps, because those may be signs of HIV or other STDs. Another way is to make sure that anyone who has it does not let his or her blood come in contact with any open sore or cut one may have. To make sure one does not have HIV, it is recommended to have one’s self tested every six months. Early detection is best because new drugs have proven effective in slowing the damaging effects of the virus on the immune system, and an otherwise healthy and normal life...