HIV Infection or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS. HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, and age. Several factors including the communities in which you live and what subpopulations you belong to can increase your risk of getting the infection.
What are the Symptoms of HIV ?
- Sore throat
- Joint and muscle pain
- Swollen glands
- Skin rash
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Extreme tiredness
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
What Causes HIV Infection?
HIV infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. It spreads through the virus by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV. The medication for this condition is expensive and has limited sources. Many people in the world living with the virus and its complications still have a hard time getting the medicine they need.
Three Factors that Increases Your Risk of HIV Infection
- Community or environmental factor. Living in a place where most people are infected with the virus may expose your to the infection. The chance of being exposed to HIV by having sex, sharing needles, or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV increases your risk. The prevalence of HIV can vary among different subpopulations.
- Subpopulations. In the United States, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are the population most affected by HIV. African-Americans and the Hispanic population are more affected by HIV than other races. Transgender women having multiple sex partners or unhealthy sexual activity are also at risk of the infection.
- Risk Behaviors. HIV is spread mainly through having anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles or syringes with an HIV-positive partner. Anal sex is the highest-risk behavior.
Other Considerable Risk Factors of HIV
- Unprotected sex
- Having sex with an infected person
- Having another sexually transmitted infection including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and bacterial vaginosis
- Receiving unsafe blood transfusions and tissue transplantation, and other unsafe medical procedures.
A weakened immune system in the final stage of HIV causes a greater risk of spreading the infection. HIV weakens immune system and exposes you to other viral conditions. Strengthen your immune system through proper diet and exercise. For obese individual, you can follow the HCG diet regimen.
How to Prevent HIV?
- Get tested for HIV. Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex.
- Choose less risky sexual behaviors. Maintain protected sex and avoid practicing unhealthy sexual behavior with multiple partners. HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or other protection.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with poorly controlled HIV.
- Get tested and treated for STDs. Talk to your partner about getting tested for STD. Having an STD can increase your risk of getting HIV or spreading it to others.
- Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is an HIV prevention option for people who do not have HIV but who are at risk of getting HIV.