Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the last stage of HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that even without treatment, it can take years for a person infected with HIV to reach the last stage.
Since no cure exists for either HIV or AIDS, it becomes imperative to learn how to prevent it, thus slowing the spread of this disease to others.
Avert, an international AIDS charity, states an estimated 33 million people currently live with AIDS, and millions more become infected each year. The site explains that effective HIV and AIDS education can help prevent the spread of this disease by teaching people how transmission occurs. Arming people with knowledge proves one of the greatest means of prevention.
Remember Your ABCs
The CDC makes AIDS prevention as simple as remembering your ABCs.
A stands for abstinence. Do not have sexual intercourse until you are in a monogamous relationship or know your partner’s HIV status.
B stands for be faithful. When you are faithful to your partner, you have no reason to fear contracting AIDS from another person.
C stands for condoms. If you have multiple sex partners, not sure of your HIV status or the HIV status of your partner or know that you or your partner are HIV positive, then practice safe sex by wearing a condom. This proves one of the best ways to prevent spreading the disease.
Choose the Right Condom
Not every condom will protect you from AIDS, therefore it becomes important to know what condoms work the best.
As the Mayo Clinic states, latex condoms provide a greater amount of protection against the AIDS virus and should be your first choice when choosing the right condom. For those who are allergic to latex, you should be using plastic (polyurethane) condoms. Lambskin condoms do not protect against HIV and should not be used by those who are infected or who might be infected. The site also states that while condoms reduce your risk, they do not do so completely as they may break or rip during intercourse.
Never Share Needles
Injectable drug users present a increased risk for contracting AIDS due to the fact that the needles and syringes become contaminated with each users’ blood. Should one user become HIV-positive, those using the same needles will inject the virus directly into their own bloodstream.
To prevent this, the Mayo Clinic suggests using only sterile needles and syringes, and using them once. Trading used injectable equipment for sterile equipment through a needle exchange program in your community, provides another option for drug users.
Both the CDC and the Mayo Clinic state that it becomes important to undergo HIV testing on a regular basis, especially if you present a risk. Those at high risk include drug users, people with more than one sex partner and homosexual men. Once you know you have become infected, you can help prevent the spread of this disease by taking personal precautions of your own. A good place to start includes being honest about your condition with any sexual partner you have, especially past or current . This enables them to get tested as well.
About this Author
Based in Jamestown, Pa., Hannah Rice Myers has more than 10 years of experience as a freelance writer, specializing in the health industry. Many of her articles have appeared in newspapers, as well as “Curing Epilepsy: Hope Through Research.” Rice received her master’s degree in nursing from Upstate Medical University in 2001.