AIDS — Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome - a disease that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms. Typically, this is followed by a prolonged period (an average of 5-10 years) with no symptoms. The virus is able to gradually destroy the body's immune system. The destruction of the immune system leads to the fact that the human body ceases to resist various infections, even the most harmless for healthy people. Such infections are called opportunistic, that is, they are able to use favorable circumstances. The late stage of HIV infection is called AIDS.
Currently, there are medicines that can stop the rate of HIV infection. There are also drugs that can prevent or cure some opportunistic diseases. Thus, the earlier a person is aware about his disease, the more opportunities he has to change his life and begin treatment.
How do people get HIV?
The virus is found in all body fluids, but only through blood, semen, vaginal discharge and breast milk. In small amounts, it is found in saliva, sweat, tears, urine and other physiological fluids.
There are several ways of contracting HIV:
- through unprotected (without a condom) penetrating sexual contact (sexual way of transmission);
- when contaminated blood enters the blood of a healthy person through damaged skin and mucous membranes (donor pathway);
- from mother to child, through breast milk or through the birth canal (vertical transmission route)
- when joint or re-use of non-sterile needles and / or syringes and other injection equipment;
- when using non-sterile equipment for tattoos and / or piercing;
- when using other people's shaving accessories, toothbrushes on which there are visible remains of blood;
- blood transfusion (if donor rules are violated).
The presence of any other sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, gardnerellez, trichomoniasis, etc.), increases the risk of contracting HIV during unprotected sex tens of times.
The risk of contracting HIV is higher if your sexual partner uses or used intravenous drugs, has or has had earlier other sexual partners. It is important to discuss the presence or absence of these risk factors with your partner and take steps to protect yourself.
HIV cannot be transmitted from:
- shaking hands, hugging and casual kissing, coughing and sneezing;
- taking food, using common utensils, cutlery, towels and linen;
- visiting the pool, toilet and shower;
- being in the same room as the HIV carrier;
- with bites of insects and animals.
There is no reason to isolate people who are infected with HIV. On the contrary, these people need your support and understanding.
How do you prevent HIV?
HIV infections can be avoided by following safe behavior rules:
- do not use drugs; avoid their injection.
- refrain from sexual intercourse before marriage.
- be loyal to your sexual partner.
- make your sexual relationships less dangerous using a condom.