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Prevention of HIV

HIV replicates in the CD4 positive cells and impairs their function. In the initial stage, the destruction of CD4 cells matches their replacement. The infected person is said to have AIDS when he becomes immuno deficient due to a gap in the destruction & replacement of cells and the CD4 count starts to fall.

How to avoid HIV?
  • Safe sex: Use Condoms. It will just take a single episode of unprotected sex with an infected partner for HIV to be passed. Therefore safer sex, which would imply use of condoms, is the best way to protect oneself from AIDS.
  • Use of disposable Syringes & needles: Using clean needles will prevent the risk of infection through injecting drug use.
  • Avoid Multiple Partners.
  • Use of HIV free blood.
  • Proper treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • The HIV positive mothers can minimize the risk of passing on the infection to the baby by going for a caesarean birth, not breast feeding the child and using anti–retroviral therapy.
  • Prevention is the only cure: It is important that everyone should spread AIDS awareness and the methods that need to be followed to check its spread.
HIV is not spread by
  • Shaking Hands.
  • Eating Together.
  • Mosquito Bites.
  • Toilet Seats.
  • Drinking water or eating food from the same utensils used by infected person.
  • Sharing toilets.
  • Hugging or kissing.
  • Donating blood.
  • Working with people who are HIV infected.
  • Massage and rub each other’s bodies.
  • Swimming in pools used by people with HIV/AIDS.
  • Socializing or casually living with people with HIV/AIDS.
  • But if you have any cuts or sores on your hands make sure they are covered with plasters (band–aids).
HIV infected individuals need more care & support.

Blood products like plasma, Factor 8, Rh Factor, immuno–globulin, interferon, etc., also should not be accepted until one is sure that they have been screened for HIV. In case of requirement of blood always prefer to accept blood from family and friends instead of buying blood from professional donors as one cannot be sure of the quality of blood donated by him.

Donating blood does not carry the risk of transmission of HIV infection as the needles used for these purposes are sterile. You could rule out the risk of acquiring HIV infection when you go in for a blood–test if the equipment being used on you is sterile.

Menstrual blood of an HIV positive woman is infective. Mosquitoes are not capable of transmitting HIV infection as the HIV is not able to survive or replicate inside the intestine of the mosquito.

Medical personnel are at a potential risk of acquiring HIV infection as they have to deal with blood and other body risk is very minimal if precautionary measures such as use of gloves, masks and goggles, are taken when handling potentially infected material. Dried blood is not infective as the HIV cannot live long outside the body and cannot survive in a dried form.

Acquired Immuno–Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a life threatening disease, which is a major cause of concern for the government. As of now, AIDS does not have a known scientific cure, so it is important that people be educated about prevention strategies.

The government has created a State wise list of STI clinics, institutes, hospitals and medical colleges. It has also listed AIDS counseling centres, testing centres, NGO’s and blood banks in different States. Please click on the links below for more information.

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