Understanding AIDS

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is one of the most serious sexually transmitted diseases...

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is one of the most serious sexually transmitted diseases, and is the subject of one of the most researched diseases today.  Even though people nowadays have access to all the necessary information, its spread still remains highly active. It is therefore very important for people to educate themselves in order to take the necessary measures.


AIDS and HIV: Understanding the difference

To think that AIDS and HIV is the same thing is one of the biggest misconceptions in today’s day and age. It is a general tendency to assume that having HIV means having AIDS. In fact, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that causes AIDS. An HIV-positive individual does not automatically have AIDS. As a matter of fact, people can live with HIV and feel good for years.

It is also very important for people to go for a blood test even after they are diagnosed with HIV, as the tests results may be more accurate 3 months later.

Being HIV-positive means that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is found in the blood. HIV and AIDS only become a combination once the person’s immune system is too weak to fight off any infection. AIDS can be seen as the last stage of HIV. In other words, AIDS is a syndrome of HIV.

Viruses settle into the DNA and mimic human cells and microorganisms in the body. HIV becomes devastating when the virus settles in the blood cells, which causes cells to proliferate and die. These cells begin to break down violently in the immune system and as a result of this, the slightest cold can become fatal.


HIV symptoms

HIV is a very serious virus so it is vitally important that you take note of any symptoms as early as possible. It is important to take notice of any changes on the body: rashes, cold sores, wounds, spots, swelling of lymph glands, fever, diarrhoea, cough, sweating, weight loss, bacterial and fungal infections.


How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is most commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse. HIV infection via saliva has not been proven yet. It can also be transmitted through blood so when kissing, it is essential to ensure that there are no cuts or wounds in your partner’s mouth. 

Contrary to popular belief, HIV does not only spread through unprotected sexual intercourse. The virus can be transmitted via blood transfusions, or when sharing syringes. There have also been many cases where the virus has been transmitted via breast milk and placenta.

However, it cannot be transmitted through food and drinks.


HIV prevention methods

It is important to understand and speak about the necessary methods that can be used to prevent HIV transmission during sexual intercourse:

A good quality oil-based lubricant condom should be used to avoid any damage risk of the condom.

It may seem to be safer to use a female condom and a male condom, however this combination may cause tearing of the condom. Condoms do not provide 100% protection, but they do prevent direct contact which can help prevent contacting the virus. Durex Extra Safe condom provides extra protection due to its texture.

HIV is found in blood so in order to prevent the risk of contracting the virus, vaginal fluid and semen should not be in contact. Before sexual intercourse make sure there are no open wounds that could come in contact with any fluids. Also, ensure that there are no open wounds anywhere externally on the body. 

Another very important information is that using an HIV-positive blood when performing blood transfusion or sharing a syringe will make the other individual contract HIV.