HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. It was first recognized in the beginning of 1980s in North America. Since its discovery, till date, it has spread in almost every part of the world, infecting more than 33 million people worldwide.
In North America alone, more than a million people have HIV and about half million have already died due to this disease. AIDS has become an epidemic and the things that make it worse is that it cannot be cured. Many people suffering from this condition are even not aware of this as there are no visible symptoms initially and so, they unknowingly spread the disease further.
In case of HIV, prevention is the best cure and so, in order to decrease its spread, it has become extremely important to increase the general awareness about this disease. The best way to control the spread of AIDS is by knowing the reasons for its spread and taking ample precautions. You should know in what ways you can get infected by HIV and avoid those activities.
Reasons for the spread of HIV/AIDS
Indulging into unprotected sex
It is the most common reason for the spread of this virus. Having unprotected sex results into transfer of this virus from the infected person to another and so, should be clearly avoided. This virus can spread through direct or indirect contact with the affected person.
HIV can spread through oral, anal and vaginal sex or transmission of bodily fluids even without a proper intercourse. The virus is present in blood as well as the genital secretions of the infected person, so if those fluids come in the contact of an exposed part of your body, you can get infected with HIV.
The best method for protection would be to avoid sex with multiple partners and remain faithful to your partner. Even if you are indulging in sex with multiple partners the best that you can do on your end is to use protection, in the form of condoms and dental dams. It is not a sure shot formula, as in case of a tear or breakage in the cover you may become totally exposed to this virus.
Blood Transfusions can also Cause the Spread of HIV
Getting blood transfusions from an unreliable source can also expose you to the risk of getting HIV. Blood should be properly tested before transferring it to another patient for possible HIV infection. With the new medical protocols, blood is properly checked for AIDS virus as well as HIV antibodies, before transmission from one person to another.
AIDS virus can be Transferred from Pregnant Mother to Her Child
The virus of AIDS, i.e. HIV, can also be transferred from mother to the child during or after pregnancy. The transmission of the virus may occur during the nine months of pregnancy, during birth of the child or during breastfeeding. The good news here is that, this risk can be reduced to quite an extent by giving proper HIV treatment to the mother during the time of pregnancy and taking required precautions.
HIV Spreads by Sharing of Needles
Sharing needles is also a major cause for spread of HIV. Those who take illicit drugs via direct injections are at the maximum risk as the needles are shared by several people. If any one of them is HIV positive, the virus can be transmitted to all those using that needle.
You can also get infected by using contaminated needles used for making a tattoo, body piercing and taking anabolic steroids to build muscles. In hospitals also, the syringes that are used can spread infection, if they are not properly decontaminated by boiling. Now-a-days, every medical setting uses disposable syringes, so the risk has reduced.
AIDS does not spread by superficial Contact
You need to know that the above mentioned methods are the root cause for spread of this virus. HIV does not spread through superficial contact, like eating together or holding hands. You will get infected only if the bodily fluids of HIV positive person enter your system. So, it is totally in your own hands, to keep yourself and your family protected from this disease.
In AIDS, the body immune system of the person breaks down and he/she becomes prone to any kind of minor or major infection. The body is not able to resist these pathogens and even a common illness may become fatal. HIV infection may take some time in becoming AIDS, but it eventually does. With the help of available medications, we can only delay the process to an extent. So, it is extremely important that you prevent this virus from spreading and take all the necessary precautions in this regard.