In 2020, 680,000 people died from HIV-related causes, and 1.5 million people acquired HIV. If left untreated, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and severe long-term illnesses. In this post, we’ll be covering 5 ways to prevent HIV transmission.
AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 64% since peaking in 2004. However, despite progress in diagnosis and treatment, HIV/ AIDS continues to be a major global public health issue.
Most people with HIV live in low and middle income countries, with over two thirds living in the WHO African Region. Thus, making a global commitment to reducing the transmission of HIV and improving access to HIV treatments are necessary steps in controlling the epidemic.
5 ways to prevent HIV transmission
1. Use condoms.
As HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions, consistent condom use helps prevent the transmission of HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Both external (sometimes called male) and internal (sometimes called female) condoms are effective at preventing transmission.
However, condoms must be properly stored and used correctly to effectively prevent transmission.
2. Limit your number of sexual partners.
Having a greater number of sexual partners leads to a greater chance that you’ll have a partner with poorly controlled HIV or a partner with an STI. These factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
3. Get tested for HIV and other STIs.
Knowing you and your partner’s HIV and STI status can help you make smart choices about your sexual activity. Having another STI such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and bacterial vaginosis is a risk factor for contracting HIV.
4. Engage in less risky types of sexual activity.
HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom. Not all sexual contact carries the same risk of HIV transmission. For example, oral sex, mutual masturbation, and handjobs have a lower chance of passing on HIV.
5. Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who do not have HIV but who are at risk of getting HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day to reduce the risk of getting HIV.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has led to HIV testing and service disruptions, many countries have reported increased transmission and HIV-related deaths. Thus, it is vital that the global public health response continues to improve access to treatment and testing in order to end the AIDS pandemic.
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