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Curiosity Central

What is HIV and why should you know about it?

HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus that attacks our body’s immune system and makes us susceptible to all kinds of infections and diseases. It is an infection that passes from one person to another via unsafe sexual contact. Before we approach our first sexual experience, we must know about it and ways to keep ourselves face because in the last 10 years over 16 lakh people have contracted the HIV due to unsafe sex. But it’s preventable. How? Let’s find out on Curiocity Central. 

What is HIV? 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is an immune-system-attacking virus, which causes AIDS. AIDS is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  

How do you get HIV?

HIV is spread through body fluids, i.e semen or vaginal fluids ( fluids that come out of the penis and vagina), breast milk, blood, saliva etc. How does this happen? 

  1. Having sex with an infected person without using condoms. 
  2. Kissing also spreads HIV because saliva gets interchanged during intimate kissing.
  3. During childbirth (and breastfeeding) from an infected mother to her baby. 
  4. By accidentally sharing infected needles ( through doctors or tattoos). 

HIV does NOT spread through

  1. Sharing of food or water. 
  2. Mosquito bite. 
  3. Spit, pee and poop contact. 
  4. Cough or sneeze. 

What are the signs that you’ve got HIV?

The first signs of an HIV infection can appear like a common cold or flu, which is why most people aren’t aware that they’ve been infected. Without treatment, these flu-like symptoms clear up by themselves.

If you notice signs like fever, headache, rash, diarrhoea, and sore throat three to six weeks after you’ve had unsafe sex, it may be wise to get tested for HIV. But of course, the trouble is most people wouldn’t first consider these signs of an HIV infection.

Without treatment, these flu-like symptoms clear up by themselves. However, if you’re infected with HIV, the infection doesn’t go away. Instead, over the next eight to ten years, the infection silently destroys your immune system. And as you progress to the late stages of HIV infection also known as AIDS.

Apart from this, some signs of HIV infection are:  

  • Severe weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constant diarrhoea
  • Skin cancer
  • Meningitis

What is AIDS? 

AIDS is a disease that happens because of the HIV virus. HIV is an incurable disease. However, treatments are available to prolong the time you remain healthy before developing AIDS. Someone who’s infected with HIV and on treatment can live up to 20 years before developing AIDS.

How can you protect yourself from getting HIV?

  1. Use condoms while having any kind of sexual contact.
  2.  Use sterilised needles every time you get a blood transfusion. 
  3.  Make sure to use new sterilised needles for tattooing and body piercing.
  4.  Do not inject drugs or share needles. 
  5. Do not share razor blades or any personal hygiene stuff with anyone. 
  6. Avoid touching blood or cuts. 

Photo: Shutterstock/Odua Images/Person in the photo is a model. 

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