Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention is especially important for those who are at high risk of contracting the virus, such as homosexual men and couples with one member who is HIV positive while the other is HIV negative. It’s vital to remember that you don’t have to get infected with HIV by having a relationship or sex life with someone who does.
An increasing amount of evidence shows that the risk of HIV transmission to another person is extremely low when people with HIV take particular actions. As a result, prevention necessitates a sustained effort on the part of all parties concerned. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Inquire about HIV status before a date
It’s imperative that everyone stays in touch. Preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and other viruses should always be a priority before engaging in any sexual activity with a new partner. The risk of HIV transmission might be reduced if your sexual partner is HIV positive by taking medication.
Assure the HIV-positive partner is on ART
With antiretroviral medication, HIV levels in a person’s blood can be reduced to undetectable levels – less than 200 copies of the virus per millilitre of blood, which is undetectable by modern technology. This means that the chances of your partner transmitting the virus to you during sexual contact are almost non-existent if they are taking antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Know the Viral Load of Your Partner
Your spouse must take the drug on a daily basis, and at the same time each day, in order for ART to be effective. Missing doses can lead to unregulated virus replication and, ultimately, a drug-resistant virus mutation. If this happens, your partner’s viral load may rise, increasing the risk that the virus may be passed on to you.
A Prescription for PrEP
A daily drug called PrEP, which stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” can cut an individual’s chance of developing HIV by nearly 100%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who regularly engage in sexual activity with an HIV-positive partner, don’t use condoms, or share needles with others, PrEP may be an effective way to keep the virus from spreading.
Don’t inject drugs with the same needle
Whenever you share a needle with someone, regardless of whether you’re injecting steroids or hormones or medicines, you are at danger of HIV and other blood illnesses. The needle and syringe aren’t the only ways in which you might contract HIV; you can also get the virus by sharing the water used to clean the equipment or by reusing filters and other containers. The equipment or water may include blood, which contains the virus.
Treatment is the greatest option if you’re a drug user. A methadone programme can help you manage your addiction without the use of needles, hence reducing the risk of HIV infection in those who use heroin.
Regularly Have Your HIV Status Checked
It is an important technique for HIV Prevention. Be tested for any changes in your status even if you are currently HIV negative. In the acute period, or the first two to four weeks after being infected, your chance of transferring the virus to someone else is greatest. A surge in your viral load (a measure of how “much” HIV is in your blood) occurs during this time period, increasing your risk of HIV transmission. According to the CDC, many people don’t know they have the flu because they don’t have flu-like symptoms in the acute phase or may not feel sick until later.