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Frequently Asked Questions About AIDS (Part 2)

Written by Courteney

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 8:56 pm


AIDS is a life-threatening devastating condition that has claimed nearly 35 million lives worldwide since the first outbreak decades ago. Luckily, because of medical advancements, the prognosis for people with HIV and AIDS is much better than ever before. We looked at what AIDS is and how it can be spread in Part 1, now for prevention and screening:

Can AIDS be prevented? 

The only sure-fire way to prevent contracting the HIV virus is to either abstain from high-risk behaviors such as vaginal or anal intercourse with partners of unknown status or using any type of needle that isn’t given under medical supervision. Aside from abstinence, you can drastically reduce your chances by only have sex one monogamous partner who has been tested negative for HIV as well as using a condom or dental dam for all of your sexual encounters. The CDC recommends people in the high-risk category for HIV take PrEP.

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis is when a high-risk person takes daily antiretroviral HIV medicines daily to help prevent contracting the disease. It is a relatively new and effective preventative measure against the HIV infection. PrEP can actually stop HIV from successfully infiltrating the body if it is taken as prescribed.

Who Should Consider Taking PrEP?

The CDC recommends that people who engage in ‘risky behaviors’ that fall into the following high-HIV-risk categories take PrEP to help prevent HIV infection:

  • HIV-negative people who are in sexual relationships with an HIV positive partner.
  • A gay or bisexual man who has had intercourse without a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months.
  • Heterosexual people who don’t regularly use condoms during relations with partners of unknown HIV status.
  • People who have sex with other high-risk partners (such as those who inject drugs or women with bisexual male partners).
  • People who have injected drugs in the last 6 months or shared needles.
  • If you are considering becoming pregnant with a partner who is HIV positive PrEP can help protect you and your unborn child.

If you are HIV positive it is your legal and ethical responsibility to disclose your HIV status to any potential sexual partners. If you need help on how to start that tricky conversation, check out the CDC’s HIV resources.

Who Should Get Screened for HIV?

Everyone who has sexual partners of unknown HIV status or is sexually active but not in a committed monogamous relationship with a known HIV-negative person should get screened for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases regularly as 1 in every 8 HIV-positive people don’t even know they are infected. The CDC has extensive screening guidelines on their website including how often people at different risk levels for HIV should be tested.

That concludes our look at HIV/AIDS prevention and screening, thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any medical questions, our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you.

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