Best Tips for HIV Prevention

HIV is a well-known sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms and, if untreated, can lead to serious illness. It’s important to learn about the virus and how it spreads, so that you can help protect yourself from getting it, and also avoid possibly infecting others.

At AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Atlanta, our skilled team of doctors offers a full range of medical treatments aimed at helping you stay healthy. We provide many services, including wellness exams, treatment plans for chronic conditions, and allergy testing. We also provide testing, treatment, information, and resources to help you keep yourself safe from STDs.

What is HIV?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be transmitted between individuals through exchange of bodily fluids, typically during sexual contact. Though you may have HIV, you may not have symptoms for a period of time. The virus can lay dormant in your body and you can infect others without being aware you have done so.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

HIV may not cause any significant symptoms when you first acquire the virus. In fact, about one-third of people don’t experience any symptoms when they first contract HIV.

Once symptoms appear, they typically mimic those seen in the flu, including: 

Because these symptoms can easily be mistaken for a number of other illnesses, if you think you may have been exposed, it is very important to get checked out. There isn’t a cure for HIV, but treatments can help slow the progress of the virus and alleviate your symptoms. 

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. It can be transmitted when needles are shared to inject drugs. It can also be passed through breastfeeding, pregnancy, and childbirth.

Best tips for HIV prevention

You can take a number of actions to prevent the spread of HIV.

Use condoms

If used correctly, condoms are very effective at preventing the transmission of HIV between partners. However, in order for them to work, you must use a new condom, and use it correctly,  with every sexual contact.  

Fewer sexual partners

Limiting the number of sexual partners you have decreases the chances that you will contract HIV from one of them. 

Get tested

In order to prevent unknowingly transmitting HIV to your partners or being infected by one of them, it’s important to get tested regularly. Get tested by a qualified medical clinic like AllCare  for HIV and other STDs at least once a year, and encourage your partners to do the same.

Choose lower risk sexual activities

Certain sexual activities carry a higher risk of HIV transmission. Receptive anal sex is the riskiest for contracting HIV.  Vaginal sex also carries a high risk, especially for the woman. The risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is relatively low by comparison. 

STDs can be scary and confusing, and you need to know the facts to keep yourself safe. HIV can cause serious illness and a number of uncomfortable symptoms. HIV can be prevented by using condoms, limiting the number of sexual partners, choosing lower risk activities, and getting tested.

To set up an appointment at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care, call us or use our online booking tool.

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