What is AIDS and who gets it?
AIDS, also known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is a disease that affects the body’s immune system. It is distributed through the mucous membranes, and is often transmitted through bodily fluids. It attacks the immune system so that the patient is more apt to infection and diseases such as cancer or other infectious diseases. Widespread education and awareness can help people understand the disease, and realize better ways to prevent it. There is no known cure for AIDS, but research has progressed significantly over the last few decades. The disease can be passed along through various ways, such as through unprotected sex, hypodermic needle sharing, blood transfusions, and can also be passed along from mother to child. Anyone can get AIDS, but they so it is important to be cautious and protect yourself.
How Can I Stay Safe?
Preventing AIDS begins with knowing how it is spread. Whether you’re in a serious relationship or just dating someone, it’s important to have protected sex every time. Wearing condoms while having sexual intercourse is one of the best, most effective ways to prevent the disease. Avoid drug use involving needles, and always make sure tattoo shops and doctor’s offices use clean, new needles. In the event that one has a blood transfusion, they should always be assured the blood has been thoroughly tested. Pregnant women should also get tested in order to make sure they are safe. The best way to prevent AIDS from spreading is to get tested, and make sure all sexual partners have been tested.
Should I be Tested? Why?
Everyone who is sexually active should be tested for AIDS. Also, anyone who has shared a needle with another person should be tested. Since sex is the most common way that AIDS can be passed along from one person to another, people who have had several sexual encounters or partners should be tested annually. Sometimes it can take several years for AIDS to surface, so regular testing is recommended. The AIDS and HIV test is very simple, and clinics across the country offer these tests free of charge for those who request it. If caught early, HIV can be treated before it turns into full-blown AIDS. This is why testing is so important. It is also important to help people be aware of their current condition so they do not spread it to others.
I Was Just Diagnosed, Now What?
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with either AIDS or HIV, the next step is to see a physician who specializes in the disease. They can talk with you about the proper treatment and what the future will hold in terms of treatment and living with the disease. There are also patient assistance programs available that can offer counseling and discounts on medication. Finding others who also suffer from the disease is especially helpful. Since millions of people worldwide are now positive with AIDS or HIV, there are plenty of support groups available.
Another very important plan of action when being diagnosed with AIDS is to tell all previous sexual partners if possible. They must be aware of your current status so they can get tested immediately. Failure to act can potentially cost them their lives. Talk with family and friends and go to them for moral support. You should not feel ashamed if you’re diagnosed with AIDS. It is something that has an impact on many people, and can hopefully be something you can live with. The survival rate is much higher today than it was just a couple of decades ago, so there is always hope for a cure.
Where Can I Find Out More About Treatment?
Talking one-on-one with our doctor about treatment options is your fist line of defense when it comes to treating the AIDS virus. There are other ways to get information about treatment as well, such as medication manufacturers and even from others who are suffering from AIDS. It is very important to start treatment immediately when diagnosed with AIDS, so getting and trying to absorb as much information as possible is essential to success. The treatment process will be life long, so patients should be prepared for this, as well as know that there are side effects that come with most medication prescribed to treat AIDS. The course each patient must take will differ depending on what the physician decides.
Where can I find more information about AIDS and HIV?
Since AIDS is no longer a taboo disease and is now known as a pandemic, the information available to teens and adults is much more widely available than in decades past. Databases full of information about HIV and AIDS are available, as well as reference books, websites, and forums or support groups. Doctors have plenty of literature that can help to educate patients about the AIDS virus. By spreading the word about this disease, more people can be prepared and try to prevent it from happening to them. Thanks to the Internet, there are more ways to get information than ever before and now just about anyone can learn about AIDS, what causes it, and how to keep it at bay.
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