From being a taboo that was never brought up in conversations to an awareness that’s increasing among the populace, HIV treatment in India has gained the spotlight it should. HIV can be spread from an infected person via their blood, semen, vaginal fluids, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk. Even then, the transmission of HIV only happens if the fluid comes in contact with a person’s damaged tissue or mucous membrane, or is directly injected into the bloodstream. However, there are some precautions that you can take to prevent contracting an HIV infection. Some of these are:

Knowledge

Talk to your healthcare provider or do some research and find out all there is about HIV. So, if you or someone you know exhibits even a single symptom of HIV, you can get tested, to make sure all is fine. From HIV treatment to symptoms and risk factors, you need to first be aware!

Secondly, you also need to know about your partner’s HIV status and to get tested yourself. Get tested before you indulge in any sexual activity with a new partner. Then, make sure that you and your partners undergo regular testing for STDs as well, because suffering from an STD can increase your risk of contracting HIV.

Sexual Behaviour

As mentioned before, you and your partner need to get tested for HIV as well as different STDs. Other precautions that you may take include always using condoms, and if one of you is on HIV treatment medication, ensuring that you always take your medicines on time. You can also try to limit your sexual partners, as the more partners you have, the more are the chances of having a partner with an STD or with HIV, whose HIV is not controlled well. In fact, if you have more than one sexual partner, make sure that you get tested for HIV regularly.

Using Drugs

Avoid injecting drugs into your body. However, even if you do inject the drugs, make sure that you only use sterile drug injection equipment and water, and that you do not share them with anyone else, regardless of their HIV status.

When you or your partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative

If you or your partner is HIV positive, you need to take a lot of precautions. For one, you need to ensure that you regularly take your HIV treatment medication on time. While this medication helps people with HIV lead healthier and longer lives, it can’t cure HIV completely. It can however, reduce the viral load of HIV in the body, which in turn helps reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to your partner.

You also need to be aware of the fact that even someone who is on medication for HIV can have an undetectable viral load, which can still potentially be transmitted to the partner. You need to further lower the risk of transmission and use condoms properly each time you have sex. Plus, if you use injections for drugs, do not share the needles or other equipment with your partner.

Preventing HIV transmission from a mother to a child

HIV positive mothers who are expecting a baby might pass on the HIV to their child as well. To prevent this, it is very important that HIV positive mothers remain diligent throughout their pregnancy and take their HIV medicines the whole time, regularly and on schedule. The new-born babies will also be receiving HIV medicines for about 4 – 6 weeks after they are born. The timely intake of these medicines reduces the risk of infection from HIV that may enter a baby’s body during birth.

Taking precautions and being safe can help protect you from contracting HIV. However, the first step is to find out all you can and being aware of the condition and what it means.