With more than 300 million people living with HIV and a staggering 1.6 billion infections globally, this viral pandemic has left many Americans reeling.
Here are the five steps to protect yourself and your family from a devastating outbreak.
Avoiding needle sharing: While there is no single cure for HIV, people who have HIV and who share needles are much less likely to infect others.
A recent study in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases found that people who had sex with a new partner were 10 percent less likely than those who did not to contract HIV.2.
Keeping needle sizes to a minimum: People who have unprotected sex should never use needles with someone who is HIV positive.
That means no sharing needles, gloves or other equipment.
For those who have syringes or needles, use a sterile, sterile container, such as a sterile cotton or latex condom.3.
Clean up after needles and other materials: Clean up any contaminated needles and syringing materials after sharing them.
Don’t use a needle, syringe or other item that you don’t intend to use again.4.
Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections: If you have sex with someone with HIV, you should also take precautions to prevent infection.
Avoid sex with anyone with a fever greater than 105.
If you are at high risk of contracting HIV, talk to your health care provider before having sex.
If your health is at risk, seek emergency medical attention immediately.5.
Limit your exposure to blood, germs and other body fluids: People with HIV are more likely to transmit infectious pathogens to others.
They can also be more likely than other people to infect people.
This is because they have a greater need for bodily fluids to maintain their immune system and regulate their immune response.6.
Know how to protect your health: If your HIV status increases after you have unprotected anal sex, you may need to wear gloves, a mask or face shield.
It’s also a good idea to wear an appropriate protective barrier such as disposable gloves, disposable pads, disposable masks, disposable face masks or a latex-based condom.7.
Get tested for HIV: If the virus is present in the bloodstream, get tested to rule out other infections.
If the test results are positive, you’ll be tested for the virus in the future.
You can also get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases, such HIV or STDs.
If both tests show HIV, follow the guidelines for testing and treatment for these infections.