How is HIV spread?

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It is important to note that HIV can be spread by an HIV virus carrier that presents none of the symptoms of HIV as well as those who are showing signs of HIV and Aids. The HIV virus is present in the blood and genital secretions and the spreading of the virus is caused when the infected persons blood or secretions come into contact with your blood or mucous membranes which are present in your mouth, genitals, eyes, anus or in contact with your blood through a cut or other puncture mark. Essentially, if any of your secretions, be they blood or otherwise, come into contact with an HIV positive persons, there is a very good chance that you will contract the HIV virus.

The most common cause of the rapid spread of HIV and Aids around the world is through sexual contact and it is a myth that you cannot contract HIV through oral sex. Any form of sexual contact can cause you to become HIV infected.

Another thing to be very aware of is that in some cases the virus can take as long as 24 weeks to be detectible through HIV tests and if there is any suspicion that your partner has been exposed to the HIV virus, regular HIV tests over a 24 week period are necessary to rule out the presence of the HIV virus.

HIV transmission through contact with blood is most often caused by the sharing of needles, be they for drug use, in hospital or at the tattoo parlour. Never expose yourself to any needle that has not been removed from the manufacturer packaging with you there to witness it.

HIV can be spread through kissing but it is not as common. The things to watch out for are sores, mouth ulcers or blood in the mouth, in these cases the chances are increased of the virus being transmitted.

Many people fear that they could contract the virus through co-workers or at home but the chances are not very high and in the absence of contact with blood or body fluids the chances are extremely low. People suffering with HIV and Aids, are responsible and take their anti-retroviral treatments need your understanding and support. They are amongst the approximately 30% of South African’s who are living with the virus and should be applauded for not hiding their HIV status and putting others at risk. If you know someone who is HIV positive and depressed, let them know that you care and love them irrespective of their HIV status.

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