About HIV Infection

The Idea of HIV Infection

HIV is a weak virus and, the method of infection is limited as well as clearly identified.

Once you know where the virus is located and where they can enter the body, it will be easy think of ways to lower the possibility of getting infected according to your own behavior.

HIV infection is possible when the mucous membrane or open comes in direct contact with HIV infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids.  Mucous membranes are the damp parts of the body, such as inside the mouth, inside the vagina, urethra, rectum, etc.

Sex is an activity in which blood, semen and vaginal fluids can easily come in direct contact with mucous membranes.  It is easy determine which body fluid could come in contact with which part of the body depending on the sexual act.

Infection occurs easily from sharing syringe needles because of the high possibility of the blood entering the blood vessel directly.

HIV transmission from HIV positive mothers to their unborn child may occur during delivery because of the possibility of the fetus coming in contact with the infected blood.  Also, infection is possible if HIV infected breast milk is fed to the child.

How to Reduce Your Risk of HIV Infection

Sexual Activity

The risk of infection can be reduced during sex by preventing the direct contact of blood, semen and vaginal fluids to the genitals, anus and mouth.  Using condom is one way to prevent direct contact.  Condoms that can be put on a penis or inside a vagina are being sold.  If your are in a situation where condom use is difficult, risk of infection can be minimized by at least limiting the period of time which the blood, semen and vaginal fluids are in contact with the mucous membrane.  For example, avoid ejaculating inside the mouth, vagina or anus, or in case of ejaculation, immediately wash the part(s) affected.

Keeping your mucous membrane, where the virus may enter, healthy is also related with lowering the risk of infection.  For example, before engaging in oral sex, avoid brushing your teeth which may cause open wound inside your mouth, and gargle instead.  Other STIs can cause inflammation or open wound to your mucous membrane or skin, if this happens the virus can enter more easily, therefore make sure to treat other STI immediately.

Blood, vaginal fluids, etc. can also come in contact with the mucous membrane when the use of sex toys is shared.  Avoid sharing or use condom on the sex toys when you share your sex toys with others.

Sharing Syringe Needles

Sharing of syringe needles occur when drugs are injected using the same syringe used by others to yourself.  To lower the risk of HIV infection, avoid sharing the use of syringe needles or only use new needles or keep a needle for personal use.  When sharing syringe needles, proper disinfection may also lower the risk of infection.

Delivery of Pregnant Women Living with HIV

By knowing her status early, a pregnant woman positive with HIV can reduce the risk of infecting her unborn child.  The possibility of infection can be greatly reduced by (1) taking anti-retroviral drugs at the appropriate time to reduce the number of virus in the body, (2) conducting caesarian operation during delivery and, (3) not feeding the baby with infected breast milk after child birth.  By combining these methods, the risk of HIV infection from mother to child can be greatly reduced to less than 0.5%.