Are You Taking These Preventative Measures Against HIV?

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is a serious condition and should therefore not be taken lightly. However, there’s also a lot of misinformation out there on the condition. 

At Family Healthcare of Atlanta, in Atlanta, Georgia, Mark Tanner, MD, and our compassionate team, is here to treat all of your healthcare needs, that’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to HIV, including tips for preventative measures to take.    

Initial diagnosis

The initial stage of HIV begins with an initial acute infection. This stage typically lasts for a few weeks. You may notice flu-like symptoms, including:

You may also have a symptomatic case of HIV infection, which presents differently than the asymptomatic kind. With symptomatic HIV, you experience symptoms, such as:

Also, be sure to look out for swollen lymph nodes as these are usually the first signs of infection. 

When HIV becomes AIDS

HIV doesn’t progress to full-blown aids for about 8 to 10 years after the infection initially takes root. By the time you have full-blown AIDS, your immune system has been seriously damaged. 

Opportunistic infections or opportunistic cancers are diseases that don’t normally cause a chronic condition in a person with a healthy immune system. 

Tips for prevention

The only way to ensure you won’t get HIV is to abstain from sexual activity. Abstinence is also the only way to ensure you don’t get full-blown AIDS. Otherwise, it’s good to limit your sexual partners as much as you can. 

When you do have sex, it’s best to use condoms to prevent infections. Whether you’re having oral or anal sex it’s good to use protection, like condoms for penetrative sex and dental dams for oral sex.

While there is little to no risk of getting HIV from oral sex, it’s still good to use a barrier to protect yourself. And when it comes to anal sex, you risk contamination of feces and other bacteria from your digestive tract. So be sure to always practice safe sex no matter the type.   

When used the right way, condoms can help effectively prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Adding a lubricant to your condom can help prevent ripping, slippage, or breaking. Don’t use an oil-based lubricant as this can further contribute to slipping and tearing.

To learn more about HIV prevention, contact our Atlanta, Georgia, office at (404) 355-2000 or schedule an appointment online.

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