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Can You Protect Yourself Against HIV?

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If you worry about getting HIV, you may wonder if you can protect yourself from it. HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, affects people all over the world. Although many people take precautions against the disease, the virus may still infect some people. You can protect yourself from HIV with the information below.

How Does HIV Affect You?

The human immunodeficiency virus spreads through sexual contact with an infected individual. The virus may also transmit to people exposed to infected blood, breast milk, and other bodily fluids. 

Individuals infected with HIV may exhibit various symptoms over time, including weight loss, skin rashes, and headaches. The virus can also increase your risk factors for other illnesses, including lymphoma and tuberculosis. It can take up to three months before you experience the symptoms of HIV. Most people infected with the virus don't exhibit any symptoms until they reach the three-month period. 

There currently isn't a cure for the human immunodeficiency virus. However, you can protect yourself from HIV, or even prevent it, by taking action now.

How Do You Protect Yourself From HIV?

Doctors created a special pre-exposure pill that locates and stops the human immunodeficiency virus before it attacks the cells in your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC), the medication is about 99 percent effective in preventing the spread of HIV through sexual contact. The drug is also almost 74 percent effective in preventing the virus through needle drug use.

You must take the HIV-prevention medication as prescribed to avoid contracting the virus through sexual contact or needle use. The medication works best when you take it every day. Use a medication app or a calendar on your phone to remind you to take your medication on time each day.

If you do skip or miss a dose of your medication, consult a doctor right away. A physician may also offer medication to stop the virus after you become exposed to it. The post-exposure pill works similarly to the pre-exposure pill. However, you only have a small window of time to take the pill before HIV attacks your body's cells. For more information about the post-exposure pill, consult a doctor.

You can also ensure your medication works well by wearing protection during sexual contact. Avoid sharing needles or other sharps with other people, even if you know them well.

If you need additional help with preventing HIV, contact a company like CAN Community Health.