The lentivirus in the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is the chief cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. The immune system is destroyed by HIV leaving it open for invasion by cancers and other harmful infections. As of today, no cure is available for HIV/AIDS but antivirals taken daily for a lifetime can delay the progression of the disease. The disease has been listed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization which has made it a top priority for prevention of infection in many health centers from different countries around the world. The largest number of HIV/AIDS cases is in Africa and statistics show that as many as 2 million people die of AIDS every year.
An exchange of infected body fluids like semen and blood is how HIV gets transmitted from an infected person to an uninfected one. This makes us see that safety measures have to be used in order to avoid coming in contact with the infected fluids. Sexual activity is the most common way of HIV transmission. Reducing the risk of becoming infected would be the usage of safe sex procedures. Even if statistics shows that women infect less than men, vaginal fluids that can enter through cuts in the penis or mouth will bring infection. Anal, fellatio, and vaginal intercourse should only be performed through the use of a condom. Dental dams should be used when oral sex on females is performed. Kissing should be avoided if open wounds or sores can be seen as saliva that contains infected blood can transmit the disease.
While male condoms are widely used, there are also female condoms that provide the same protection even if they are not as widely accepted. Condoms should be made acceptable, affordable, and accessible in order to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Male circumcision has been considered as a way to reduce the transmission of HIV yet has been found to be far less effective than using a condom.
Intravenous drugs are also one of the ways where HIV can be transmitted. The sharing of needles between drug addicts has provided the perfect pathway for HIV to be transmitted from person to person. Since the drug addicts could not be stopped from using prohibitive drugs, the various health agencies have no choice but to advise them not to share needles or else to use fresh ones while injecting the drugs. This scenario also applies to people who use intravenous drugs like insulin. A used needle should be disposed of properly to avoid the spread of disease.
Breastfeeding should never be done when the mother is infected with the HIV virus. Transmission of the virus from the mother to the child will pass through breast milk which is a body fluid.
One of the professions that are at high risk for HIV transmission would be the healthcare professionals. In order to avoid this, healthcare professionals should always gloves and mask especially when caring for HIV-infected patients that have open wounds, sores, and handling other body fluids. Used needles should always be disposed in safe collectors.