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HIV Info for Men

by Lori Sciame December 7th, 2018 | Health Observance, Men's Health
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happy manWhile being diagnosed with HIV may not be the death sentence it once was, the disease still causes serious health concerns. Because of this, men should continue to take precautions to avoid contracting the HIV virus.

HIV can only be contracted by sharing certain bodily fluids: blood, semen, and vaginal secretions.  This means that a man will not catch HIV after drinking from a glass used by an infected person.  Also, closed mouth kissing and simple sneezing will not spread the disease. As you can surmise, HIV spreads differently that other viruses, including those that cause the common cold and influenza.

To avoid this illness, then, there are certain steps to take.  For example, one should never share hypodermic needles with another person. ( It may be uncomfortable to discuss drug abuse, but it is necessary ).  Those that inject drugs need to know that only new needles should be used if one “shoots up.”  For this reason, community agencies will many times provide new needles to those addicted to drugs. While controversial, these exchange programs have proven effective in helping to prevent the spread of the disease.

Sex with an HIV infected man or woman is also risky.  To help stop transmission, a latex condom should be used every time a couple engages in sexual acts. Many men do not realize that oral, anal, and vaginal sex are avenues for passing the disease to another  person; therefore, abstinence is the  only 100% effective way to prevent transmission of the disease.

Another way to avoid getting HIV is to take precautions around blood.  For instance, those who work in healthcare must take classes on how to handle blood spills and/or needle sticks.  Sadly, nurses and other professionals have gotten ill after accidentally being stuck by a needle from an already infected individual. Even those who don’t work in health care need to be aware that cleaning up a blood spill should be viewed as dangerous.

If diagnosed with HIV, one should not automatically assume that he will develop full blown AIDS right away.  In reality, there are three stages of the disease: the acute infection, the latent/dormant period, and AIDS.  The Centers for Disease Control explains the latent stage as, “This period is sometimes called asymptomatic HIV infection or chronic HIV infection. During this phase, HIV is still active, but reproduces at very low levels. You may not have any symptoms or get sick during this time. People who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) may live with clinical latency for several decades. For people who are not on ART, this period can last up to a decade, but some may progress through this phase faster.”

Fast Facts – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) are unaware of their infection
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM),1 particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV.
  • By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV.

 

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.