HIV might be one of the most dangerous diseases today. Despite its relevance and degree of relatability, men might not know as much as they should, about it. Here’s HIV in a nutshell; it attacks the immune system, and makes the body susceptible to infections and different types of cancers. If left untreated, it can rapidly progress into AIDS. Sounds terrifying, right?
Either way, no matter what your gender is, it is important to know these 6 basic facts about HIV to truly comprehend the gravity of of this deadly disease.
- Don’t restrict yourself to gender based assumptions: Even though gay and bi men are most vulnerable to the risk of contracting HIV, women, older individuals and heterosexual men/women are also at equal risk. This is not a gender or race specific disease; if you treat it as one, you may be living in a bubble, which will burst soon. As a precautionary measure, make sure you use condoms, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. If you are in a monogamous relationship, it is advisable to continue using condoms. If you and your partner, both decide to skip protection measures, it is advisable to get tested, before you get adventurous.
- HIV positive people don’t show symptoms: Since every human body is wired differently, chances are a HIV+ person might not show any symptoms at all. People can live for a great number of years, without ever realizing that they have been infected at all. Some people might remain asymptomatic for long periods, while their immune system continues to weaken.
- PrEP yourself to handle risk: In case you are a in relationship with someone who is already tested HIV+, you can take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which can help decrease your chances of contracting HIV. PrEP will prevent HIV from spreading within the body, and if taken regularly, your chances of contracting HIV will reduce by 90%. However, this is only useful for the prevention of getting HIV through sexual activities.
- HIV = Oral Sex? Yes absolutely: If you think you are 100% safe only by performing oral sex, chances are you need to revisit your facts. Anal and vaginal sex might be two of the most important sources for the spreading of HIV, but oral sex is not excluded from this list. When it comes to rankings, anal sex is followed by vaginal and oral sex, in this particular order.
- Infected? Precautions can help it from spreading: HIV is no longer a death sentence for infected individuals. So don't partake in this stigma. By taking a combination of medicines known as antiretrovirals, one can reduce the viral load within the human body. If taken for 6 months at a stretch, antiretroviral therapy will render the virus undetectable within the human body.
- Many people are unaware of their true HIV status: Since HIV does not show symptoms, many people remain absolutely oblivious to their current HIV status, most of the time. Due to a lack of symptoms, people might not even get tested. To ensure your safety, it is important to get tested at regular intervals.
Stay safe, stay protected. It never pays to put yourself in a compromising situation, for just a few minutes of pleasure. HIV is and will remain a serious condition, which can put your body at jeopardy, for the rest of your life; so choose to act wisely.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP