Monday, April 13, 2015

HIV and AIDS: Know Your Status

Talking about your HIV and AIDS risk can be scary if you don’t know the facts. Which condition is which and how do you know if you’re at risk? We recommend keeping it simple by always using protection and getting tested annually, but you may be at higher risk if you fall into any of the following categories:

If you engage in unprotected (without a condom) anal, vaginal or oral sex. The HIV virus is spread through the exchange of body fluids so if you have engaged in sex (penetration or oral) without using barriers like condoms or dental dams you could be at risk.

If you have used intravenous drugs. Again, HIV is spread through body fluid, so sharing needles with other individuals increases your risk for the virus.
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, account for the majority of new infections despite making up only 2% of the population. Many different risk factors contribute to this high statistic.

Normally those infected with HIV show no symptoms for several years, which is why regular testing is so important. When symptoms do begin to show, they generally include slight fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and weight loss. HIV is only classified as an AIDS infection in its most severe stages. Ultimately the immune system is severely damaged, which has the most devastating impact on individuals‘ health.

Though there are no cures for HIV or AIDS, many treatment options are available for patients, as well as their partners including strict condom or oral barrieruse, antiretroviral therapy, and many different medications that help protect your immune system.

The only sure ways to protect yourself and your partner from the HIV and AIDS viruses is to get tested every year and always use condoms or dental dams. Through the month of April, Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma is offering a discounted STI testing package, as well as Safer Sex Kits to those who get tested! So book an appointment by calling
(405) 528-2157 ASAP! 

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