SAFE SEX FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV
HIV is not the end of the world; it is also not the end of your life or all life threatening risks. For some, it creates an avenue to rethink what is important, and prioritize them, while in others, it seems to give them license to engage as they want in all manner of risky endeavors.
Well, there are things worse than HIV, and they can happen to anyone.
The virus paves the way for other diseases to enter, as such, it is important to maintain a relatively safe sexual behavior, preferably in a committed relationship.
Also, even if one is undetectable, nobody is sure when that status changes, as such it is still great to maintain a safe lifestyle.
RISKS OF UNSAFE SEX IN PREGNANCY
- YOU TRANSMIT OR GIVE HIV TO OTHERS;
PEOPLE WHO ALREADY HAVE HIV CAN STILL BE INFECTED WITH ANOTHER FORM OF HIV. There are 2 different types and several strains of HIV, and having more of them, worsens one’s long term prognosis. When type 1 and 2 are in one individual, they work more aggressively, helping each other to destroy that person’s immunity and bring about AIDS, sooner rather than later.
Also there is risk of being infected with mutated, multiple drug resistant strains.
- YOU CAN GET PREGNANT OR IMPREGNANT OTHERS; anti-retroviral drugs and the virus do not cause infertility, so pregnancy can still occur freely.
- ONE CAN GET SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS; most infections in the human body usually elicit a response from the immune system, and if persistent weakens it. This is why infections should be avoided as much as possible.
- RISK OF INFERTILITY FROM COMPLICATIONS OF INFECTIONS; just like in every other person, difficulty in getting or giving ones partner a baby can result from infections, ectopic gestations or criminal abortions.
- ONE CAN ALSO GET OTHER DISEASES ASIDES CLASSICAL STI’S; apart from the known sexually transmitted infections, other diseases can also be transmitted through sex.
WANT A SAFE SEXUAL LIFE? DO THESE!
- KNOW THE STATUS OF YOUR SEXUAL PARTNER; this goes both ways, so both of you have to discuss your HIV status and presence of other STI’S before commencing a sexual relationship.
- LIMIT THE NUMBER OF SEXUAL PARTNERS; as much as possible, reduce the number to preferably one. This is because multiple sexual partners increase the likelihood of unsafe sex and its consequences.
- GET YOUR VIRAL LOAD TO UNDETECTABLE (<50 copies per ml); with suitable and consistent use of anti-retroviral, this is usually achievable, and protects both you and your partner(s).
- USE A CONDOM; this is the easiest practical and most effective way to have safe sex. Correct condom use stops unwanted pregnancies and reduces your chances of getting most infection by up to 70 to 100%.
- USE PRE EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS IF NECESSARY; This is very important and necessary for discordant couples who want children, or don’t like to use condom.
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