Researching the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on the Internet can pull up some scary information. Much of that scary information is misleading, and it is causing unnecessary fear among the Nigerian population. When it comes to protecting yourself from HIV, the best approach is to get real facts that you can use to improve your understanding of this manageable disease.
Never Trust Symptoms
The symptoms for HIV can easily be mistaken for a variety of other conditions, including the common flu. It is also possible to be stricken with HIV and experience no symptoms at all. The best approach to determining whether or not you have HIV is to get tested and find out the real answer.
Safe Sex Is An Answer
One of the ways that HIV can be transmitted is through unprotected sex. While abstinence is the surest way to prevent getting HIV through sexual contact, it is not a route that everyone wants to take. When the time comes to have sex with a new partner, using a condom can offer protection to you both. But it is important to note that a condom is not a guaranteed way of preventing HIV.
Know How The Disease Can Really Be Transmitted
The majority of the misinformation about HIV on the Internet deals with the ways in which a person can contract the disease. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot catch HIV by:
- Touching a person who has HIV
- Having an infected person breathe, sneeze or cough on you
- Sharing food or eating utensils
- Swimming in the same pool as an infected person
- Having an infected person sweat or cry on you
The only way HIV can be transmitted is through direct contact with infected:
- Breast milk
- Vaginal fluids
It is important to understand that saliva cannot transmit HIV from one person to another. Unless you come into direct contact with one of the four types of fluids that can transmit the disease, then you are not in danger of being infected.
HIV Is Not The End
While the HIV virus can mutate into the deadly AIDS virus, that is not always the case. People who are infected with the HIV virus can live long and productive lives. Many infected people are even able to go on and have healthy families. The key is to get tested each year to determine if you are infected, and then get the proper treatment if your tests come back positive.
People who are proactive about their health can often avoid being infected with the HIV virus. For example, you should insist on a new needle if you are getting a piercing or a tattoo. Prior to receiving a blood transfusion, you should insist that the medical facility only use blood that has been tested for HIV. Women may not realize this, but they can request an anti-HIV injection that could help prevent being infected with HIV if they are raped. It is important to be smart and safe when it comes to protecting yourself from HIV.
Resources To Use
Some good online resources Nigerians can use for more accurate information on HIV include:
- The National Agency For The Control Of AIDS
- AVERT – Averting AIDS and HIV in Nigeria
- Nigerian HIV Info Website
Nigerians need to educate themselves on the realities of HIV to protect themselves, and prevent the spread of this disease. By getting accurate information, Nigerians can develop a healthy and mature approach to handling the HIV problem.