DAY 2: HIV/AIDS – Transmission and Signs


How is HIV transmitted?

People get scared about HIV because they are not sure how it is transmitted, I was once asked by a woman if she was safe being in the same car with a person with HIV. These are the sort of beliefs that need to be changed.

HIV can be transmitted through certain body fluids; this can be through blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. HIV is spread mainly through sex or sharing infected needles.

There are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to getting HIV, these include:

  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Intravenous drug abuse e.g. sharing needles,
  • Homosexual acts especially anal sex
  • Indiscriminate sharing of sharp objects.
  • In fewer cases HIV can be transmitted through blood transfusion, this is not so common these days.
  • From an infected mother to her baby.
  • Being pricked by sharp objects infected with the virus, this is especially applicable to health workers.

Does any of the above risk factors apply to you? What are you doing about it?

What symptoms of HIV/AIDS should I watch out for?

As people say, ‘ HIV doesn’t show on the face’, this is true especially in the early stages of the disease. After a person is infected with HIV it can take a few weeks before he/she  will feel anything; and it is usually a feeling of general unwellness like a flu, there may be fever, rashes on the body and a sore throat as well as other symptoms that mimic malaria like body pains and weakness.

The body will attempt to put up a fight, after this there might not be any symptom for several years but the immunity continues to weaken until the person comes down with symptoms like persistent fever, diarrhoea which is the passage of loose watery stool and weight loss.

How do you know you are losing weight? If you notice your clothes are now loose or feel baggy on you or if you have to add several new holes to your belt in order to make it tight, you may be losing weight.

Other signs and symptoms that may occur include a chronic cough, swelling of lymph nodes, ulcers in the mouth and genitals and reduction in the blood level.

If you have the  symptoms above in addition to the risk factors previously discussed, please go for a HIV test today.

Join me tomorrow as we discuss some common myths about HIV.

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