World AIDS Day is December 1, but every day is an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. The statistics on HIV are as shocking as ever. One in five people living with HIV have no clue they’re infected. More than 20 percent of people who don’t know they’re infected are responsible for 70 percent of new HIV cases. Understanding the disease and protecting yourself from HIV and AIDS are more important than ever. Here’s more on modes of HIV transmission, questions to ask yourself to see if you are at risk, and ways to prevent getting HIV and AIDS.
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Reduce your risk of HIV and AIDS
Here are several ways to reduce your risk of HIV infection and developing AIDS.
Always use condoms
Although no form of protection is 100 percent effective in preventing the spread of HIV, wearing a condom during vaginal, anal or oral sex goes a long way. To prevent condom breakage, consider using a water-based lubricant.
Watch the needles
Never share needles or other drug equipment. When getting a tattoo or piercing, ensure the equipment being used is sterilized.
If you work in a health care facility or may be exposed to the virus because of the work you do, take precautions — like wearing gloves and handling needles with care — to protect yourself.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk is to take control of your health and to speak with your doctor about your sexual history. An HIV/AIDS blood test let you know whether you're "clean" (and then you can stay that way).
Research information on the internet from reputable and/or government-originated HIV/AIDS organizations about the virus and how you can prevent it.
If you're pregnant and may have the virus, speak with your doctor and get tested. Several drugs can now be taken during pregnancy to prevent transmission from mother to fetus. Ask your doctor about these and other options.
Join campaigns, like the one recently launched by LifeStyles Condoms, to spread the word about HIV transmission and protection. Check their campaign out on Facebook and Twitter.
More on HIV and AIDS
Celeb bikers join Kiehl’s for 1,800 mile ride for AIDS research
Lend your voice to fight AIDS
Elton John: AIDS should have put me six feet under too
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