The Truth About HIV/AIDS

E2BC6B7D-264B-42F7-B9B6065D5C3C3CF1AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – is caused by HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV passes from one person to another through contact with bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus. Most often, the virus spreads through oral, vaginal, or anal sex without the use of a condom, or by sharing a needle. Any “needle sharing,” is risky – including steroid drug injection, tattooing, or body piercing. Mothers can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding.

Heterosexual sex is the most common source of infection for females, and the second most common source for males. While more men than women contract HIV, women’s rate of infection is increasing.

Not having sexual intercourse is the most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. For those sexually active, these preventive measures lower your risk of infection –
• Avoid alcohol and drugs. Their use can cause you to make sexual choices you wouldn’t make when sober
• Only engage in sexual activity that does not involve vaginal, anal or oral sex
• Have intercourse with only one uninfected partner
• Use a latex condom every time you have sexual intercourse of any kind

The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested. The following may be warning signs
• Weight loss
• Frequent fevers and sweats
• Lack of energy
• Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin or neck
• Persistent skin rashes
• Severe herpes infections that cause mouth, genital or anal sores
• Short-term memory loss

South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering CBT counseling, EFT modalities – (tapping), therapeutic counseling, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists please call 631-286-8282, e-mail us at SSCounseling1@optonline.net or visit our website, Southshorecounselingcenter.net.

Filed in: Ask Michelle

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