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Things That You Shouldn’t Miss To Prevent HIV Infection

Things That You Shouldn’t Miss To Prevent HIV Infection

Finding out you or someone you know is HIV positive can be a scary thing. When left untreated, this virus attacks your body’s immune system, reducing the number of CD4 cells, and leaving you vulnerable to infections and certain cancers. Its final stage is when HIV becomes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

An HIV diagnosis once meant constant pain, suffering, and illness that ended with abrupt death. With today’s medical advances, however, that negative outlook is no longer the case. Now, if you are diagnosed as HIV positive before the virus has advanced and you take your antiretroviral medications every day, you can live a long and healthy life. [1]

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Despite the increased quality of life with HIV, you should still be informed about how to prevent contracting this virus. HIV can be transmitted via bodily fluids like: blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal and rectal fluid, and breast milk. [2] The key to preventing HIV infection is in avoiding these fluids. Take a look below at some the precautions you can take to avoid HIV infection.

How to Prevent HIV

Get Tested

The first step in preventing HIV is finding out if you already have it. Find an HIV testing site. If you are HIV positive, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible to stay healthy and to prevent spreading it to others.

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Take Antiretroviral Medication if HIV Positive and Pregnant

It is particularly important to get tested if you are pregnant. An HIV positive, pregnant woman could pass the virus along to her fetus. Approximately 35 percent of babies born to HIV positive women contract the disease. Taking antiretroviral medications can significantly reduce this risk to around 4 percent.

Once the baby is born, the mother should give only baby formula or breast milk from a non-infected woman. This is because HIV can be transmitted via breast milk as well. [3]

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Use Condoms

If you are sexually active, use latex condoms. This prevents coming into contact with both semen and vaginal fluids. Not only are they effective at preventing the spread of HIV, but also unwanted pregnancies and other sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Make sure to read the instructions carefully to ensure that you or your partner are correctly using the condom. It is important to remember to put on a condom before any body contact is made. [4]

Practice Abstinence or Monogamy

The only sure way to prevent sexually spread HIV is to practice abstinence, which is avoiding all types of sexual activity. If this is not an option for you, consider a long-term monogamous relationship. Monogamy means having sexual and intimate relations with only one other person. Make sure your partner also gets tested for HIV. By limiting your number of sexual partners, you reduce the risk of coming into contact with somebody who is HIV positive. [5]

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Avoid Using Drugs

Using drugs can be a dangerous activity for your overall health. If you are under the influence of drugs, you might be less likely to practice safe, protected sex. Some people are addicted to drugs and unable to avoid their use. If you decide to use drugs, do not inject with a needle. Injecting drugs with a needle increases your chance of sharing the needle with other people. This exposes you to blood, which could be infected with HIV. Look for a local needle-exchange program and consider talking to a professional about your drug-use problem. [6]

Don’t Touch Blood

This prevention method is particularly important for health care workers or people in emergency situations. Be extremely careful in the presence of blood. Make sure to wear latex gloves and cover any open sores you have. Protect your eyes and mouth with protective eye wear and face masks.

HIV Prevention

Remember, HIV is difficult to spread between people. To become infected, sexual fluids, blood, or breast milk must enter your body. Hugging or touching an HIV infected person does not put you at risk. Practice the prevention tips listed to avoid contracting the virus.

Featured photo credit: Sham Hardy via flickr.com

Reference

[1] aids.gov: WHAT IS HIV/AIDS?
[2] aids.gov: HOW DO YOU GET HIV OR AIDS?
[3] aidsinfonet.org: Stopping the Spread of HIV
[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Prevention
[5] theaidsinstitute.org: How can HIV be prevented?
[6] Mayo Clinic: HIV/AIDS

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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