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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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