Reducing The HIV Risk Factors
What is a risk factor? It is something that raises your chances of getting a disease or a condition.
Risk factors for AIDS are well-known and following some safety procedures can reduce your risk. Certain
your risk factors of getting the HIV virus and AIDS. It is possible
to get the virus with or without some of these risk factors; but the more risks you have, the higher your chances
are of developing AIDS.
Some risky behaviors that will increase your risk of developing AIDS are simple to learn and to avoid. The
first is having unprotected sex with someone you know has had multiple partners, both homosexuals and
heterosexuals. Most people who have the HIV virus or AIDS got it by not following safe sex habits.
Having sexual relations with someone who is infected with the HIV virus is the biggest risk factor getting
AIDS. The danger of having unprotected sex with multiple partners is that AIDS virus is often not detected
until the person has developed serious signs of the disease.
The signs of the HIV virus may only include mild flu-like symptoms after being infected. As the disease
progresses the flu-like symptoms occur again but are much stronger in intensity. If you know you are at risk
for getting the HIV virus, you should have a test to find out if you are positive for having HIV
If you are using a condom there is still a danger of being infected by the HIV virus. Condoms are not
foolproof. They can be broken, or tiny tears can allow the virus to be transferred from one person to
another. The vagina, vulva, rectum, mouth, and penis call provide entry points for the HIV virus.
Remember, having unprotected sex with one person is like having sex with all of their previous partners also.
Did You Know?
There are some ways you cannot get AIDS! Many of these myths persisted for years
after scientists proved AIDS could not be transferred in these ways.
You cannot get AIDS from food or water. Again, it is only transferred by sexual
contact or contact with body fluids of an individual who has HIV or AIDS. Yes, I know there was a
myth flying around you could get AIDS by getting a mosquito bite, but again this is not true.
Insects and animals cannot transfer the virus to a human. It is fine to adopt a pet from a person
who has AIDS. Giving blood cannot give you AIDS.
The danger is in receiving tainted blood that has been donated by someone who has
AIDS. Since 1985, this has been rare because all donated blood is run through tests to insure it is
not infected with HIV. It is safe to give blood because all medical equipment used is sterilized
Last, you cannot get AIDS from having every-day contact with a person suffering
from AIDS. Shaking hands, giving a hug, or being in the same room with an AIDS patient will not
cause you to be infected.
If you are a drug user you will be at higher risk for getting infected with the HIV virus. Many drug users
use contaminated needles and other drug paraphernalia. If you are a drug user, contact your community health
service to ask about a needle and syringe exchange program. Many times, they will provide you with clean
needles and syringes to help prevent the spread of AIDS. Even a tiny speck of blood can transfer the HIV
There are certain medical conditions that can put you at higher risk for developing AIDS. If you already have
a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, genital herpes, gonorrhea it gives you an increased risk of
getting the HIV virus from an infected partner.
If you have increased risk factors for developing AIDS, you should have a test done
regularly every year.
Some medical procedures may put you at an increased risk too. Blood supplies were not tested
for the HIV virus before 1985. Contaminated blood, platelets, or plasma can infect an otherwise low risk,
healthy person with the HIV virus. Since the blood was not tested, there were many cases of a person getting
AIDS because of a blood transfusion. Two other risk factors are from receiving transplanted organs and from