HIV – Prevention
There are ways to prevent the spread of AIDS. An informed public and the necessary precautions to protect individuals from the contraction of the illness are necessary to prevent the spread of it. There are both pharmaceutical strategies and social strategies that can be used.
Pharmaceutical interventions that are used to prevent the transmission of AIDS
The strategies that are used as interventions are microbicides for disease that is spread sexually, pre-exposure prophylaxis, post-exposure propholaxis, HIV vaccines, circumcision, antiretroviral drugs and the use of condoms. The only proven method for protection from the illness is the use of condoms. For mothers who have the illness and do not want to transfer it to the child, antiretroviral therapy must be used. Scientists are hoping to find new ways to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Social strategies that are used to prevent the transmission of AIDS
These strategies involve the changes in behavior of people who are potentially exposed to the disease. These strategies include:
- Educational programs- There are many school and public educations that exist to help people understand more about the disease and how to protect them-selves from it
- Lesbian and Gay Education-These are education programs that are meant to specifically target these populations as they may be at an even higher risk for contracting the disease.
- Needle-Exchange Programs- Some cities offer needle exchange programs for consistent drug users to prevent the reuse of potentially contaminated needles
- Safe Injection Sites- There are communities that even offer safe injection sites for drug users. These are places where drug users can obtain clean needles and in some cases drugs to inject themselves rather than using dirty needles or engaging in unsafe drug use practices.
- Safe sex- is the practice of using condoms on a consistent basis to prevent the spread of bodily fluids which may contain the virus
- Sexual Abstinence- Some people choose to abstain from sex or abstain until a partner is tested. This can dramatically lower the risk of contracting the disease.
These strategies are only as useful as the manner in which they are used. If they are used on a consistent basis then more people will be aware of the disease and informed of how they can protect themselves. People must be willing to change their behavior in order protect themselves. The transmission of the disease can happen on one occasion only and this must be consistently acknowledged. Communities that have HIV testing available to them are less likely to participate in behaviors that are of a high risk nature. Countries are also very strict on travel into their countries for people who have HIV in an attempt to help prevent the spread of the disease.