Does sharing toilets with a HIV positive person cause you to get HIV?


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In recent news, renowned American actor Charlie Sheen has come public to reveal his HIV positive status. After about four years of keeping his status private, Mr. Sheen, 50, has announced that he is HIV positive during an interview in the “Today” show.

“I am here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive and I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks, of sub-truths – very harmful … stories that are threatening the health of so many others,”.

This shows that HIV is a disease that does not know status and welfare and that everyone can be a victim of it. Therefore, despite having wide coverage over recent years, it is of pinnacle importance that everyone is well informed and educated on this issue.





Firstly, what is HIV?


HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that causes AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency-Syndrome. This virus affects the body whereby it weakens or distorts a person’s natural ability to battle infections and cancer. A person with HIV is said to have AIDS on the account that they develop certain infections or cancers when their CD4 (T-cell) count is less than 200. The CD4 count can be determined by running a blood test in a doctor’s office. Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once someone is diagnosed with a dangerous illness, life expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. People with AIDS need medical treatment to prevent death.

 

How does it spread though?


HIV is spread mainly by having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without the usage of condoms or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior. For the partner who is HIV negative, receptive anal sex (bottoming) is more risky than insertive anal sex (topping). The second-highest-risk sexual behavior is vaginal sex. The sharing of needles and syringes or other equipment used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV is also a contributing factor to the spread of HIV.

Less commonly, there is also a chance for a mother to spread the HIV virus to her child during the instances of pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Although there is a high risk if a mother is living with HIV and not taking medicine, recommendations to test all pregnant women for HIV and start HIV treatment immediately have reduced the number of babies  born with HIV.

The centers for disease control and prevention has recently changed their testing recommendations to screen for those who might be infected by the virus to encapsulate that all adults should at least be tested once. Moreover, those who are considered to be at high risk of this disease are those who are needle drug users and those who have multiple sex partners and thus, should be tested on a more regular basis. Anyone who has sustained a needle stick or significant blood exposure from a person known to have HIV or from an unknown source should be tested as well.


Prevention measures


Among some measures that can be taken in order to prevent or reduce the risk of the spread of HIV includes the use of latex condoms whenever sexual activity is being carried out be it vaginal, anal or oral. Those who are sexually active should be tested for HIV on a regular basis. In addition, the sharing of needles for drug usage should also be avoided to ensure the spread of HIV is prevented.  Proper medical care and attention by professional doctors treating patients who are affected with HIV could further help in the risk reduction chances of the spreading of the HIV virus.

 

Misconceptions and the cure


A few misconceptions about HIV still exist within society that needs to be addressed to avoid those with HIV from being shunned or treated as an outcast. For instance, HIV cannot be transmitted through hugging, shaking hands, toilet seats, saliva and sweat from a HIV infected person. Having said this, it is important to note that the fight for HIV is still an ongoing battle till today.

Although there have been and there continues to be advances in the medical field against the fight for HIV, there is no specific details that can assure oneself that a cure is in sight anytime soon. Charlie Sheen has also recently expressed on “The Dr. Oz Show” his views on HIV. The actor discussed his fight against HIV stating that he’s dedicating his life to eradicating the disease that can lead to AIDS.

“I hope in my abilities to do something really positive with this,” he said.

So what do you guys think about HIV and how far have we come with regard to treatments available for this disease?  Please let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.


by Kevin

An average 22 year old with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and new experiences. Living life as it comes :) View all articles by Kevin.




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