Archive for the ‘Hepatitis’ Category

Analyzing the Special Risk of HIV to Women

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

The terror of HIV is well known. It is known to create a major problem in the gay population and even more of a problem in the drug community considering the communal use of contaminated needles.

The problem with HIV is that it is not visible. Even a person with HIV at some point may not know they have it. There is a window even when a person is tested when there is no positive result.

In addition to these problems, there are people who have no qualms about keeping their condition secret and infecting other people.

Women face somewhat of a unique risk with respect to HIV.

Current information has shown that most women get HIV by having sex with men who don’t wear condoms. Further, while any woman from any culture or economic level may get HIV, African American women and Latino women seem to be presenting the largest number of cases.

What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes AIDS.

HIV attacks the immune system so that “T-cells” in a person’s body are destroyed. This makes it very difficult for the body to fight off even minor conditions.

If a person has HIV they are termed “HIV positive.” (HIV+)

There are three main ways HIV is transmitted and that is by having sex with an HIV+ person and not using a condom; you may get HIV by sharing an infected needle for drug use and also by obtaining blood from an HIV+ person usually by transfusion.

Some false ideas about how you can become infected with HIV include “being around” someone with HIV, sharing a phone with an HIV+ person and futher, you cannot get it by kissing a person who is HIV+.

In addition to these points HIV is not transmitted mosquitoes.

As I mentioned HIV is not obvious by physical signs.

The only way to know that a person has HIV is through a test. Even then it may take a few weeks or even months to determine whether a person is HIV+ or not.

During that time the HIV can be spread.

The tests available are blood tests, oral tests and urine tests.

There is no cure for HIV. It can create a deadly illness, AIDS.

What are the unique dangers for women with respect to HIV?

The major problem for a woman occurs when she is pregnant.

A woman can pass HIV to her fetus at birth and a woman can get the HIV in her milk.

Additionally the problem of drug use can affect the baby as well.

Women must be doubly careful. Men will take advantage of them and leave. A woman is not only watching out for herself but possibly a baby as well.

Reference:

“Women and HIV,” Fact Sheet, 2007, FDA

The National Women’s Health Center, 1-800-994-9662