How can people protect themselves?
The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV is to practice safer sex, according to UNAIDS. This includes wearing protection like condoms and regularly testing for an infection.
It’s good to know if you are infected because you can take the necessary precautions to prevent spreading it to others, said Charlotte Sector, spokesperson for UNAIDS.
What should someone do if they have HIV?
People who are diagnosed with HIV should begin treatment as soon as possible, Sector said.
One of the most common treatments is anti-retroviral therapy, which lowers the viral load to an undetectable amount, making it so someone cannot transmit the virus, she said.
“For example, a woman living with HIV who takes her treatment daily can have a baby that is born without HIV,” Sector said.
When you do get ill, your symptoms last longer and you may not get healthy as quickly, Farnoudi added.
Without treatment, HIV can be fatal, he said.
What will be the effect of the steep drop in testing during the pandemic?
The earlier you find out if you have the virus, the better, Gold added.
“People diagnosed late have a ten-fold increased risk of death within 1 year of HIV diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly,” Gold said via email.
People should get tested every three to six months if they have sex with a new partner, Farnoudi added.
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