Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV: What You Need to Know
Hi, my name is [PRESENTER NAME]. IÕm [PRESENTER ROLE]. Welcome to ÒPreventing Sexual Transmission of HIV: What You Need to Know.Ó This video will teach you information that can save your life, so please listen carefully and watch the whole video.
YouÕve probably heard of HIV/AIDS and know that it can severely affect your life and even kill you. But what can you do to reduce your risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS?
This video explains ways to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact, saving your life, the life of any current or future sexual partners, and if you are a woman, the lives of any future children. Another video called ÒA Brief Introduction to HIV and AIDSÓ covers more detailed information.
Sexual contact is not the only way HIV spreads, but it is by far the most common way. HIV is not only present in the blood of an infected individual, but also in the semen of an infected man and in the vaginal fluids of an infected woman. When two people have sex and exchange body fluids, HIV may spread from one partner to the other. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex because the anal tissue is more prone to tearing during sex. HIV is also transmitted through oral sex, though it is much less common. Additionally, women who have sex with women who are HIV positive are also at risk of becoming infected through blood and vaginal secretions, though it is rare. The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk of contracting HIV.
What can you do to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact? Remember your ABCs: Abstain from sex before marriage, Be faithful to a single partner if you are sexually active, and use a latex Condom every time you have sex, every way you have sex. LetÕs talk about each of these things as they are very important.
Abstinence from sex until marriage to an uninfected spouse who has also abstained, and being mutually faithful with your spouse after marriage, is the only way to guarantee that you will not contract HIV through sexual activity.
If you choose to have sex before marriage, make sure that both you and your partner know your HIV status. Do not assume that you donÕt have HIV, and donÕt assume that your partner doesnÕt have HIV. Anyone who has been sexually active may have been exposed to HIV. A simple, quick test can tell you whether you are HIV positive. In most countries, this test is available free of charge. Remember that it can take up to six months after being exposed to HIV for your HIV test to turn positive, so you only know for sure that you are HIV negative if you have tested negative for HIV six months after your last possible exposure to HIV.
Most importantly, if you choose to have sex before marriage, use a latex condom correctly every time you have sex, every way you have sex. If you are allergic to latex, you can use a polyurethane condom. A latex condom is not a guarantee against HIV transmission, but when used correctly, it greatly reduces the risk that one partner will infect the other.
Condoms must be stored in a cool, dark place. Do not expose them to oil-based lubricants like Vaseline, because they will weaken the condom. To use a condom correctly, you must put it on the hard penis before any contact between the penis and the partnerÕs mouth, vagina, or anus. When putting the condom on the penis, leave a little extra space at the tip to hold the semen, and unroll the condom down the shaft all the way. After the man ejaculates, he should hold the condom at the base of his shaft to make sure it doesnÕt fall off and immediately remove his penis from his partner before the penis becomes soft. Afterwards, throw the condom away. Never reuse a condom.
For oral sex on a woman, it is important to use a barrier like a square of latex, called a dental dam. You can also cut the tip of a latex condom and cut it up the side to make a dental dam.
Obviously, if you are in a culture where you do not have equal rights, you may not be able to follow the ABC guidelines. For example, women may contract HIV through rape, marital rape, or their husbandÕs infidelity. Women may be unable to flee an abusive marriage for fear of poverty and starvation or of losing their children. These problems are discussed in more detail in a video called ÒEnding Gender Inequality: A Key to Stopping HIV.Ó Because of these realities, a broader acronym was recently developed called S.A.V.E. This means Safer sexual practices, Access to AIDS medications, Voluntary counseling and testing, and Empowerment/Education.
No matter who you are, you are a valuable individual, and your life matters as do the lives of those in your community. Take care of yourself and those around you. Make healthy choices that eliminate or reduce your risk of contracting HIV.
Thank you for helping in the fight against HIV. IÕm [PRESENTER NAME].
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This script was reviewed for accuracy and approved by Becky Kuhn, M.D. on July 30, 2011.
Script by Eric Krock and Becky Kuhn, M.D.