What Is HIV and Tips to Prevent Contraction

Health & Medical Blog

HIV can be a very serious virus. If it is not treated properly, it can also lead to AIDS. To this day, there is no known cure for HIV or AIDS, which makes HIV prevention very important. 

What Is HIV?

HIV is a human immunodeficiency virus that attacks your body's immune system, killing the cells that are in charge of fighting off diseases. 

HIV can be contracted through:

  • Sex
  • Sharing needles or syringes
  • Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Blood transfusions (rare, but possible)

Signs and Symptoms of HIV

There are some signs and symptoms to be aware of. It's possible you will not experience any symptoms right away. 

Some signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you experience more than one of these symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Getting a treatment plan as soon as possible is important. 

HIV Prevention

There are a few different steps you can take to protect yourself from contracting HIV.

Sexual Transmission

The most obvious way to prevent sexual transmission is abstinence, but for many, that is not plausible. Another way to prevent transmission during sex is to wear condoms. Anal and vaginal sex can be risky. You can choose to partake in oral sex. Oral sex is less risky because there is less contact with bodily fluids. 


If you are at higher risk for HIV, you can take a medicine called PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis. This is a medicine that should be prescribed to you. To be effective, it will need to be taken exactly as prescribed. Skipping and missing doses can lower the effectiveness of the medicine. You can learn more about PrEP through local resources such as CAN Community Health.


PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is a medicine that should be taken as soon as possible after being exposed to HIV. Once started, it will need to be taken daily for a few weeks, or as prescribed. This is not a treatment or prevention plan, this is something that should only be taken in an emergency. It's important not to knowingly expose yourself solely because you know you can take this medicine afterward. Though it is very effective, it does not have a 100% success rate.

Mother-to-Child Prevention

It's not extremely common to pass HIV on to your child, but it is possible and something you want to prevent. If you're at high risk for HIV, it's a great idea to talk to your doctor about taking prescribed medication, like PrEP, during your pregnancy. It's also important to avoid breastfeeding if you have or are at high risk of HIV. Even though it is possible to live a healthy life with HIV, it's not something you will want to pass on to your child. 


17 November 2021

Allergy Relief: You Have More Options Than You Think

As a child, I used to spend my days roaming through the woods. I climbed trees, smelled the flowers, and laid in the grass looking at the clouds. My love for nature continued through my teen years, but when I turned 23, I began to sneeze whenever I left my home. I could no longer enjoy my outdoor hikes and I started taking antihistamines so I could at least open my windows on warm days. My allergies got worse though and I met with an allergist who completed a variety of skin tests. I started receiving allergy shots and my allergist taught me about natural cleaning processes and sinus rinses. The injections and natural treatments improved my quality of life greatly. Even if you do not want to start allergy injections, you have a variety of options that can lessen your symptoms, and you should learn what these options are.