SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES: HIV-AIDS
Sexual intercourse with penetration without the use of a condom are a source of transmission for infectious diseases. AIDS, which is caused by the HIV virus, finds its best ally in sexual intercourse without a condom to insert itself in healthy men and women. Apart from HIV, other organisms that cause diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea use vaginal, anal and oral sex without a condom as a way to infect other people.
Only three ways of transmission exist for HIV: HIV can be transmitted by blood if a person shares razor blades, syringes to inject drugs, needles for piercings and tatoos and any object that can get stained with infected blood. The AIDS virus can be transmitted during sexual intercourse with anal and vaginal penetration as well as with oral sex without the use of a condom. A single one of any such intercourses without a condom suffices to get the virus. Anal receptive penetration is the riskiest of all these practices followed by vaginal penetration The risk of contracting the disease increases if the person already suffers from other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). The third way to get HIV is from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
The HIV virus is NOT contracted through daily life contact. You can hug, kiss and share cuttlery and glasses with a person who lives with HIV. The same thing happens with sharing spaces or activities such as work, school, public toilets, gyms, etc. The contact through saliva, sweat or tears is not a risk of contagion and neither are insect bites such as mosquito bites.
Do not share sharp objects or intimate hygiene with anyone, use a condom in sexual intercourses with anal or vaginal penetration and oral sex. If you have already participated in any of these risky practices you must address yourself to your referral healthcare center to undergo an HIV-detection test. It is advisory to wait for three months since the risk practice so that the test is effective.
If you are pregnant you must see your doctor. One of the tests that are performed on pregnant women is the HIV test. Pregnant women with a positive result for HIV can follow a treatment that effectively reduces the risk of transmission from mother to child. They must not breastfeed.
Remember that anyone can have HIV even if they do not have any symptoms
“Do not share sharp objects and intimate hygiene objects with anyone. Use a condom in all sexual intercourses with anal and vaginal penetrations and in oral sex”.
“If you have participated in any of these risky practices you must go to your referral healthcare center and undergo an HIV-screening test”.
“You can hug, kiss, share cuttlery with and share glasses with a person with HIV”.
Tuberculosis is an air-borne infectious disease. It is caused by a bacteria, known as Koch’s bacillus, and it usually affects lungs.
How is Tuberculosis transmitted?
The inhalation of bacilluses spread by a person with an active tuberculosis while coughing, sneezing, speaking or spitting suffices for your body to get infected.
There is a difference between infection and disease. When a person is infected two situations can happen:
- Latent infection. There is no disease and it cannot be transmitted. The bacillus that causes the disease can be latent in a person for years without activating itself. In this case we need to prevent the disease from activating itself. Thus, it is important to follow a medical treatment.
- Disease: The bacillus is active. In the majority of the cases it damages your lungs and it is at that moment that it can be transmitted through the air. The symptoms that a person with an active pulmonar tuberculosis can have are a high temperature, coughing (sometimes with blood), chest pain, night sweats, weight loss and weakness.
It is essential to take your treatment correctly (it takes several months) to get cured and to avoid the occurrence of resistance. A test is also performed on people who live in the same place as the person with the disease to rule out the possibility that they have got infected.
Tuberculosis, how is it detected?
The infection is detected by the tuberculin test. If the test is positibe it means that there has been contagion by the bacillus but it does not necessarily mean that you are sick. To learn if the disease is active other tests are performed.
The drugs to treat TB are administered by oral way and the treatment lasts a minimum of six months. For the firs weeks the patient is isolated in order to avoid infecting other people. The treatment must be followed continuously and regularly with no interruptions for the months indicated by the doctor. If the treatment is abandoned before it is time, the patient risks developing the disease and the drugs can cease to be effective .
“The inhalation of bacilluses spread by a person with an active tuberculosis while coughing, sneezing, speaking or spitting suffices for your body to get infected”.
“It is essential to take your treatment correctly (it takes several months) to get cured and to avoid the occurrence of resistance”.
“The symptoms that a person with an active pulmonar tuberculosis can have are a high temperature, coughing (sometimes with blood), chest pain, night sweats, weight loss and weakness”.
The Chagas disease is endemic in Latin America. The main way of transmission is through an insect that lives in Latin America. Ir does not exist in Spain, but many Latin American women come to Spain carrying the disease and they can infect their future children. It is stimated that some 46 000 are infected in Spain, most of which come from Bolivia.
The majority of the infected (70-80%) never develop the disease. Those who do suffer an irreversible damage in organs. In many cases a dilation occurs in the heart or in the digestive tract. These problems may appear up to 30 years after the infection, thus the importance of screening this disease to control the evolution of the disease and give treatment.
The symptoms depend on the organ that has been affected and they can go from persistent constipation to palpitations and intense fatigue. However, a medical diagnose is needed.
Treatment is effective if only a few years have passed since the infection, but it is not as effective if the disease has become chronic. Nevertheless, current research shows there are indeed benefits for chronic patients.
There are several healthcare centers that perform the Chagas disease test. You can ask your family doctor for a test.
There are specialised centers where you can have access to diagnosis, follow-up and treatment for Chagas disease.Existen centros especializados donde se realiza el diagnóstico, seguimiento y tratamiento de la enfermedad de Chagas.
“The majority of the infected (70-80 %) never develop the disease. Those who do suffer irreversible organ damage”.
“Se estima que en España existen 45.000 personas infectadas de Chagas que no lo saben”
“Medication is effective if only a few years have passed since the infection, but they are not that effective if the disease has become chronic. Nevertheless, current research shows there are indeed benefits for chronic patients”.
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