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Video transcript

you so let's talk about the ways to minimize your risk of getting an HIV infection and you know probably the best way to do this is to identify the high-risk situations and talk about steps we can take to protect ourselves from infection in these high-risk situations and actually before I get into that let me just say that there is no vaccine for HIV so it really comes down to just kind of modifying certain behaviors to reduce our risk of becoming infected so we can start with the most risky sort of situation which is sexual activity right so sexual intercourse so vaginal sex between a man and a woman or anal sex between either man and woman or man and man or oral sex between mouth and either penis vagina or anus so if either sexual partner is infected then all of these activities pose a risk right of transmission of HIV from the infected to the uninfected partner so strategies to reduce or prevent HIV transmission in these scenarios well you could totally avoid all of these activities right abstinence from sex but whether or not that sign you're willing to do is really up to you but abstinence is really the only way you can be sure that you won't get an infection so and actually let's make a nice little list up here so ways to reduce or prevent HIV infection so abstinence but other options to reduce the risk of transmission are things like using condoms in any of these sexual acts right vaginal anal or oral sex and also things like having less risky sex because you know it turns out that anal sex for a variety of reasons that we've touched on before is by far the highest risk sexual activity for transmission of HIV between either partner so being extra careful in making sure that condoms are used in situations like this in particular is extra important in reducing the the risk of HIV transmission and oral sex is actually the least likely form of sex to facilitate HIV transmission but but again in all three of these these activity is barrier contraception like condoms can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission provided that they're they're properly used right and that's because they're literally a physical barrier right like bulletproof glass that is really effective at preventing any virus from getting across the condom from one partner to the other and I guess another strategy in this you know the sort of sexual domain is is to reduce the number of sexual partners that you have and this is for two reasons so one is that the more sexual partners that you have the higher the likelihood is right I mean even if it's still a small likelihood there's still a higher risk that one of your sexual partners has been exposed to HIV remember it often there's no outward symptoms of an HIV infection so limiting your number of partners or just just having one uninfected partner that you're in a monogamous relationship with that'll reduce your risk of becoming infected and the other reason why limiting your number of sexual partners is a good idea in this sense is because well the fewer the number of sexual partners the less likely you are to be exposed to any other STI any non HIV sexually transmitted infection you know things like chlamydia gonorrhea syphilis herpes and this is important because a lot of STI is manifest as sores or otherwise sort of broken skin in the genital area and as we know broken skin and you know maybe blood in that genital area it makes it a lot easier for HIV to cross from one person to another right through that broken skin so I guess we can add that to our list right avoiding sti's and treating them if we do have them and actually I touched on this a bit earlier but let's officially put it on our list getting ourselves tested so we know our HIV status right positive or negative and knowing our partners status as well whether they're positive or negative now we can sort of leave the sexual domain there and we can move on to other ways to prevent HIV transmission so we know that sharing needles in IV drug use intravenous drug use like say sharing heroin injection needles that activity in particular poses a really high risk of transmitting HIV from one user to the next because I mean if you think about it the person's blood right one person's blood is going directly from the tip of the used needle straight into the next person's bloodstream right and then that tip right that bit of blood might have some HIV in it so I think the best way to prevent HIV transmission here is to just absolutely refrain from using IV drugs right don't inject drugs but if you do then you should only use sterile equipment like brand new needles ie you literally opened the packaging yourself and and then don't ever share your equipment with anyone else that'll cut down on your risk of becoming HIV infected through IV drug use okay so those are two of our higher risk activity groups right sexual activities and drug use but now we're going to change gears a little bit here so the other higher risk ways to transmit HIV actually have to do with pregnancy and breastfeeding because during pregnancy and labor and and then the subsequent breastfeeding there's a chance right and sometimes actually quite a significant chance for an HIV infected mom to pass the HIV on to her little baby so ways to prevent or at least drastically reduce the risk of transmission of HIV in these scenarios is to take antiretroviral drugs or ARVs and a RV's work by reducing the amount of virus right the viral load in your body both in your blood and in your secretions so things like your breast milk or your genital or your sexual fluids so simply by taking your ARVs properly you end up with a way lower risk of passing on any HIV to your kiddos right and you know this method of preventing transmission this will be effective in every situation we've talked about so far right so any sexual activities and the IV drug use just lowering the amount of HIV in your body using ARVs that will directly reduce the risk of transmission to another person so the last thing I'll say is that there's medications called pre exposure prophylaxis or PR EP and post exposure prophylaxis or PEP and these medications can reduce your risk of becoming HIV infected before or after any high-risk situations so let's just expand on that a little bit so pre exposure prophylaxis that's a set of medications that are that are given to people who have a higher than average risk of contracting HIV so for example you know HIV negative people who are in relationships with HIV positive people so in addition to condom usage right these medications aren't really supposed to be used on their own so in addition to condom usage the person can get pre exposure prophylaxis drugs which are basically just a RVs that have a good chance of stopping any HIV that gets inside the HIV negative persons body from actually succeeding in causing an infection in the uninfected person and post exposure prophylaxis again our ARVs that are to be given pretty quickly after an HIV negative person has just been exposed to HIV so you know maybe it's a health care worker who is accidentally exposed to HIV through say a needle stick injury or maybe someone has had unprotected sex with an HIV positive person so these these two types of drugs are just ARVs that that have a good chance of stopping any HIV that gets inside an uninfected person's body from causing an infection and these PEP s work best if they're given within an hour of exposure but they'll still work up to three days after an exposure