Most people do not know that there are two strains of the human immunodeficiency virus – HIV 1 and HIV 2. The biggest difference between the two strains is the frequency of occurrence; HIV 1 is much more common, and found throughout the globe. HIV is arguably the most dangerous type of sexual transmitted diseases (STD), as there is no effective cure for the virus and, if left untreated, HIV can have some devastating consequences.
The Effects of HIV on the Body
The HIV virus affects the body’s immune system, slowly attacking it and breaking it down over time. Targeting cells in the body known as T cells, HIV destroys these cells so that the body cannot fight of infections on its own. HIV and AIDS are not the same; HIV refers to the virus, and a HIV infection can cause AIDS when too many of the body’s T cells are destroyed. Because HIV inhibits a person’s ability to fight off infections, those who have HIV or AIDS are more prone to disease and infection – in some cases, these diseases or infections can lead to death.
The earlier in the infection you are diagnosed the better your opportunity at a long, healthy life, so it is imperative that you get tested today. SeroMatch offers an accurate, discreet HIV Web-based testing solution for you learn your status today.
The Stages of HIV
While there is medicine that can help people to live with HIV, there is no cure. If a person does not seek treatment, they will go through the stages of HIV. As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first stage of HIV is the acute infection stage, and is characterized by flu-like symptoms.
The second stage of HIV is the clinical latency stage, where the virus lays dormant and most people experience few – if any – symptoms. A person may be in this stage for decades at a time. Many people live long and healthy lives after an HIV diagnosis with much of that time being in the clinical latency stage. If you’ve tested positive for HIV then it is your moral obligation to notify any potential sex partners of your status. Members of the SeroMatch community inherently avoid the disclosure process as your matches are made based on your serology or what infections your potential partners do and do not have.
The third stage of HIV is AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The immune system of a person with AIDS is so badly damaged that a person who has AIDS and who does not receive treatment has an estimated lifespan of approximately three years.
How HIV 1 Is Transmitted
You cannot get HIV by kissing, hugging, touching, or sharing saliva with a person who is infected by the virus. Instead, HIV is only transferable from one person to the other in the event that an HIV-infected person exchanges certain bodily fluids with another. These bodily fluids are blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and rectal fluids.
The most common way that HIV is transmitted is through vaginal or anal sex, or by sharing needles/syringes with an infected person. A pregnant mother may also pass the virus to her unborn child. In rare cases, HIV has been transmitted by being bitten by an infected person, through oral sex, and through contact with broken skin wounds.
The best way to prevent HIV is to refrain from having unprotected sex, from having sex with multiple partners, and to always use condoms. Protected sex is perhaps a misnomer as the only “safe” sex is abstinence. However, you can add an extra, critical layer of protection to your dating life by becoming a member of the SeroMatch community and only matching up to partners with or without HIV based on your status.
Get Tested – Protect Yourself and Your Partners
HIV 1 is a very serious STD. You can protect yourself and your partners by getting a discreet and accurate HIV test through SeroMatch and you can take this protection a step further by joining the SeroMatch community.
Before things get too serious, SeroMatch ensures that both you and your partner lay it all on the table in terms of STDs. If you’re ready to get tested before things get heated, read our FAQs now.