Approximately 1.1 million people have HIV in the U.S. alone. At Real Wellness, LLC, in Collingswood, New Jersey, board-certified family medicine physician Robert Winn, MD, provides pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to prevent the spread of HIV. When taken daily, PrEP can help reduce your risk of contracting HIV through sex by up to 99%. Call or schedule an appointment online today to find out if PrEP is right for you.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that affects your immune system. Your immune system is a collection of structures and processes that protect your body against infections. HIV particularly targets your body’s CD4 cells, which makes it difficult for your immune system to defend itself against viruses, infections, and even certain types of cancer.
When left untreated, HIV can weaken your immune system to the point that the virus develops into a life-threatening condition called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS makes you vulnerable to a broad range of serious illnesses, including meningitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.
HIV spreads through bodily fluids, including blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids, and breast milk. You cannot transmit the virus through skin-to-skin or mouth-to-mouth contact. It also doesn’t spread through air or water.
Unprotected vaginal and anal sex are the most common ways that HIV spreads. While it is possible to contract HIV from oral sex, it’s far less likely. However, your chances of contracting the virus orally increase if you have open cuts or sores in your mouth.
Condoms are the most effective method for preventing the transmission of HIV through sex. To avoid contracting HIV through blood, it’s important not to engage in IV drug use. Sharing unclean needles significantly increases your chances of contracting HIV.
Dr. Winn also provides TRUVADA for PrEP®, a once-daily prescription that helps prevent the transmission of HIV through sex. You must be HIV negative before you take TRUVADA, so it’s important to get tested before you start taking this daily medication.
Everybody between the ages of 15 to 64 should get an HIV test at least once, regardless of their sexual activity or recreational drug use. Sexually active adults should get tested for HIV at least once a year to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you’re at a high risk of contracting HIV, particularly if you use IV drugs or have vaginal or anal sex without condoms, it’s important to get tested for HIV once every three to six months.
To learn more about HIV and get HIV testing, call Real Wellness, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.