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Hiv Prevention And Sexually Active Youth

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HIV Prevention in Sexually Active Youth

HIV, which stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus, is a disease that attacks

and destroys the body’s T-Cells while using them to make copies of itself (What is

HIV/AIDS). Normally, T-cells send signals to the immune system, alerting it to the

presence of bacteria or viruses (CD4 Count). Unfortunately, unlike other viruses that the

immune system protects us against, the immune system is unable to defeat the HIV

Over the infected person’s lifespan, they may go through the three stages of HIV,

but with treatment it is possible that the person may not encounter all of the stages

(Stages). The first stage of the disease is called acute infection and will occur between

two to four weeks
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Without treatment, however, a

person will only remain in the second stage for approximately ten years before moving

onto the third and final stage, AIDs (Stages). At this point in the progression of HIV, the

immune system is no longer capable of defending the body against infections and some

cancers (Stages). This stage is characterized by a number of T-Cells below 200 cells

per cubic millimeter of blood, or the contraction of one or multiple opportunistic

HIV can be contracted by several means, the most common being sexual contact

and intravenous drug use (How Do You Get HIV or AIDS). Additionally, HIV can be

spread through occupational exposure, blood transfusions or organ transplants,

pregnancy, childbirth, and breast feeding (How Do You Get HIV or AIDS). People at

increased risk from lifestyle choices for contracting this disease are those that have a

pre-existing STI, or engage in unprotected sex, especially anal sex, and have numerous

partners (Mayo Clinic Staff). Intravenous drug users have an increased risk if they are

sharing needles or syringes (Mayo Clinic Staff). Ethnicity also has an impact on risk,

with African Americans being most at risk (Who Is at Risk). Other groups at an

increased risk are American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Hispanics, Native

Hawaiians, and other pacific islanders (Who Is at Risk).0

HIV is a serious problem both in the United States as well as worldwide. The

American Foundation for Aids
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