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HIV/AIDS IN SIMPLE WORDS

AIDS is short for: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a serious condition in which the body's defences against some illnesses are broken down. People with AIDS develop many different kinds of diseases which the body would usually fight off quite easily.

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It's an unusual virus because a person can be infected with it for many years and yet appear to be perfectly healthy. But the virus gradually multiplies inside the body and eventually destroys the body's ability to fight off illnesses. It is still not certain that everyone with HIV infection will get AIDS. A person with HIV may not know of being infected but can pass the virus on to other people.

HIV is present in the sexual fluids and blood of infected people. If infected blood or sexual fluid gets into your blood, then you will become infected. If a man with HIV has vaginal intercourse without a condom, infected fluid could pass into the woman's blood stream through a tiny cut or sore inside her body. This can be so small that you don't know about it. If a woman with HIV has sexual intercourse without a condom, HIV could get into the man's blood through a sore patch on his penis or by getting into the tube which runs down the penis. If there is any contact with blood during sex, this increases the risk of infection. Therefore with this nasty HIV virus hanging above our heads, safe sex means, above all, using a condom during sexual intercourse.

HIV can also be passed on by sharing equipment used to inject drugs. Blood can remain on needles and syringes. If you share a syringe, and a person infected with HIV used it first, the virus can be injected directly into your blood. Some people think that AIDS is something that other people need to worry about - gays, drug users, people who sleep around. These ideas are totally wrong. All young people, whoever they are, wherever they live, need to take the threat of HIV seriously.

You can only become infected with HIV if you engage in risky activities. If you have sex without a condom with a number of different sexual partners, or share needles or syringes with several other drug users, you increase your chances of coming into contact with someone already infected. Condoms can only be effective if used correctly. How? Follow us...

WHAT ARE AND HOW TO PROPERLY USE CONDOMS

A number of different types of condom are now available. What is generally called a condom is the "male" condom, a sheath or covering which fits over a man's penis, and which is closed at one end. There is also now a female condom, or vaginal pouch, which is used by a woman and which fits inside her vagina. We will now talk about the male condom, which is the most commonly used and ready available.

The following instructions should also be read by female partners, who should learn how to use condoms as well, and help their partners - especially if they are not that much "condom-oriented" - to use and put them on.

You need to use a new condom every time you have sexual intercourse. Never use the same condom twice. Put the condom on after the penis is erect and before any contact is made between the penis and any part of the partner's body. Open the condom package at one corner being careful not to tear the condom with your fingernails or your teeth. Make sure the package and condom appear to be in good condition, and check that if there is an expiry date that the date has not passed.

Place the rolled condom over the tip of the hard penis, and if the condom does not have a reservoir top, pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a half inch space for semen (i.e. the thick, whitish fluid secreted by the male reproductive organs) to collect. If the man is not circumcised (which means that he has not undergone the surgical removal of the penis's foreskin - a practice used as a religious rite or for hygienic measures), then pull back the foreskin before rolling on the condom. Pinch the air out of the condom tip with one hand and unroll the condom over the penis with the other hand. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis, and smooth out any air bubbles that can cause a condom to break. After you and your partner have reached the climax, pull out before the penis softens, and hold the condom against the base of the penis while you pull out, so that the semen doesn't spill. Then tie a knot in the condom and throw it away.

If a condom breaks during sexual intercourse, then pull out quickly and replace the condom. With anal intercourse more strain can be placed on the condom. So it is sensible to use stronger condoms and plenty of lubricant. Remember, if used properly, a condom is very effective at reducing the risk of being infected with HIV during sexual intercourse. Using a condom also provides protection against other sexually transmitted diseases, and protection against pregnancy. Furthermore, don't ever be afraid to ask your partner to use a condom, and if your partner (and this applies both to females and males) at first does not totally agree to use it blaming your request on a simple lack of trust and he/she insist to go without it "just once", remind him/her that trust isn't the point, because people can have infections without realizing it and that "just once" is all it takes to drastically change your life and get HIV infected.

For more details about condoms and their use, please visit 'La Condomerie' website: they not only sell all kinds of condoms, but they also provide very useful information and suggestions!

 


 

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