HIV also more common in heterosexuals: A self-test provides security

HIV and the disease AIDS particularly emerged in the 1980s. At that time, homosexual men in particular were affected by the HI virus and the subsequent immune disease AIDS. However, heterosexual people are also becoming more frequently infected with HIV. The reason for this is the lack of care.

HIV  (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is not easily transmissible in everyday life. Infections occur most frequently during sexual intercourse or when using drugs without protective measures. The HI virus can damage structures and cells of the immune system. The result: Even mild  colds  pose a health risk for those affected. The immune deficiency resulting from HIV is known as AIDS.

HIV in heterosexual people: That’s how important prevention is

In Great Britain, for the first time in a decade, more heterosexuals (49 percent) became infected with HIV than homosexuals (45 percent) – the missing percentage points are, for example, expectant mothers, who can transmit the virus to the  baby  . The numbers are also changing in Germany. While the number of homosexuals affected remained at the previous year’s level, new infections among heterosexuals also increased in this country.

The distribution does not mean that significantly more heterosexual people are infected with HIV, but that the number of new infections among homosexual people has decreased. The reason for this is the extensive education and consistent precautions to avoid infection.

Innovations such as the prophylactic pill PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) can prevent infection in advance. Easily accessible, at-home HIV self-tests enable early diagnosis and rapid treatment of newly infected people. Many heterosexual people, on the other hand, do not sufficiently deal with HIV screening.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), heterosexual people often become infected through sexual contact or drug use. Due to the lack of education, an infection often goes unnoticed, which can lead to further transmission until a diagnosis is made.

HIV self-test and other protective measures

In the case of changing sexual partners, the German Aids-Hilfe particularly recommends safer sex. In addition to condoms and femidoms, this also includes PrEP. These are  medications that people with an increased risk of HIV can take to prevent infection.

In people who are already infected with HIV, the multiplication of the virus in the body and thus infection can be prevented by means of therapy.

Anyone who has unprotected sex should also test themselves regularly for HIV.

This is how the home HIV test works

Home HIV self-tests are now available in pharmacies, AIDS organizations, drugstores and online. Important here is a CE mark and approval in Europe.

Since HIV antibodies only form after some time, it is advisable to wait twelve weeks after a possible transmission to carry out the test. An existing infection can be detected earlier. How the test works:

  1. Take some blood from the fingertip and put it into the associated test apparatus.
  2. After 15 minutes, the test shows the result, similar to a corona self-test.

The test itself does not detect the virus itself, but possible antibodies against the HI virus. The cost of the test is between 20 and 50 euros. However, they are often offered free of charge in test centers.

Because HIV tests are very sensitive, there is a possibility of a false positive result. A possible infection should therefore be checked by a doctor after a positive test. The local AIDS service also advises and recommends possible doctors.

If the result is positive, a therapy is worked out together, which restricts life only very slightly. Infected people can live well and for a long time because of the treatment options.

Virus variant VB detected in the Netherlands

In contrast to other pathogens, the genetic structure of the HI virus usually remains unchanged. A variant of HIV has been discovered in the Netherlands that carries a higher viral load and could potentially be more dangerous.

 

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