The link between HIV & AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI):
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, while HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex, it can also be transmitted through the transfer of infected blood from one person to another and from an HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy.
When a person has a STI it increases their risk for getting HIV, because:
– Having a STI usually indicates that the person has not been practicing safer sex and most likely contracted the STI during unprotected sex. By not practicing safer sex and not correctly using barrier methods (condoms – male and female) you put yourself at significant risk to contract HIV.
– Having a STI usually indicates that the person may have sores or open wounds as a result of the infection and these form entry points for HIV to enter the blood stream.
-Having a STI means that the body’s immune system is already significantly weaker as the body tries to fight off the infection. As the immune systems suffers under the strain of fighting the STI, it becomes an easy target for HIV.
-It is very important to remember that a STI can not change into HIV, it is an entirely separate virus.
You can protect yourself and others by getting tested for both HIV and STIs and by practising safer sex.