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AIDS and HIV Infection – World AIDS Day 2019!

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, a pattern of devastating infections caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, which attacks and destroys certain white blood cells that are essential to the body’s immune system. When HIV infects a cell, it combines with that cell’s genetic material and may lie inactive for years. Most people infected with HIV are still healthy and can live for years with no symptoms or only minor illnesses. They are infected with HIV, but they do not have AIDS. After a variable period of time, the virus becomes activated and then leads progressively to serious infections and other conditions that characterize AIDS. Although there are treatments that can extend life, AIDS is a fatal disease.

HIV/AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s. Since then the number of people infected with HIV has increased rapidly throughout the world. HIV/AIDS has become the most widely talked about the condition in history. However, each day more and more people are becoming infected. We do not use what we know is right to protect ourselves from infection with the virus. To make matters worse, many people are infected with HIV, yet do not have an HIV test to find out their status so they can get help and support. The key is information and action. The first step is to find out whether you are living with HIV or not. If you are living with HIV, you can get information about how to stay healthy as well as how to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you are not living with HIV, you can get information about how to remain that way.

How is HIV spread?

HIV is spread in the following ways:

  1. Sexual intercourse HIV can be found in the semen and vaginal fluids of a person who is HIV positive. He or she can pass HIV onto another person through unprotected sex (not using a condom) vaginal, oral or anal sex.
  2. Pregnancy HIV may be passed onto a baby from an HIV positive mother. Not all HIV positive mothers give birth to babies that are HIV positive. The risk of passing on HIV to the babies increases if the mother is sick with an AIDS illness or if the mother gets infected with HIV during pregnancy. HIV can be passed to the baby during:
  • The pregnancy
  • At the time of delivery
  • In breast milk

Many women only find out they have HIV when they fall pregnant. By this time the unborn child is at risk of getting HIV. The chances of HIV passing from mother to child are between 20 and 40% during pregnancy and at the time of delivery. The risk of infection increases if the mother breastfeeds. There are now medicines available to help reduce the spread of HIV to the baby.

  1. Blood HIV can pass from one person to another through his or her blood. Sometimes sick people are given extra blood through a blood transfusion. In South Africa, blood transfusions are safe because blood is tested before it is given to sick people. HIV can be passed on in very small amounts of blood, for example when people share razor blades that are not cleaned properly. HIV can also be passed on by injecting drugs and sharing needles. People most at risk of this happening are:
  • Injecting drug users
  • Doctors and nurses treating patients with HIV

HIV can also be passed on when handling blood without gloves, e.g. after an accident, as this blood may contain the HIV germ that could enter through cuts and open wounds.

Doctors agree that you cannot get HIV from:

  • Eating food prepared by someone with HIV
  • Sharing cups, mugs, plates, food, spoons, forks, etc
  • Door handles or rails
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Tears or saliva
  • Toilet seats
  • Holding or shaking hands
  • Mosquitoes
  • Swimming pools or baths
  • Working or attending school with someone who is HIV positive
  • Donating blood
  • Living with someone who has HIV
  • Being next to or close to someone who has HIV
  • Kissing, hugging or touching

What are the symptoms of HIV infection?

Within a month or two of getting infected with HIV, many people (but not all) can develop flu-like symptoms, swollen glands or a rash. These symptoms usually go away within a couple of weeks, and a person can look and feel well for many years before the symptoms come back.

This period when you look and feel well can last five to seven years or longer in adults and two to five years or longer in children born with HIV. As HIV continues to attack the immune system, the illnesses start to show again.

How do I stop myself from being infected with HIV?

There is no cure for HIV. Once a person has HIV, they will remain infected for the rest of their life. Therefore preventing the spread is the most important way of controlling HIV.

The following actions will prevent the spread of HIV:

  • Protected sex – with a condom, used correctly.
  • Sex without penetration – this is when a man’s penis does not enter the woman’s vagina or anus. This is also a safe sex. Sex can be a way of showing love but not the only way. You can also show love by kissing, touching and holding each other.
  • You can have a sexual climax without penetration by rubbing the person’s private parts with hands or fingers.
  • It is important to reduce the number of different sexual partners.
  • New relationships – you should use a condom. Both of you should go for an HIV test before you stop using condoms. It is safe to have sex without protection if both HIV tests are negative. This means you are both free of HIV.
  • Remember that both partners must stay in a sexually faithful relationship with only each other, otherwise, the sex will no longer be safe. This is a faithful relationship.

Male Masturbation – 5 Things You Didn’t Know

If there’s one thing that almost every guy is an expert at, it’s masturbation. After years of extensive, hands-on experience, you think you know everything there is to know. But according to the experts, maybe you don’t. Here are some that may surprise you.

1. Masturbation doesn’t have the health benefits that sex does

Study after study shows that intercourse has all sorts of benefits for men for your blood pressure, heart and prostate health, pain, and more. You’d think that masturbation would, too. But it doesn’t. Why would it make a difference whether you ejaculate during sex or on your own? No one’s sure. But your body seems to respond differently. Even the makeup of semen is different if you masturbate instead of having sex.

Still, does it really matter? Have you honestly been masturbating all these years only because you wanted to boost your prostate health? Didn’t think so. But one study, Harvard’s Health Professional Follow-up, showed that Masturbation may help lower the risk of prostate cancer.

2. Masturbation is not risk-free

Sure, it’s low-risk. It’s the safest form of sex possible. No one ever caught an STD from himself or made himself pregnant. But like other low-risk activities (chewing, walking), it still has some risks. Frequent or rough masturbation can cause minor skin irritation. Forcefully bending an erect penis can rupture the chambers that fill with blood, a rare but gruesome condition called penile fracture.

3. There’s no “normal” amount of masturbation

Guys can get hung up on whether they masturbate too much. But it’s not how many times you masturbate in a week (or day) that really matters. It’s how it fits into your life. If you masturbate many times a day and have a healthy, satisfying life, good for you. But if you masturbate many times a day and you’re missing work or giving up on sex with your partner because of it, consider seeing a sex therapist.

Even then, there’s nothing specific about masturbation that’s the problem. Compulsive masturbation is like any behavior that disrupts your life whether it’s compulsively playing poker or checking your social media every other minute.

4. Masturbating doesn’t reflect on your relationship

The fact is that most guys masturbate. They masturbate if they’re single, in a bad relationship, or in a great relationship. It’s just something they do that has nothing to do with their partners.

Masturbation isn’t only about sex, for many, it’s a routine way of relieving stress, clearing your head before work, or going to sleep.

5. Masturbation is almost certainly good for your sex life

Masturbation can help your sex life since it’s how guys learn what they like during sex. Women would be more satisfied sexually in their relationships if they masturbated as much as men do.

For the vast majority of men, masturbation is a healthy thing, a guy who’s stopped masturbating can be a sign of anxiety or health problems than a guy who’s doing it regularly.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Penis

1. Use it or lose it
To maintain a healthy tone, the smooth muscle of the penis must be periodically enriched with oxygen by the rush of blood that engorges the penis and makes it erect. If a guy is physically able to get erect but never has erections during the day, maybe he finds himself in very un-erotic circumstances for a long time, he need not worry. The brain has an automatic built-in penis maintenance function.

Impulses from the brain cause erections during the dreaming phase of sleep called the REM phase. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a hot sex dream or a zombie apocalypse nightmare, your penis gets hard during that period of the sleep cycle.

But some men are physically unable to get erections, such as those who’ve suffered trauma to the nerves involved or who have nerve or blood vessel damage caused by diabetes.
“If they don’t do anything to maintain normal erections, they will get shortening of the penis. Without regular erections, penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, making the penis 1-2 centimeters shorter.

A device like a vacuum pump, which forces the penis to swell with blood, can help men with physical erection problems maintain a healthy penis.

2. Your penis may be a ‘Grower’ or a ‘Show-er’
Among men, there is no consistent relationship between the size of the flaccid penis and its full erect length.
In one study of 80 men, researchers found that increases from flaccid to erect lengths ranged widely, from less than a quarter-inch to 3.5 inches longer.

Whatever the clinical significance of these data may be, the locker-room significance is considerable. You can’t assume that a dude with a big, limp penis gets much bigger with an erection. And the guy whose penis looks tiny might get a surprisingly big erection.

An analysis of more than a thousand measurements taken by sex researcher shows that shorter flaccid penises tend to gain about twice as much length as longer flaccid penises.

A penis that doesn’t gain much length with an erection has become known as a “show-er”, and a penis that gains a lot is said to be a “grower.” These are not medical terms, and there aren’t scientifically established thresholds for what’s a show-er or a grower.

Most penises aren’t extreme show-ers or growers. About 12% of penises gained one-third or less of their total length with an erection, and about 7% doubled in length when erect.

3. The Pleasure Zone
Many men consider the underside of the glans (head) of the penis and the underside of the shaft to be most sensitive to sexual pleasure. Researchers asked 81 healthy men to rate the erotic sensitivity of different areas of their bodies, including not only the penis but also zones such as the scrotum, anus, nipples, and neck.

The underside of the glans and underside of the shaft had the highest sensitivity rating for a significant majority of men, followed by the upper side of the glans, left and right sides of the glans, sides of the penis, upper side of the shaft, and foreskin (for the minority of men who were uncircumcised).

4. Sensitivity declines with age
Studies show that the penis steadily loses sensitivity as men age though it’s hard to say exactly by how much. That’s because different researchers have used different ways to stimulate the penis and measure sensitivity. In general, the sensitivity of the penis is gauged by the least amount of stimulation a man is able to feel. That is called the “sensory threshold.”

Despite the differences between studies, the data show a clear trend when taken together. From age 25 on, sensitivity starts to decline. The sharpest decline in sensitivity is seen between age 65 and 75.

5. Vibrators work on the penis too
Vibrators aren’t only for women. They work on the penis, too. In fact, vibration is so effective on the penis that often men with spinal cord injuries can ejaculate with the aid of a special medical vibrator. For this kind of treatment, the vibrator is usually held against the underside of the head of the penis. The vibrators are tuned to stimulate parts of the nervous system involved in ejaculation. “They work at frequencies or amplitudes that are more specific to the [nerve] pathways.”

Most men don’t need a medical vibrator to trigger an orgasm. Although vibrators often help men with ejaculation problems, you don’t have to have any kind of medical condition to use one. You could do it just for fun.

6. There’s more to the penis than meets the eye
Most guys would be proud to know that their penis is twice as long as they think, that’s because half the length of the penis is inside your body. Just like you don’t see all of a big oak tree above ground, you don’t see the root of your penis tucked up inside your pelvis and attached to your pubic bone. As seen in an MRI picture, an erect penis is shaped like a boomerang.

7. Your Penis Is a Habitat
The skin of your penis is home to a diverse community of bacteria. Researchers used genetic tests to identify the bacteria found on men’s penises. Their study showed there were a total of 42 unique kinds of bacteria inhabiting the skin of the penis. “We see that the human body is essentially an ecosystem”.

But uncircumcised and circumcised penises don’t have the same variety and abundance of bacteria. The researchers first analyzed samples from the penises of 12 men who were planning to get circumcised. Samples were taken and analyzed again after the men were circumcised.

After circumcision, there were fewer kinds of bacteria on the men’s penises. Many of the kinds of bacteria found to be less common or absent after circumcision were anaerobic meaning that they don’t need oxygen to grow.

The inner fold of the foreskin is a mucous membrane, like the inside of a person’s eyelids. I liken it to clear-cutting a forest. “You’re going to get a lot more sunlight, and you’re going to drastically change the environment.”
The study was done in Uganda, and all of the men studied were Ugandan.

Their research could help explain why circumcision has been linked to a lower risk of getting HIV. One theory is the anaerobic bacteria may prompt the immune system to respond in a way that makes cells more vulnerable to HIV infection.

8. Most Men Aren’t Circumcised
Worldwide, approximately 30% of males aged 15 and older are circumcised, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.

Rates vary greatly depending upon religion and nationality, the report states. Almost all Jewish and Muslim males in the world have circumcised penises, and together they account for almost 70% of all circumcised males globally.
Some research shows that there may be health benefits from circumcision. For instance, circumcised men may be less likely to pass sexually transmitted diseases to their female partners or to develop penile cancer.