How To Practice Safe Sex (And Why It’s So Important)

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system and can affect the body’s ability to fight off disease and infection. It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is primarily contracted through unprotected sex. Once someone contracts HIV, they cannot be cured of it and will have the virus for the rest of their life. There are three different stages of HIV infection, with the final stage being acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). 


Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, there have been over 84 million people who have contracted the HIV virus and around 40 million of those individuals have died from it. 


However, with advancements in care and medication, people can reduce their risk of getting HIV, and those that do contract the virus are able to live longer, healthier lives. The steps and stages that people with HIV go through for treatment are known as the HIV care continuum, and entail the following:


  • Confirming HIV – The first step in HIV care is getting an accurate diagnosis. This involves getting tested to detect the virus and determine the stage of the disease. If a person is diagnosed with HIV, their healthcare provider will work with them to create a treatment plan that is tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
  • Linkage to HIV Medical Care – The next step is to be linked to the necessary medical care, like an HIV specialist. This will then enable patients with HIV to get regular medical check-ups, monitoring of the virus, and the medications prescribed to help fight the virus. 
  • Receipt of HIV Medical Care – Next, patients will actually receive specialized medical care for HIV. This generally involves being prescribed and taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is the cornerstone of HIV care. ART involves taking a combination of medications that target different stages of the virus’s life cycle. The goal of ART is to suppress the virus to undetectable levels, which not only keeps the person living with HIV healthy but also greatly reduces the risk of transmission to others.
  • Retention in HIV Medical Care – The next stage of the HIV care continuum is retaining patients so they continue to get the care they need. This involves ongoing, regularly scheduled check-ups, testing, ART, and other medical care. Receiving continuous care has been shown to increase safer sexual behaviors and result in better health outcomes.
  • Achievement and Maintenance of Viral Suppression – The final step in HIV care is achieving viral suppression, which means that there are fewer than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood. This is achieved through ART and taking prescribed medicines consistently, and it is the primary goal of HIV treatment.  


In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes can also help people with HIV manage their health and improve their overall quality of life. This may include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, reducing stress, and avoiding substance abuse. People living with HIV should also practice safe sex and take steps to prevent the transmission of the virus to others.

Care for people with HIV also includes emotional and mental support. HIV can be a difficult diagnosis to manage, and people with HIV may experience feelings of stigma, isolation, and depression. It’s essential for individuals with HIV to have a strong support system in place, including friends, family, and a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable and supportive.

HIV/AIDS long-term care can involve a lot of consistency, effort, patience, and more. But committing to it and being consistent can result in better outcomes and help those who are HIV-positive live longer, healthier lives.

At Community Care Resources of Florida (CCRSFL), we are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care to those in our community by providing excellent medical services, therapy, and outreach to individuals affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV, hepatitis C, and/or substance abuse. We strive to deliver healthcare with compassion and affordability to all.

Since our foundation, our goal has been to serve our Altamonte Springs, Hallandale Beach, and Winter Haven communities by providing access to care and resources that help our patients become healthier through safer practices with their partners. We have qualified technicians available to serve you. If you’re interested in our services, you can book an appointment on our website or call us at 1(877) 287-2520!

Contact any of our offices if you need testing and treatment.

106 Boston Avenue Suite 204
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Haines City:
280 Patterson Road, Suite 3
Haines City, FL 33844

Hallandale Beach:
1008 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009