It’s Be Kind to Humankind Week this week, and we’re asking everyone to do that by stopping the spread of infectious diseases!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. In other words, infectious diseases are tiny bad organisms that can be spread from person to person.
Well-known types of infectious diseases are viral hepatitis, HIV, and the common flu. Luckily, with the advancement of medicine and availability of vaccines, diseases such as malaria, measles, and tuberculosis are far less common in the U.S. than they are in other countries of the world.
Even with vaccines and the means to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as viral hepatitis and HIV, modernized populations are still faced with frequent outbreaks.
Why is this?
Part of the problem is that a great majority of people are not aware of just how easily transmission can be prevented.
For example, the most common strain of HIV in the U.S. is HIV-1 which is passed at the highest rate through unprotected sexual activities.
It is important for people to understand their risk of being infected with HIV and working proactively to protect themselves and their partners. This includes using a form of protection when engaging in sexual activity such as the male condom, female condom, or dental dam.
Also, it is important for individuals to get tested for the HIV infection even if they have only been with one partner. Knowing your status and being able to openly talk to your partner about theirs is a key step in preventing the spread of HIV as well as infectious diseases like viral hepatitis and other STIs.
Even the common flu can be prevented by taking some proper precautions: hand-washing, getting vaccinated, avoiding public environments when you are experiencing symptoms, and not sharing personal items.
As the flu season approaches and the STI season continually rages on, be kind to human kind and stop the spread of infectious diseases.