Children, adolescents and adults are all screened for HIV infection in the same way: using a test called ELISA that allows the presence of the HIV antibody in the blood to be detected. Antibodies are the specific proteins that the body produces in order to fight infections; the antibodies specific to HIV are produced in response to infection with this virus. People who have antibodies to HIV in their blood are HIV-positive (or seropositive). If the ELISA test is positive, the patient’s HIV-positive status will be confirmed by another test, called Western Blot, in order to determine whether HIV is actually present. If this test also comes back positive, the patient is definitely infected with HIV.
AIDS is considered to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD), because sex is the most common method of contamination.
This is why the most important method of preventing AIDS lies in sex education: in fact, talking about HIV also means talking about sex, and it is not always easy for parents to broach this subject with their children.
Doctors advise that sex and other difficult topics be raised as early as possible, even before children reach adolescence. Children who are informed as early as possible about the risk factors of HIV are less likely to subsequently engage in risky behaviour.
The use of condoms is important in the prevention of AIDS, and communication with young people, especially in schools, is of paramount importance in preventing risky behaviour.
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