The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Consent conversations can reduce spread of sexually transmitted infections

It is time to talk about consent. It is time to listen and understand that without consent, an individual may also be at risk of HIV if one engages in sexual activity without protection.

Consent-less sexual violence can jeopardize the victim’s health. Informed consent considers partners’ awareness of sexual activity and its consequences.

Without being informed of the risks of sexual activity the partners become responsible for various health-related issues, one of which is the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, blood residues and syringes. The virus hijacks important cells that are responsible for a human’s natural defense system.

Analogous to a leech, which attaches itself to its host and depletes its energy, HIV can cause dysfunction in human immune response by delivering its genome into the cells’ cytoplasm, a gel-like substance that holds cell contents. The viral component of an HIV genome becomes a part of normal cell’s genetic information, which is then imported into the cell’s cellular machinery.

Although the general theory of infectious disease implies that there are less infectious, and defective, strains of HIV to which patients may develop resistance, there are only a few available treatments which can hinder the progression of HIV to AIDS.

AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity, states on its website, “antiretroviral treatment can suppress HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and can delay AIDS-related illness for many years. It cannot clear the virus completely.”

Since current studies on HIV infection have not developed reliable therapeutic gains, it is crucial that individuals take care of their sexual health to protect themselves from sexually transmittable diseases.

To prevent the continuation of HIV transmission, it is especially necessary to stop sexual violence.

“HIV prevention is part of consent because of communicating your status and being able to communicate your sexual health,” said Danneth Corpuz of Vista Community Clinic in San Diego, in audio podcast called Consent is Mandatory: Preventing Sexual Violence and HIV/AIDS Transmission.

It is true that uninformed sexual intercourse puts the partners at a risk of exchanging immunodeficiency viruses, which cause AIDS and other life threatening diseases.

Sexual violence puts individuals at risk of contracting the HIV infection. Both sex offenders and survivors could be carriers of HIV.

“Consent, sexual violence and AIDS prevention are along the same lines because if you can solve one, you (can help) solve the other,” said Teresa Bedzigui, a co-leader of the AIDS Awareness Project at Guilford College.

HIV infection is one of the most common, and obscure, health-related problems which can be transmitted as a result of sex. It is time to talk about consent so that sexual assault, and the health-related issues that come along with it, can be stopped.

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