On World Aids Day Thehealthsitecom Spoke To Dr Deepak Verma Consultant Internal Medicine Manipal Hospital Ghaziabad To Understand Everything About This Condition And Myths That One Can Now Put At Rest
Written by Satata Karmakar | Published : December 1, 2021 4:12 PM IST
HIV and AIDS might sound similar, but HIV is basically a virus that has infected human beings, but when we say it is AIDS, then this infection has progressed to such an extent that there is an immunodeficiency, to the extent that the patient comes with severe infections with rare microorganisms HIV positive individuals need not develop AIDS. It is important to understand that if a person who tested positive for HIV and with time management, proper medicines, preventive vaccination, and health check-up the HIV positive individual can lead a normal life.In such cases, HIV will not ever progress to the stage of AIDS. Today, On World AIDS Day, TheHealthSite.com spoke toDr. Deepak Verma, consultant internal medicine, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad to understand everything about this condition and myths that one can now put at rest.
Isnt Hiv Only A Risk For Certain Groups Of People
Like most illnesses, HIV doesnt discriminate between types of people and the infection can be passed on to anyone via one of the ways mentioned above.
Some people are more vulnerable to HIV infection if they engage regularly in certain activities that are more likely to transmit the virus. However, its a common misunderstanding that HIV only affects certain groups.
While not everyone has the same level of HIV risk, everyone can reduce their risk of infection.
How Do You Get Hiv
The HIV virus is in biological fluids of a HIV positive person. The virus in these fluids can pass through small wounds in the mouth, in the anus , in genital organ, or through skin lacerations , some through mucous membranes thus reaching the bloodstream of another person, infecting her. You can get infected also intravenously , sharing the same needles for injecting substances , or through transfusions of infected blood and its derivatives. Both men and women can be the source of HIV infection. Pregnant women or during childbirth or breastfeeding can also transmit the virus to their child . The most frequent ways of transmission of HIV are still: sharing syringes for injecting drugs / steroids and unprotected sex . HIV is not transmitted by touching or hugging an infected person using or sharing the same cups, glasses, cutlery or telephone going to places like swimming pools or public baths through insect bites . The HIV virus is not in the air or in food , and survives outside the body for a very short time . Currently, it is very unlikely to get HIV through blood transfusions in the United States and in western Europe due to the strict scrutiny applied.
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Its Easy To Tell The Symptoms Of Hiv
The symptoms of HIV can differ from person-to-person and some people may not get any symptoms at all. Without treatment, the virus will get worse over time and damage your immune system over time. There are three stages of HIV infection with different possible effects.
Also, you also cant tell by looking at someone whether they have HIV or not. Many people don’t show signs of any symptoms. And, for people living with HIV who are on effective treatment, they are just as likely to be as healthy as everyone else.
How Many People Are Living With Hiv
Name of Office: JRRMMC
The latest world data that we have is in 2008 at 33.4 million, but only God knows of our present status. In the Philippines, our case detection of HIV positives were 2-3x for 2010 compared to 2008 figures. Detections are increasing among men having sex with men, blood samples and spouses of OFWs. Total reported cases in the PH from 1984-2010 is 5,625 and AIDS among these is 852.
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How Hiv Cannot Be Spread
From both a biological and epidemiological evidence, HIV cannot and has never been shown to be passed from one person to the next by the following means:
- Touching, hugging, kissing or shaking hands
- Touching an object an HIV-positive person has touched
- Sharing utensils or cups
- Eating food prepared by an HIV-positive person
- Sharing grooming items, even toothbrushes or razors
- Getting spit on by an HIV-positive person
- Getting bitten by an HIV-positive person
- Touching semen or vaginal fluid
- Getting blood from an HIV-positive person on you
- Using public fountains, toilet seats, or showers
To date, there has not been a single documented case of transmission by any of these means.
Can I Contract Hiv By Kissing With Open Mouth
The open-mouthed kiss is theoretically considered at very low risk of infection. This is because a prolonged open-mouthed kiss always theoretically, if aggressive, can create small lesions on the lips or in the mouth, allowing the virus to move from an infected person to another. In practice, both the open-mouthed kiss and the deep kiss are not considered risky behaviours nor to get or transmit HIV.
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Tips To Avoid Hiv Transmission
To prevent the spread of HIV, follow these guidelines:
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse
- Never share needles and syringes
- Avoid multiple sexual partners
- Use lubricant during sexual intercourse to reduce friction and dryness which can cause vaginal tears and broken condoms.
- Speak to your doctor about PrEP , if you believe you are at high risk of exposure. PrEP is a daily medication used to help prevent HIV.
- Speak to your doctor about taking post-exposure prophylaxis if you think you’ve just been exposed to the virus. PEP is a type of antiretroviral medication that help prevent HIV if started within 72 hours after you might have been exposed to the virus.
Ways That Hiv Is Not Transmitted
HIV is not transmitted by day-to-day activities or by contact with objects, food or clothes.
The following list includes just a few examples of questions we get from people worried about catching HIV.
Most of these questions come from a combination of fear and ignorance. They come from a lack of confidence in understanding HIV transmission.
You can NOT catch HIV from:
- Eating any food, cooked or uncooked, with blood on it.
- From a sterile needle at a clinic or other health centre.
- From a human bite.
- From an insect bite including a mosquito bite.
- From an animal.
- From living in the same house as someone who is HIV positive.
- From a sewing needle if you stab your finger.
- From blood on a bus seat that went through your underwear.
- Cleaning nail clippers.
- Using a knife/fork/spoon/cup/plate that an HIV positive person may have used.
- Getting sexual fluid on skin.
- Getting sexual fluid on a cut that has already healed over. A cut has to be open to be a risk of HIV.
The above are all real examples sent as questions to i-Base. They show that ignorance about HIV is still common.
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Am I At Risk Of Becoming Infected With Hiv When Visiting The Doctor Or Dentist
Transmission of HIV in a health care setting is extremely rare. All health professionals are required to follow infection control procedures when caring for any patient. These procedures are called Universal Precautions for infection control. They are designed to protect both patients and health care professionals from the transmission of blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
What Is Hiv And What Is Aids
HIV/AIDS are widely known as incurable sexually transmitted diseases, but you might not know the difference between these acronyms and what they stand for.
For simplicityâs sake, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
If a person takes a blood test and receives a diagnosis of HIV, then they are HIV positiveâif a person does not have HIV, then they are HIV negative. HIV causes havoc in a personâs body by weakening their immune system . HIV progressively destroys the cellular part of the immune systemâparticularly types of white blood cells called CD4 cellsâwhich, over time, makes the person become immunodeficient .
As the HIV infection develops in the body, the person will become more and more immunodeficient until they reach a point where they are classified as having Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . This is often the end stage of an HIV infection, where a personâs body is so immunodeficient that they develop infections, diseases, or cancers and are no longer able to mount a immune defense and fight them off .
There is no cure for HIV . But, if a person does become infected with HIV there are treatments available which can help keep a person healthy.
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Viral Load & Medications
If someone has HIV, this does not mean that they are restricted to celibacy. Many people with HIV still continue to have safe, enjoyable sex lives without spreading the virus. Always using a condom or barrier method is an important first step to prevent the sharing of HIV containing fluids.
Antiretroviral therapy : Another way to help decrease the risk of spreading HIV is to lower a personâs viral loadâthe amount of HIV in a personâs blood. Viral loads can be lowered using medications called antiretroviral therapy . These medications can lower the HIV viral load so much that HIV may not even be detectable on a blood testâthis is called an undetectable viral load . When a person’s viral load in undetectable, they have effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to a non-infected partner . Taking these medication will help keep a person with HIV healthy while also helping prevent the spread of HIV to another person. This is not a cure, however. If medication is taken incorrectly or stopped, HIV viral loads will increase again and transmission can occur. Condoms and other barrier methods should still always be used during sex .
Bites That Break The Skin
A bite that opens the skin and causes bleeding can lead to the transmission of HIV. However, according to the CDC, there have been very few cases of a human bite causing enough damage to the skin to transmit HIV.
Theres no need to be afraid of having casual contact with someone who is living with HIV. The virus does not live on the skin and cannot live very long outside the body.
Here are some ways that HIV cannot be transmitted:
- sitting next to someone with HIV
- closed-mouth kissing
- a bite that doesnt break the skin
- insects that bite, like ticks and mosquitoes
- other casual contact that does not involve transmission of bodily fluids
Having a detectable or measurable viral load can be a risk factor of HIV transmission. Viral load is the amount of virus that can be detected in the blood. The rate of HIV transmission goes up with increasing viral load.
Viral load is highest both during the early phase of HIV and without treatment with antiretroviral medications. Taking antiretroviral medications every day can reduce a persons viral load to very low levels that cannot be detected through testing.
In this way, antiretroviral medications are not only a treatment, but an important tool for prevention. When HIV cannot be detected in the blood, a person living with HIV cannot sexually transmit the virus to a partner without HIV.
This principle is called Undetectable = Untransmittable .
- people who use injection drugs
- transgender people
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Can I Get Hiv By Anal Intercourse
Yes, as said, the virus is in body fluids: blood, semen, vaginal secretion. In general, the person who receives the seminal fluid has a higher risk of infection, because the lining of the intestine rectum is thin and may allow the virus to cross during intercourse, besides the fact that often arise micro wounds. The other partner is also at risk of infection because the virus can enter through the urethra or through small wounds on the penis. Having anal intercourse without a condom is considered a high-risk behaviour. In addition, while using a condom, anal sex can be risky due to possible breakage of condoms during intercourse. To avoid this, it is advisable to always use a water-based lubricant.
Bacteria That Can Be Transmitted By Kissing
Examples of bacteria that can be transmitted during kissing include:
- Meningococcal disease this is a potentially life-threatening condition which includes meningitis, inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia. These bacteria can be spread either through direct contact or via droplets. Studies show that, with respect to kissing, only deep kissing seems to be a risk factor.
- Tooth decay the bacteria that cause tooth decay arent found in the mouths of newborn babies. A babys mouth must be colonised with infected saliva, which can be passed by a kiss on the lips.
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Case Of Hiv Transmission Is First To Be Linked To Kiss
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A woman apparently acquired the AIDS virus from deep kisses with an infected man, Federal health officials said yesterday. They said the case was the first reported transmission of H.I.V., the AIDS virus, through kissing.
Both the man and woman had gum disease, factors that apparently facilitated transmission of H.I.V. Transmission most likely was through the man’s blood, not saliva, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said in its weekly report.
In emphasizing the rarity of such transmission, the Federal centers said the case was the only known one involving kissing among the 500,000 AIDS cases that have been reported to it since the epidemic was detected in 1981.
The agency has long recommended against deeply kissing an infected individual and said that individuals who did should be tested for H.I.V. infection.
Those who do not know the infection status of the people they have kissed deeply may want to get H.I.V. tests, just as they would ”for any number of better reasons, including unprotected sex with a member of a risk group,” said Dr. Scott D. Holmberg, an AIDS expert at the centers.
But Dr. Holmberg said that the centers had not issued a recommendation about deep kisses with a partner of unknown H.I.V. status. He and other experts emphasized that they considered the chances of such transmission remote.
*Substances in saliva tend to inhibit H.I.V.
Can You Catch Hiv From Kissing
No, you cannot catch HIV from kissing. Evidence shows that the HIV virus is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal fluids, but not saliva.
Although HIV can be detected in saliva, it cannot be passed to other people through kissing because a combination of antibodies and enzymes found naturally in saliva prevent HIV infecting new cells.
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Ways Hiv Is Not Transmitted
How well does HIV survive outside the body?
HIV does not survive long outside the human body , and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. It is not transmitted
- Through saliva, tears, or sweat.
- Through other sexual activities that dont involve the exchange of body fluids .
- Through the air.
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Is There Risk Of Hiv Transmission When Having A Tattoo Body Piercing Or Getting A Hair Cut Or Shave
There is a risk of HIV transmission if instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilized between clients. However, people who carry out body piercing or tattooing should follow procedures called ‘universal precautions’, which are designed to prevent the transmission of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
When having a hair cut there is no risk of infection unless the skin is cut and infected blood gets into the wound. Traditional ‘cut-throat’ razors used by barbers now have disposable blades, which should only be used once, thus eliminating the risk from blood-borne infections such as Hepatitis and HIV.
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Myth : Abstinence And Condoms Are The Only Ways To Prevent Hiv
Abstinence was touted as a go-to way to prevent HIV transmission back in the 80s and 90s. And even today, that potential benefit is used as an argument for abstinence-only sex ed in schools, despite lots of evidence that those programs just dont work.
Not into the idea of a no-sex lifestyle? Condoms are another option. Research suggests they can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by as much as 95 percent every time you do the deed. Thats why condoms have been recommended as an HIV prevention tool for decades.
However, as of 2012, people got a new option for preventing HIV. Thats when the Food and Drug Administration OKd the first pre-exposure prophylaxis .
These meds offer people with known risk factors, like having sex with someone who has HIV or sharing needles for injectable drug use, a way to reduce their risk of contracting HIV by taking one pill per day.
And it works really well. When PrEP is taken as prescribed, it can slash a persons chances of getting HIV through sex by a whopping 99 percent, according to the CDC.