Ways Hiv Can Be Transmitted
How is HIV passed from one person to another?
;Most people who get HIV get it through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . But there are powerful tools that can help prevent HIV;transmission.
Can I get HIV from anal sex?
You can get HIV if you have anal sex;with someone who has HIV without using protection .
- Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Being the receptive partner is riskier for getting HIV than being the insertive partner .
- The bottoms risk of getting HIV is very high because the rectums lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
- The top is also at risk because HIV can enter the body through the opening at the tip of the penis , the foreskin if; the penis isnt circumcised, or small cuts, scratches, or open sores anywhere on the penis.
Can I get HIV from vaginal sex?
You can get HIV if you have vaginal sex;with someone who has HIV without using protection .
Can HIV be transmitted from a mother to her baby?
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, it is less common because of advances in HIV prevention and treatment.
Can I get HIV from sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment?
You are at high risk for getting HIV if you ; with someone who has HIV. Never share needles or other equipment to inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone.
Can Hiv Pass From Mothers To Their Babies
Infection can pass from pregnant women living with HIV to their babies in the womb and during birth. Taking HIV medications during pregnancy and childbirth dramatically lowers the risk of a baby becoming infected with HIV.
After birth, transmission can occur through breast milk. The highest risk may be in the early months after birth. It is recommended that new mothers who are living with HIV formula-feed their babies rather than breast-feed.
If you are a woman living with HIV and you intend to become pregnant, or you find out that you have during your pregnancy, talk to your provider immediately about ways to minimize the chances that your baby will become infected, too.
How Is Hiv Spread Through Blood
You can become infected if you have contact with the blood of someone who has HIV. Blood-borne infection with HIV can occur through:
- sharing injection equipment when using drugs
- getting tattoos or body piercings with unsterilized needles
- accidental needle sticks
- splashing blood in your eyes
HIV is NOT spread by blood passed through insect bites.
If you inject drugs, the best thing to do is to use new or sterilized injection equipment every time. You can also take a daily medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis to lower your risk of HIV. Learn more about PrEP.
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Hiv Survival Outside The Body
Generally, when people ask the question, “How long can HIV survive outside the body?” they have come into contact with some body fluid that they think might contain HIV, and are worried about transmission. Almost always these questions are about casual contact, and we know the virus is not transmitted except during unprotected sex, sharing needles, or through significant and direct exposure to infected blood.
The length of time HIV can survive outside the body depends on:
- the amount of HIV present in the body fluid;
- what conditions the fluid is subjected to
In a laboratory, HIV has been kept viable for up to 15 days, and even after the body fluid containing it had dried. However, these experiments involved an extremely high concentration of the virus which was kept at a stable temperature and humidity. These conditions are very unlikely to exist outside of a laboratory. HIV is very fragile, and many common substances, including hot water, soap, bleach and alcohol, will kill it.
The chances of becoming infected with HIV by handling a body fluid are extremely small, because that fluid will rarely have access to a person’s bloodstream. However, anyone handling blood, semen or vaginal fluids should be careful to avoid touching them with broken skin or getting them into mucous membranes .
How Do You Get Or Transmit Hiv
You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane ; open cuts or sores; or by direct injection.
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
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Is Deep Kissing A Route Of Hiv Transmission
Deep or open-mouthed kissing is a very low risk activity in terms of HIV transmission. HIV is only present in saliva in very minute amounts, insufficient to cause infection with HIV. There has been only one documented case of someone becoming infected with HIV through kissing; a result of exposure to infected blood during open-mouthed kissing. If you or your partner have blood in your mouth, you should avoid kissing until the bleeding stops.
When Is The Risk Greater
These risk factors can increase the chances for transmission of HIV:
- Status: Risk varies based on whether the person with HIV is giving or receiving oral sex. If the person with HIV is receiving oral sex, the person giving it may have a higher risk. Mouths may have more openings in the skin or lesions. Saliva, on the other hand, is not a carrier of the virus.
- Viral load: The risk of contracting HIV is higher if the person with HIV has a high viral load. Higher viral loads increase infectivity.
- Ejaculation: During oral sex, ejaculation may increase risk for sharing the virus, but ejaculation alone isnt the only possible way of contracting HIV.
- Cuts or sores: Openings in the mouth, vagina, anus, or on the penis are possible routes for HIV. These may be cuts or lesions from another infection or condition. For example, HIV-related infections like candidiasis can cause sores that compromise the integrity of the tissue in the mouth. Any break in the skin puts a person at risk for transmitting or contracting the virus.
- Menstruation: HIV-bearing cells do shed from the cervix during menstruation. Coming into contact with menstrual blood with the mouth may increase contraction risk.
- Urethritis: This condition causes inflammation and irritation in the urethra. It may increase the chances of HIV contraction, too. People with HIV are likely to shed the virus when they have this condition.
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Putting A Number On It: The Risk From An Exposure To Hiv
This information was provided by CATIE . For more information, contact CATIE at 1-800-263-1638.
Service providers working in HIV prevention are often asked by their patients and clients about the risk of HIV transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. What do the latest studies tell us about this risk? And how should we interpret and communicate the results?
Can I Get Hiv From Sharing Needles
Yes. Sharing needles or syringes and other injection drug equipment is very risky. Sharing needles is the second most common way that HIV is spread to women in the United States . Any woman who shares needles with someone is at risk for HIV infection, because the needles may have someone else’s blood in them.
Learn more about .
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Is There A Pill That I Can Take To Prevent Getting Hiv
Since 1996, the federal government has recommended that health care workers that are exposed to HIV through needle stick injuries be provided with antiretroviral medications to help prevent the possibility of HIV infection. For a short period of time after exposure to HIV, virus particles are present only in certain cells of the body. If HIV replication can be slowed during that time, the virus may not be able to establish permanent infection in the person’s body. The sooner treatment is started, the more likely it is to interrupt HIV transmission. A combination of three antiretroviral drugs must be taken within 72 hours after exposure and must be taken daily for 28 days. This is generally referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP.
In 2005, the CDC issued guidelines for the use of anti-HIV therapies for individuals exposed to HIV through high risk sexual activities or needle sharing among injection drug users. The guidelines recommend this approach only in very limited circumstances:
It is important to note that PEP is not a simple “morning after pill” for those who have had unprotected sex. To be effective, a combination of three antiretroviral drugs must be taken within 72 hours after exposure and must be taken daily for 28 days.
Although there are PREP studies occurring in both the United States and in other countries, no drug has been licensed for PREP at this time.
Can Hiv Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex
Yes, but the risk is relatively low.
HIV is transmitted through seminal and vaginal fluids, including menstrual fluids. The virus can enter the body through the bloodstream or by passing through delicate mucous membranes, such as inside the vagina, rectum or urethra.
If a person gives fellatio and has bleeding gums, a cut, or an ulcer inside their mouth, HIV could enter their bloodstream through infected fluid. This could also happen if infected fluid from a woman gets into the mouth of her partner during oral sex.
Using a;condom during sex, including oral and anal sex, is the best way to prevent;sexually transmitted infections , including HIV. Avoid using an oil-based lubricant, such as Vaseline or baby oil, because they can weaken the condom and increase the;risk of it splitting.
You can use a dental dam to cover the anus or female genitals during oral sex. A dental dam is a latex or polyurethane square, measuring about 15cm by 15cm. It acts as a barrier to help stop STIs passing from one person to another.
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Reducing The Risk From Oral Sex
The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have:
- a throat infection
- damage to the lining of the mouth or throat
- had recent dental work or your gums bleed a lot.
Avoid performing oral sex without protection on someone with a detectable viral load while you have any of the above.
Dont floss or brush teeth before oral sex . Regular check-ups for STIs will pick up infections in your throat.
Remember that other STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, including herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
Can I Become Infected With Hiv If I Inject Drugs And Share The Needles With Someone Else Without Sterilizing The Needles
We strongly recommend that you use new equipment every time you inject. You can get new equipment from Counterpoint Needle & Syringe Program at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.
There is a possibility of becoming infected with HIV if you share injecting equipment with someone who has the virus. If HIV infected blood remains inside the needle or in the syringe and someone else then uses it to inject themselves, that blood can be flushed into the bloodstream. Sharing needles, syringes, spoons, filters or water can pass on the virus. Disinfecting equipment between uses can reduce the likelihood of transmission, but does not eliminate it.
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Oral Transmission In Natural Hosts
SIV natural hosts are African non-human primates who develop non-pathogenic SIV infection in the wild without progression to AIDS. These natural hosts include sooty mangabeys, African green monkey, mandrill, and many others. Key features of SIV infection of natural hosts include: high viremia , normal peripheral CD4+ T-cell counts , lack of microbial translocation despite significant loss of mucosal CD4+ T cells , and lack of immune activation during chronic infection . These studies have led to a working hypothesis that the lack of disease progression in natural hosts is due to a lack of chronic immune activation .
We propose three non-mutually exclusive hypotheses to explain the restriction of breast milk SIV transmission in natural hosts: lower levels of SIV in natural host breast milk than those observed in pathogenic infections, a relatively non-permissive breast milk and/or gastrointestinal microenvironment, with lower immune activation and the presence of innate and adaptive inhibitory factors, and insufficient target cells for establishment of infection in the natural host infant. To date, no definitive studies have yet been performed that test one hypothesis while controlling for all other potential confounding factors , but a preponderance of data suggests target cell restriction in the infant GI tract is a defining feature of natural hosts that limits MTCT.
Oral mucosa immune activation and HIV susceptibility
How To Reduce The Risk
Although the risk of HIV passing to another person through oral sex is low, people can take steps to reduce it further.
For example, people with HIV can avoid ejaculating in the mouth of their sexual partner. They can do this by using a condom or withdrawing the penis before ejaculation.
A dental dam is another option. This is a small latex or silicone sheet that a person places over the vagina, anus, or mouth during sex.
Flossing or brushing the teeth can cause the gums to bleed, so it might also help to avoid this right before sexual activity.
People without HIV can take additional steps to avoid transmission, including:
- taking pre-exposure prophylaxis medication beforehand
- using condoms or dental dams correctly during all sexual activities
- avoiding lubricants with an oil base, such as Vaseline or baby oil
- taking post-exposure prophylaxis within a couple of days after the sexual contact
- getting regular sexual health checkups
People with HIV should take antiretroviral medication exactly as their doctor recommends.
In the early stages of HIV, people might experience:
- a fever
- rashes that are not itchy
- aching muscles
- swollen glands, or lymph nodes
- oral sores
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Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes.;Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
Top Tips For Oral Sex
It can take a while to work out what makes someone feel good. The best thing to do is to keep communicating with your partner. Ask them to tell you what feels nice and let them know when you are enjoying something.
If youre happy and comfortable with someone, oral sex can be a great way to get physically closer and learn what turns each other on. If you find you arent enjoying something you can stop at any time you want, and the same is true for your partner.
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What Is The Risk From Oral Sex
According to Public Health England, around 1-3% of sexual HIV transmissions in the UK are because of oral sex. Other studies found that the risk is very low but is not zero.
Unprotected anal and vaginal sex leads to far more HIV infections than oral sex.
The risks are higher if the person giving oral sex has:
- cuts, sores or abrasions in their mouth or gums
- a sore throat or infection in the mouth or throat.
Or if the person receiving oral sex is:
- HIV positive
Establishment Of Hiv Infection
Documented cases of HIV acquisition after oral exposure have occurred predominantly through ROI, where individuals are exposed to virus in semen or pre-ejaculatory fluid, and breastfeeding, when virus is consumed in maternal breast milk. All three fluids are well populated by leukocytes, particularly macrophages , that can harbor infectious virus, and contain detectable titers of cell-free virus, although the viral load in these fluids is generally lower than that observed in the blood . However, the relative contribution of cell-free and cell-associated virus to HIV transmission is still unclear.
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Can I Get Hiv From Tattooing Piercing Acupuncture Electrolysis Or Shaving
Any procedure in which a needle or razor is used on more than one person involves a theoretical risk of HIV transmission because of the possibility of infected blood on the instrument. However, the risk can be reduced or eliminated through routine sterilization procedures. There have been no documented cases in the United States of someone becoming infected through tattooing or piercing.
Tattoo artists, piercers, hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists, manicurists and pedicurists, and acupuncturists are all defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “personal service workers” . The CDC has established universal precautions for PSWs, similar to those for health care workers, which are designed to protect both the workers and their customers from HIV and other blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis B and C. The guidelines state that any instruments designed to penetrate the skin such as tattoo or acupuncture needles either should be used only once and discarded, or should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized after each use.
If you are worried about the risks of such procedures, you should discuss infection control precautions with the provider. In the case of tattoos and acupuncture, you may also provide your own fresh needles to ensure sterility.
In California, establishments that provide personal services may be regulated locally, so anyone who has further concerns about the procedures in an establishment should call the local department of public health.