How To Avoid Getting Hiv
Abstinence, or not having sex, is the only type of protection that works every time. But if you are having sex, you can lower your risk if you:
- Use a condom every time you have sex
- Get tested for HIV and STDs
- Limit the number of people you have sex with
- Donât inject yourself with drugs
Talk to your doctor right away if you think youâve been exposed to the virus. They can help you figure out next steps.
How Is Hiv Spread
HIV is spread through the exchange of particular bodily fluids like semen, breast milk, and blood.;
Important: The most common way HIV spreads is through sexual intercourse. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 138 people per 10,000 exposures are at risk of getting HIV through receptive anal sex.;
Other common ways in which you can be infected with HIV include:;
- Anal sex: Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex to have with a person who has HIV. It becomes even riskier if you are on the receiving end during intercourse. This is because the lining of the rectum is very thin, and can allow the virus to easily pass through.;
- Penetrative vaginal sex: This is not as risky as anal sex, but is still a very common way for the virus to be spread. Here either party can contract the virus.;
- Sharing needles and syringes: Sharing needles and syringes for steroids, drugs, or hormones with a person who has HIV puts you at high risk of getting the virus.;
- Through pregnancy and breastfeeding: HIV can sometimes be passed from a mother to her baby through pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is known as perinatal transmission. It’s uncommon for this to occur if the mother is aware of her status and is receiving adequate treatment.;
HIV can also be spread in other ways. However, these are rarer:;
Effective Barriers Against Hiv
There are many effective barriers that prevent infection.
Skin: Skin is an excellent barrier against HIV, unless there is an open cut or open wound. Infectious fluid on skin is NOT a route for infection.
Mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and stomach: These membranes are good barriers against HIV infection, so long as there are not cuts, ulcers or sores.
Saliva: Saliva contains proteins and a low salt content that actively reduce its infectiousness. Even when HIV is detected there is too little to cause infection. HIV is not transmitted by kissing including deep kissing. Spit cannot transmit HIV.
Air: HIV is not transmitted by air.
Latex and rubber: Condoms prevent infection from HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections.
Many sexual situations have no risk of transmitting HIV.
These include masturbation , kissing and deep kissing, receiving oral sex and vaginal or anal sex using a condom correctly.
Also Check: What Are The Signs That You Are Hiv Positive
Aids Phobia And Conspiracy Theorists
With that being said, there are people who still fear that infection is possible from the unlikely sources, including touching, mosquitos, shared grooming products, and, kissing. AIDS phobia, the paralyzing and unreasonable fear of HIV, plays a huge part in these beliefs. At other times, a person may prescribe to contrarian view about HIV or are simply misinformed about HIV in general.
For these individuals, counseling with a qualified professional may be needed as well as psychotherapy for those experiencing extreme anxiety or depression. Additionally, if the person is at risk of acquiring HIV or in a mixed-status relationship, doctors may want to consider prescribing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis , a once-daily pill that can reduce the risk of HIV by more than 90%.
HIV Doctor Discussion Guide
Saliva Sweat Tears Urine Or Feces
HIV cannot be spread by sharing drinking glasses or by casual kissing. The risk of spreading the virus through “deep” kissing in which large amounts of saliva are exchanged is extremely low. Only one unproven case has ever been reported.
No cases of HIV spread have ever been reported after a person has come in contact with the sweat, tears, urine, or feces of an HIV-infected person.
Also Check: How Would Know If You Have Hiv
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.
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.
Also Check: Can You Have Sex With Someone Who Has Hiv
Can You Get Hiv Through Oral Sex
The risk of HIV from oral sex is very small unless you or your partner have large open sores on the genital area or bleeding gums/sores in your mouth.
There is only a slightly increased risk if a woman being given oral sex is HIV-positive and is menstruating. However, you can always use a dental dam to eliminate these risks.
Is It True That Gay Men Are More At Risk For Hiv Than Other People
Although anyone can be at risk for HIV, some people can be more at risk depending upon the types of sexual practices and drug use they are engaging in. Being gay does not necessarily mean you are at higher risk, but certain activities gay men sometimes participate in might put them at greater risk. Overall, the gay male population in Canada has higher rates of HIV infection than some other populations. Stigma and homophobia can affect a person’s ability to access information about safer sex;specifically for gay men. ;;
Recommended Reading: What Is The Treatment For Hiv Aids
Can The Virus Be Transmitted Through Breastfeeding
Yes, HIV is present in infectious amounts in breast milk. HIV can be passed from an HIV infected mother to her baby through breastfeeding. Most HIV+ children in the Caribbean have been infected through mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
This can be prevented when an HIV infected mother does not breastfeed her baby and uses other alternate milk recommended by her doctor. More information on HIV and pregnancy can be found here.
How Long Can Hiv Survive Outside The Human Body
Generally the fragile nature of the virus prevents it from surviving for a substantial amount of time in the open air. The length of time HIV can survive outside the body is dependent on the amount of HIV present in the body fluid and the conditions the fluid is subjected to.
Note that HIV is fragile and many common substances such as hot liquid, soap, bleach, alcohol, and the gastric juices found within your stomach can destroy the virus.
Your skin is a 100% proof barrier against HIV. The virus cannot enter your skin unless there is an open bleeding wound. If you get blood on your skin, simply wash with water and soap. There is no need to scrub because this might damage the skin.
It is good practice to be careful with any blood spill, because one can never tell if the person it came from has HIV or other blood borne infections. You can safely clean such blood spills with water and Clorox.
Recommended Reading: How Long Can Hiv Lay Dormant
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.
It Would Take Too Many Bites
HIV actually isnt very easily transmittable. It takes a large amount of the virus being transmitted for someone to contract it.
Even if some HIV were still in a mosquitos body when it bit you if it had yet to be fully digested there wouldnt be enough of it to transmit to you.
HIV is transmitted through direct contact with certain bodily fluids that contain HIV. These fluids include:
- rectal fluids
These fluids must enter the persons body for them to contract HIV.
HIV is mainly transmitted through sex without a condom or other barrier method, and through the sharing of needles.
In some cases, HIV can be transmitted during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. However, antiretroviral therapy can greatly lower the risk of this occurring, and its safe to take during pregnancy.
HIV is highly unlikely to be transmitted through saliva.
HIV can only be transmitted when a person with the virus has a detectable viral load . Taking daily medication for HIV can lead to an undetectable viral load, which means HIV cant be transmitted to others.
You May Like: Can You Get Hiv Through Kissing
Myth : Theres No Treatment For Hiv
Sure, the early days of HIV and AIDS were grim, just given how little people knew about the virus and the condition.
But treatment has come a long way since the 80s. Today, antiretroviral medications can greatly reduce the amount of the virus in a persons body, often to the point that HIV no longer shows up on blood tests.
When that happens, the person has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to others. Plus, it helps prevent HIV from progressing.
Establishing The Conditions For Hiv Transmission
It’s important to always remember that there are four conditions that must be met in order for HIV transmission to take place:
Based on these conditions, the likelihood of HIV transmission by kissing is not only considered low but pretty much near impossible.
Also Check: What Are The Current Treatments For Hiv
If I Have Sex With A Commercial Sex Worker Will I Get Hiv
Unprotected sex places you at a high risk of contracting the virus whether it is with a commercial sex worker or anybody else. Statistics from the Caribbean and several other parts of the world have shown that there is a higher prevalence or occurrence of HIV in commercial sex workers . Therefore by having unprotected sex with a commercial sex worker the risk of contracting HIV is high.
Myth : You Cant Get Hiv If Youre On Birth Control
The pill might protect you from an unwanted pregnancy, but its no match for HIV. Same goes for other types of birth control, like IUDs, patches, and rings.
If you want to get down without risking HIV transmission, your best bet is to use a condom or other barrier method or PrEP.
Nope, swapping spit doesnt spread HIV . Feel free to hold hands, hug, and share a soda while youre at it.
HIV can be transmitted only through:
- anal mucous
- breast milk
Saliva doesnt carry enough traces of the virus to worry about, and research as far back as the mid- to late 80s has found that kissing is not a risk factor for transmission of HIV.
Recommended Reading: Is Hiv Curable Or Treatable
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
How Could Hiv Infect The Mouth And Throat
HIV is not able to infect most cells in the mouth. Only one cell type found in the mouth is vulnerable to HIV infection .
The tissue of the mouth and oesophagus is also very thick compared with genital tissues, and fluids stay in contact with it for a very short time because swallowing clears the mouth regularly. The mouth is therefore generally regarded as an unlikely route of HIV transmission.
Saliva contains numerous factors that have been found to inhibit HIV and stomach acid is likely to inactivate HIV in the same way as other viruses .
Don’t Miss: How Long Do Hiv Symptoms Last
Myths About Hiv And Aids
- There are lots of myths around, but the facts of how you can get HIV, and how you can protect yourself, are very simple.
- One of the most common myths people living with HIV hear is that they can be cured. Theres no cure yet for HIV, but antiretroviral treatment works and will keep someone living with HIV healthy.;
HIV can only be passed on from one person to another via the following bodily fluids:
Do Mosquitoes Pose Any Other Threats
Mosquito-borne diseases are the most common and dangerous threat from mosquitoes. But in rare cases, mosquito bites can also cause severe allergic reactions.
If you have trouble breathing or swelling in your face or throat after being bitten by a mosquito, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. These are symptoms of a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Don’t Miss: What Does Hiv Do To The Human Body
Using Saliva As Sexual Lubricant Can Spread Hiv Hepatitis Physicians
Medical experts say using saliva as a lubricant during sexual intercourse increases the risk of the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis, and herpes infection.
They also noted that sexually transmitted infections like candidiasis, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhoea can also be transmitted through the practice.
The physicians urged couples to indulge in foreplay to get lubricated naturally, or get a lubricant that is medically certified before sexual intercourse is initiated.
Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise, a General Practitioner in Minna, Niger State, Dr. Akinkoye Akinpelu, said an HIV-infected man might have a bleeding gum and once the saliva with traces of blood is used to lubricate, the woman will become infected.
You know that HIV is a disease transmitted through blood contact. A man or woman might have a bleeding gum and probably any of the partners already has a cut due to friction during intercourse. By the time they lubricate with the saliva, the bacteria or virus present gets transmitted.
According to the World Health Organisation, HIV is an infection that attacks the bodys immune system, specifically the white blood cells, called CD4 cells.
The WHO noted that HIV destroys these CD4 cells, thereby weakening a persons immunity against infections, such as tuberculosis and some cancers.