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Can You Get Hiv From Holding Hands

How Is Hiv Not Passed From One Person To Another

Does Holding Hands Make You Uncomfortable? Can You Get Close To People Anyway?

You may have just read the section above and thought to yourself: Wait, that seems like a really short list of ways HIV gets transmitted. What about mosquitoes? Blowjobs? Kissing? Sharing food or utensils?

As weve previously discussed in this guide, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about HIV transmission. At some point, people without HIV may worry they have been exposed to the virus. And when people get freaked out about their health, they tend to start scouring the internet for answers.

At TheBody, weve spent the past 25 years fielding questions about HIV exposure fears and talking with experts about the realities of HIV risk. So we know an awful lot about the HIV transmission concerns people tend to have in common.

These are the top five recurring fears about HIV transmission that are way, way more than theyre cracked up to be:

  • oral sex

Lets break each of these down in more detail.

What If There Is An Actual Or Suspected Exposure To Hiv

The decision to begin a post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection is based on the judgment of a health care professional and should be a joint decision with the exposed worker. PEP often involves taking a combination of 2 or 3 antiretroviral drugs for about 4 weeks. PEP can help reduce, but not eliminate, a personâs risk of infection. The PEP should begin as soon as possible, as it may be less effective if started more than 72 hours after exposure.

Occupational Groups Risking Exposure to the AIDS Virus

The occupational groups listed below risk exposure to HIV in the workplace. The table that follows suggests preventive measures for these groups. For many situations, using all protective barriers listed in the table is not necessary, but workplaces should always make them available in case of emergency response scenarios.

Surgeons, Nurses and Nurses Aides

Surgeons, nurses and nurses aides should take precautions to avoid needlestick injuries, cuts with sharp instruments and exposure through skin lesions to potentially infectious blood and body fluids.

Physicians and Laboratory Workers

These people continuously handle infectious samples. Doctors, in diagnosing HIV patients, carry out physical examinations and collect blood samples. Laboratory technicians analyze potentially infected samples.

Ambulance Workers

Dental Workers


Embalming the bodies of persons with a HIV infection presents a risk because HIV can live for hours in a deceased body.


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.

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Ok But What About My Specific Hiv Risk Question

Over the years, we’ve receivedand our experts have answeredliterally thousands of questions from people concerned about a potential exposure to HIV. Some of them have been extremely detailedbut those details don’t change any of the basic facts about how HIV is and isn’t transmitted.

You can figure out the answer to just about every question that could possibly exist about HIV transmission by reading the rest of our article above. But let’s dive into a handful of the most common kinds of questions we’ve seen over the years:

How Can I Protect Myself Against Hiv Infection

Hands With Red Aids Ribbons Stock Photo

Everyday social contact allowas no infection with HIV. During sexual intercourse, one can protect oneself and the partner by means of safer sex.

  • Vaginal intercourse : always use a condom

    Make sure that the condom was placed correctly before the first contact with the partner.

  • Oral intercourse : no seminal fluid or blood inside the mouth

    If vaginal fluid from an infected woman enters the mouth of the partner there is no risk, unless it contains menstrual blood!

  • Anal intercourse : always use a condom and sufficient amount of lubricant

    Lubricants prevent the condom from bursting due to friction. Never use greasy creams or oils. These make condoms fragile!

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    What Does Hiv Mean

    HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a so-called retrovirus, which occurs exclusively in humans and can only be transmitted between humans.

    HIV-postive means that there is an infection with the HI-Virus.

    HIV-negative means that there is no infection with HIV.

    Only a test can prove whether a person is HIV-positive or HIV-negative.

    AIDS-Hilfe Steiermark provides HIV-testing anonymously and free of charge!

    Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids

    HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. And people with HIV do not always have AIDS.

    HIV is the virus thats passed from person to person. Over time, HIV destroys an important kind of the cell in your immune system that helps protect you from infections. When you dont have enough of these CD4 cells, your body cant fight off infections the way it normally can.

    AIDS is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. You have AIDS when you get dangerous infections or have a super low number of CD4 cells. AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time.

    Without treatment, it usually takes about 10 years for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. Treatment slows down the damage the virus causes and can help people stay healthy for several decades.

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    How Does A Person Get Hiv

    HIV can only be passed by these five body fluids:

    • blood
    • vaginal fluid
    • breast milk

    HIV can be passed when one of these fluids from a person with HIV gets into the bloodstream of another personthrough broken skin, the opening of the penis or the wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum or foreskin. HIV cannot be passed through healthy, unbroken skin.

    The two main ways that HIV can be passed are:

    • through sex
    • by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs

    HIV can also be passed:

    • to a fetus or baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding

    HIV cannot be passed by:

    • shaking hands, working or eating with someone who has HIV
    • hugs or kisses
    • swimming pools, toilet seats or water fountains
    • insects or animals

    Since November 1985, all blood products in Canada are checked for HIV, to ensure that it is safe to get a blood transfusion. And there is no chance of getting HIV from donating blood.

    Can A Man Give Himself Hiv/aids Or Another Sexually Transmitted Infection By Masturbating


    The best answer to this question came years ago from one of our longtime experts, the highly respected HIV physician Robert Frascino, M.D.:

    “No, there is absolutely no chance you can contract a sexually transmitted illness from yourself!

    “STIs involve germs that spread from an infected person to another person via sexual activity. Masturbation, choking the chicken, spanking the monkey, or whatever you want to call it, involves only you and your hand. Some folks may refer to their hand as Mrs. Palm and her five daughters, but really we are only talking about one person here. And that’s you, right?!

    “A person cannot give himself a disease he doesn’t already have. Just as you can’t give yourself a million dollars , you can’t give yourself HIV, because you don’t have that either.

    “The bottom line is that your jizz is perfectly safe, so no worries unless you spunk up your parents’ furniture. And even those kinds of stains, although they can lead to problems, they can not lead to STIs, OK?”

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    What Happens If Hiv Is Not Treated

    Taking HIV treatment every day as prescribed prevents illness and the spread of the virus to others. Left untreated, HIV can lead to death.

    Missing doses of antiretrovirals can cause the amount of virus in the body to rise. This may result in the virus becoming resistant to a particular HIV treatment, possibly making that treatment not work as well, including reducing the preventative benefits.

    If you are having difficulty taking or keeping up with your treatment, talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible and consider using additional strategies to prevent sexual HIV transmission. Your provider can work with you to help get you back on track, including trying different ARVs if needed.

    The information on this page is adapted from the CDC and Planned Parenthood.

    What’s Involved In Hiv Testing

    There are several different types of HIV tests. Some use blood, others test cells inside the mouth. HIV blood tests may be done by finger stick or a draw from the inner arm. Oral HIV tests use a swab of the mouth. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in under 20 minutes, sometimes as fast as one minute. Home tests can be purchased in many drug stores.

    If you have a preference for the type of HIV test, ask your healthcare provider what options are available.

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    Can I Contract Stds From Towels

    • There are reported cases of trichomoniasis being acquired from towels14
    • You can get molluscum from towels15
    • HIV cannot be contracted via towels because it doesnât survive in the air13, 16
    • It is not possible to acquire chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HSV from towels11, 17
    • It is still unclear whether HPV can be transmitted through towels. One study indicated that it might be possible, but in other studies this hypothesis was not confirmed18, 19

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    How Could You Get Hiv From Contact With Blood

    National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

    The risk of HIV transmission through blood comes when the person has a detectable viral load and their blood enters another persons body or comes into contact with a mucous membrane. These are parts of the body with wet, absorbent skin such as the:

    • eyes
    • inside of the anus
    • mouth.

    Theres also a risk if blood from a person who has a detectable viral load comes into contact with a cut or broken skin, giving HIV a way through the skin and into someones bloodstream. If blood gets onto skin that isnt broken, there is no risk.

    In a medical setting, its possible for HIV to be transmitted by someone accidentally cutting themselves with a blade or needle they have used to treat a person living with HIV.

    This is called a needlestick injury. The risk of being infected in this way is very low. However, if someone thinks they have been exposed to HIV through a needlestick injury, post-exposure prophylaxis may be an option.

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    Public Knowledge Around The Virus Hasnt Kept Up With The Scientific Breakthroughs Weve Made In Stopping Hiv Transmissions Hears Liz Connor

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    Around 105,200 people are living with HIV in the UK, according to most recent estimates, but the governments aiming to eradicate transmissions by 2030.

    First identified in 1981, HIV/AIDS was the cause of one of humanitys biggest epidemics. But innovations in testing and treatments for HIV the virus which can cause AIDS have not only reduced the risk of contracting it, but also allowed those with HIV to live full, long and healthy lives.

    Despite how far weve come in recent years though, HIV and AIDS still carry a lot of stigma, mainly because there is so much misinformation around them.

    One of the key reasons exists is to challenge the stigma and myths still surrounding HIV, says Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust Sharing the facts about the virus in 2021 is crucial for achieving that.

    Terrence Higgins was one of the first people in the UK to die of an AIDS-related illness in the 1980s. The charity was set up in his name by his partner and friends at the time, to personalise and humanise the disease in a very public way.

    The trust say because people lack information about the virus, its easy for them to assume wrongly or make moral judgements about how someone has contracted HIV.

    To help sort fact from fiction, we asked Green to bust a handful of myths that people living with a HIV diagnosis wish everyone would stop saying and believing

    How Can I Protect Myself

    The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to not have sex and not share needles.

    If you decide to have sex, reduce your risk of getting HIV by:

    • using a condom every time you have sex
    • getting tested for HIV and making sure all partners do too
    • reducing the number of sexual partners you have
    • getting tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection

    Understanding how HIV spreads can help you make safer choices about sex. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about HIV and if you want to get tested.

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    How Do You Get Hiv

    The most common way people get HIV is through unprotected anal or vaginal sex with someone with HIV who is not aware of their status or not on consistent antiretroviral treatment. According to the CDC, HIV transmission through oral sex is extremely rare.

    Sharing used needles, syringes, or other drug preparation equipment increases the risk of getting HIV.

    HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth and through breastfeeding, although this risk can be almost eliminated with treatment.

    HIV is NOT spread through sharing glasses or plates, food, holding hands, toilet seats, or other casual contact. You also cannot get HIV through closed-mouth or social kissing or saliva.

    When used consistently and correctly, condoms protect against HIV and many other STDs. Another prevention option is PrEP pre-exposure prophylaxis a once-a-day pill for people who do not have HIV and want added protection. It is available only by prescription and is highly effective in protecting against getting HIV. PrEP does not protect against other STDs.

    PEP post-exposure prophylaxis is a prescription medication that can be taken within 72 hours after potential exposure to prevent HIV. It is for emergency use only, and not intended for regular, ongoing use. If you are prescribed PEP you will need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days. Contact your healthcare provider or emergency room for a prescription.

    Hiv Transmission During Sex

    Quick Tip: Controlling the Wobble or Shaking Hands
  • Anal intercourse

    The penis is inserted into the anus. The intestinal mucosa forms a very good portal of entry for HIV. Passive partners, especially, are at risk, in particular when ejaculation takes place inside the anus. But the risk exists for the penetrating partner as well.

  • Vaginal intercourse

    The penis is inserted into the vagina. Mucous membranes inside the vagina and at the glans of the erect penis enable the virus to reach the bloodstream. Due to the high viral concentration of the seminal fluid and the large surface of the vaginal mucosa, the female body is at high risk of infection during vaginal intercourse. During menstruation the risk increases, also for the partner.

  • Oral intercourse

    Oral sex means satisfaction of the partner with the mouth. The oral mucosa is permeable to HI viruses, meaning that it is a portal of entry for HIV. If semen of an infected man enters the mouth of the partner, there is a risk of infection. Precum is not infectious due to the small amount of fluid. If vaginal fluid from an infected woman enters the mouth of the partner, there is no risk of infection because the amount of fluid is too small as well. However, if the vaginal fluid contains blood, there is a risk of infection. If an HIV-positive person pleasures someone with the mouth, there is no risk of infection for the partner.

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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.

    Dont Inject Drugs But If You Do Dont Share Equipment

    Anytime you share a needle with someone, whether youre injecting steroids, hormones, or drugs, youre at risk of HIV and other blood infections. And its not just the needle and syringe that can transmit the virus you can also get HIV by sharing the water thats used to clean the equipment or reusing filters and other containers. Thats because the equipment or water could contain blood and, therefore, the virus itself.

    The best thing you can do if you use drugs is to seek treatment. For example, if you use heroin, joining a methadone program could help you manage your addiction without the use of needles, lowering your risk of HIV.

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    Can You Get Hiv/aids From A Toilet Seat

    For an answer to this common question, here’s longtime HIV expert Nancy Breuer:

    “HIV is in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. To create an infection, one of these four body fluids with HIV in it must come into immediate and direct contact with the bloodstream or a mucous membrane of another person.

    “I include the word ‘immediate’ because the virus cannot survive for long outside the body. Oxygen destroys the virus. If any one of these four body fluids were on a toilet seat, oxygen would probably have destroyed it before anyone else approached it, and a person sitting on a toilet seat does not expose the bloodstream or a mucous membrane to the fluid on the seat, so there is no potential mode of transmission.

    “If you find a toilet seat with blood or another potentially infectious body fluid on it, make sure that the seat is properly cleaned before anyone else uses it, for reasons of general hygiene. But do not be concerned about the possible transmission of HIV in that setting.”

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