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.
How To Minimize Risk
Clearly, the best way to minimize the risk of infection is to practice safer sex. This is especially true if you have multiple sex partners or are unsure about the health of a sex partner. These include condoms and dental dams for those engaging in cunnilingus or anilingus.
There are additional strategies that can further reduce risk:
- If you are HIV-positive, take your HIV medicine as prescribed. If your viral load remains undetectable, you have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners.
- If you are HIV-negative, you can ask your healthcare provider to prescribe HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis , a once-daily drug therapy that can reduce your risk of infection by more than 90%.
- Regular HIV screening is recommended for persons at high risk of infection, including MSM, injecting drug users, and persons with multiple sex partners. Periodic STD screenings are also recommended.
Finally, communication is tantamount to the long-term avoidance of HIV. Whether you are HIV-positive or HIV-negative, the most harm comes from leaving things unspoken. Learn more about ways to negotiate safer sex or how to disclose your HIV status to someone you’re dating.
Cd4 Counts And Infections
CD4 cells are white blood cells that fight infection. CD4 cell count is an indicator of immune function and disease progression and one of the key determinants for the need of opportunistic infection prophylaxis. CD4 cell counts are obtained from bloodwork as part of laboratory monitoring for HIV infection.
Studies have shown that starting HIV medicines soon after you are diagnosed, and ideally when your CD4 cell count is high, will greatly help your health and will reduce the risk of OIs. Regularly checking your CD4 cell count will allow you to begin necessary prophylactic medications to reduce your risk of opportunistic infections.
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Hiv Treatment & Undetectable
Todays HIV treatments, called antiretroviral therapy or ART, are extremely effective. Some treatments are a single tablet. Long-acting injectable medications are likely to be approved and available soon. Medicine has come a long way since the first HIV treatment options became available in the 1990s.
There is still no functional cure for HIV, but ART can help people live long, healthy lives. Todays medications are provided in combinations that reduce a persons viral load to levels so low its undetectable. People who become undetectable cannot transmit the virus to others.
Viral load is a term that describes how much virus a person living with HIV has in their body.
Without HIV medications, the virus replicates which causes the amount of virus in the body to increase.
HIV medications prevent HIV from making copies of itself. Then, the amount of HIV in the body goes down.
To see how well HIV treatments are working, doctors and other providers measure the amount of virus in the blood and report a measurement called your viral load. Its simply a measurement of how many copies of the virus are in a single unit of blood.
A very low amount of virus may even be undetectable by viral load tests . A common undetectable level is < 20 copies per milliliter of blood. Low viral loads are those that are less than 200 copies per milliliter. Very high viral loads can be over 500,000 copies per milliliter.
Transmission: Where Does The Hiv Virus Live
The HIV virus is present in body fluids. Body fluids which can contain significant amounts of HIV are not usually of concern to everyday people amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid and synovial fluid around bone joints, for example, are of concern only to healthcare workers that are involved in invasive surgical procedures.However, the HIV virus is present in the following body fluids in infectious quantities:
- Blood and blood products
- Vaginal and cervical secretions
- Breast milk.
An HIV-positive person may have HIV in very small amounts in other body fluids such as tears, saliva and blister fluid, but usually not in enough amount to be infectious. Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.
It is via the exchange of bodily fluids containing HIV virus that person-to-person transmission can occur. The main routes of HIV transmission are through:
- Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person
- Sharing needles with an infected person
- From an infected mother to child during pregnancy, during birth or after birth while breastfeeding.
You are at risk if:
- You have sex without condoms
- You have many sex partners and do not use condoms
- Your sex partner has/have sex with other persons without using condoms
- You share unsterilized needles for intravenous drug use
Nobody is immune to the HIV virus. Anyone engaging in above activities is at risk of infection.
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Theoretic Vs Documented Risk
Whenever discussing HIV risk, it is important to differentiate between a theoretic and documented risk. A documented risk is based on the actual number of cases to which HIV can be directly attributed to an act of oral sex. And, when looking through that lens, the risk of infection by oral sex is actually extremely low. Not zero, perhaps, but edging close to it.
In fact, according to a study from the University of California San Francisco’s Centers for AIDS Prevention Studies, the probability of HIV infection through unprotected oral sex was statistically zero, although the researchers went so far as to add that “we can not rule out the possibility that the probability of infection is indeed greater than zero.”
For an individual perspective, there are numerous factors and situations that can increase personal risk, sometimes considerably. By understanding and identifying these factors, you can make better, more informed choices about the sexual health of you and your partner.
How Risky Is Oral Sex
Oral sex can include fellatio , cunnilingus or oro-anal contact . Herpes, warts, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and other infections can be transmitted through oral sex.
The risk of catching an STI through unprotected oral sex is lower than for unprotected vaginal or anal sex, but is not zero. For most infections , the risk of catching an infection is greater for the one giving oral sex than for the one receiving.
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Factors That Increase The Risk Of Sexual Transmission
Not every act of unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person results in HIV transmission. But other factors can make HIV transmission more likely.
If the HIV-negative person has an untreated sexually transmitted infection , the risk is greater.
Just as HIV treatment and an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission, a high viral load makes it more likely. Viral load refers to the quantity of HIV in a persons body fluids. It is extremely high in the first few weeks after a person is first infected with HIV. It may also be high if a person does not take HIV treatment and has advanced disease. People who have HIV without realising it cannot take HIV treatment, so there is a strong possibility that they have a high viral load.
What Is Oral Sex
Oral sex involves using your mouth or tongue to stimulate your partners genitals or anus.
Many people enjoy oral sex as part of their sex life but it is a very personal thing and not everybody likes it or chooses to do it. Different people like to give or receive oral sex in different ways. There are a whole variety of ways to lick, suck and stimulate someone. You may decide not to have oral sex at all, or you may enjoy experimenting with your partner to find out what gives you both pleasure.
It is important to talk to your partner so you can understand what you both enjoy and what you would prefer to avoid.
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Sex With Someone You Live With
If you live in the same house as asexual partner and you both have no symptoms, then you can continue having sex as normal for your relationship.
However, if you or your partner have any symptoms of COVID-19 a fever, dry cough, tiredness or loss of taste or smell you will need to keep your distance from each other for 14 days to avoid passing the virus on. During this time, you should avoid sex or any kind of physical intimacy, such as kissing and cuddling.
If your partner is having sex with other people who dont live with you, your risk of getting COVID-19 will be higher.
Is Unprotected Anal Intercourse More Of An Hiv Risk Than Vaginal Or Oral Sex
Unprotected anal intercourse does carry a higher risk than most other forms of sexual activity. The lining of the rectum has fewer cells than that of the vagina, and therefore can be damaged more easily, causing bleeding during intercourse. This can then be a route into the bloodstream for infected sexual fluids or blood. There is also a risk to the insertive partner during anal intercourse, though this is lower than the risk to the receptive partner.
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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.
Can I Get Hiv From Having My Anus Licked
By | Oct. 9, 2013, 6:43 p.m.
i had encounter a person who performed anal licking on my rectum. we had no intercourse orally or any other way. however, im still afraid did i get hiv from them by licking my rectum? please help cant sleep or eat.
The chance of getting HIV from analingus is very, very low, because HIV isnt transmitted through saliva or skin-to-skin contact. The HIV virus is carried in four fluids: blood, breast milk, semen , and vaginal fluids. So if none of those fluids get into your body, you cant get HIV.
However, there are other STDs that can be spread through analingus, including herpes, syphilis, and HPV. Also, the person whos doing the licking risks getting sick from certain bacteria, viruses, and parasites that live in the intestines and rectum. Washing your anus gently with mild soap and water before analingus will help remove some of those germs, but it doesnt protect against STDs.
So the safest way to have analingus whether youre giving or receiving is to use a barrier between the mouth, anus, and genitals. Things like Sheer Glyde dams, plastic wrap , and cut-open condoms can prevent the spread of STDs and other germs, and help keep you and your partner safe and healthy.
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How Can You Prevent Getting Or Transmitting Hiv Through Sex
There are several ways to prevent getting or transmitting HIV through anal or vaginal sex.
If you have HIV, the most important thing you can do to prevent transmission and stay healthy is to take your HIV medicine , every day, exactly as prescribed. People living 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. Read more about Treatment as Prevention. There also are other options to choose from, below.
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 .
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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.
How Viral Load Affects Transmission
For people who have HIV, your viral load is the amount of the virus that can be found in your blood.
“Once a virus enters your body, it uses your cells to reproduce. When it reproduces you get a high amount of the virus in your body. The viral load is how you describe the amount of virus you have in your body. The higher your viral load is, the more infectious you are,” Safo says.
Your viral load is at its highest at the beginning and end-stage of the virus. During these times, you are highly infectious and can easily transmit the virus to another person.
HIV medication is designed to lower your viral load to levels by which it becomes difficult to transmit. In some cases, your load might become so low while on medication that a test won’t be able to detect the virus.
If your viral load is undetectable then you can’t transmit the virus to another person. However, not everyone on HIV medication can achieve or maintain undetectable viral loads, which is why it’s advisable to continue to practice safe sex.
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How Can I Access Sexual Health Services During Covid
To limit the spread of the virus, many clinics may move to online consultations, suspend walk-in services, reduce hours, close or be referring people elsewhere. You can stay up-to-date with the services your local health centre is providing by checking with your community health worker, calling the clinic, or checking their website .
What About Making Other Forms Of Sex Safer
No form of sexual contact is entirely without risk of STI transmission. Non penetrative contact carries the lowest risk.
Herpes can be transmitted through kissing and it may be possible to transmit other STIs in this way, although the risk is lower than for penetrative sex. If you are fingering, using sex toys or fisting your partner, the risk of transmission is related to the degree of trauma how much damage is done to the delicate lining of the vagina or anus. If you think there is a risk of trauma, use latex or non-latex gloves for penetrative sex.
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What Is The Risk Of Hiv From Anal Sex
The risk of HIV through unprotected anal intercourse is seen to be extremely high, as much 18 times greater than vaginal intercourse. The reasons for the increased risk are well known and include such factors as:
- The fragility of rectal tissues, which allow the virus direct access into the bloodstream through tiny tears or abrasions
- The porousness of rectal tissues, providing access even when undamaged
- The high concentration of HIV in semen and pre-seminal fluid , which doubles the risk of infection with every one-log rise in the person’s viral load.
Furthermore, the secretion of blood from damaged rectal tissues can increase the risk for the insertive partner, providing the virus a route of transmission through the urethra and tissues that line the head of the penis .