Never Share Needles Or Syringes
Sharing needles, whether youre injecting hormones, steroids, or illegal drugs, can increase your risk for HIV. Needles, syringes, or other injection equipment that has already been used may have HIV-infected blood in them that can make you sick, according to the CDC. In addition to HIV, these needles often also carry the viruses that cause hepatitis, which can lead to liver failure, Dr. Collman says.
Thats why he says that needle-sharing programs, where injection drug users can obtain clean hypodermic needles and associated paraphernalia at no cost, are very effective in preventing the spread of HIV.
How Can You Get Hiv
HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus:
- vaginal fluids
For you to get HIV, these bodily fluids need to get into your blood through a mucous membrane , via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin .
There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another.
Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.
A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.
The main ways you can get HIV are:
How Do You Get Hiv From Sex
HIV is transmitted through semen , vaginal fluid, blood, and anal mucus. During sex without a condom the bodily fluids from one person can pass into the body of their sexual partner. This can happen through the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina and rectum, or sores in the mouth and throat.
You can only get HIV from someone who is living with HIV and has a detectable viral load.
Read Also: How Do You Know You Have Hiv Aids
How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Needles
HIV isnt transmitted only through sexual contact. Sharing needles also puts a person at higher risk of contracting HIV.
When a needle is injected into a persons body, it breaks the skin barrier. If the needle has already been injected into another person, it can carry traces of their blood, along with any infections they have. The contaminated needle can introduce these infections into the second persons body.
Researchers dont know if having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, but its reasonable to assume it may provide some risk reduction.
HIV can affect anyone. Whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. But due to socioeconomic factors, some demographic groups have higher HIV transmission rates and generally are more affected by HIV.
According to the CDC , the general demographic traits most affected by HIV are:
Transgender women are also highly impacted by HIV transmissions as a population, reports the CDC .
These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV, but they arent inherently at greater risk of contracting HIV. An individuals personal risk depends on their behaviors, not on their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or any other demographic factor.
At What Stage Of The Infection Can Hiv Be Transmitted
Someone with HIV can pass on the virus if they have a detectable viral load.
This often happens during the first few months after infection when the levels of the virus in their body fluids are at their highest and they may not yet have been diagnosed.
This is why testing and early diagnosis are so important you can start treatment right away to protect your health and reduce your viral load to undetectable levels.
If the person with HIV has a detectable viral load, the virus is free to enter the HIV negative persons bloodstream. This can happen during vaginal and anal sex .
It can also happen when an object that has body fluids on it is put inside an HIV negative person during sex.
Also Check: Can You Live With Someone With Hiv
Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isnt easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.
Can One Get An Sti From Safer Sex With A Sex Worker
How easy is it to catch an STD, such as HPV or genital herpes, if one had been with a prostitute and practiced safe sex? Can one catch these diseases through exchange of saliva or vaginal fluids? Thank you.
Sex workers are potentially at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections due to increased numbers of partners and incidences of contact. Your personal risk following sexual contact with a sex worker depends on the unknown health status of that individual, similar to the unknown health status of any potential sexual partner.
Having “safe sex” suggests use of a condom during sex. However, “safe sex” implies zero risk of STI transmission and pregnancy ideally, sex that does not involve the exchange of blood, semen, or vaginal fluids, nor the transmission between partners of the organisms that cause STIs. However, protected sex cannot guarantee 100 percent effectiveness against STIs and pregnancy. The term “safer sex,” then, more accurately accounts for the risks associated with having sex, even when protected. Regardless of how easy it is to catch an STI, the risk of transmission will be significantly lower if you follow safer sex guidelines, such as always using condoms and dams, with all partners.
Don’t Miss: How Long Before You Can Get Tested For Hiv
How Can Service Providers Improve The Uptake And Correct Use Of Condoms
1.Improve awareness of condoms as a highly effective HIV prevention strategy and knowledge of how to use them correctly.
Education and counselling activities related to sexual health and HIV prevention should include information on the HIV prevention benefits of condoms. External or internal condoms can be used for both vaginal and anal sex. Service providers can promote condoms as one of several highly effective ways to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, along with pre-exposure prophylaxis , post-exposure prophylaxis and the use of antiretroviral treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load. Encourage clients to choose the combination of strategies that will work most effectively for them.
It is also important to provide education on how to use condoms correctly, to prevent breakage, slippage and leakage during sex and to maximize condom effectiveness. The correct use of condoms means:
- finding an external condom with the right fit and feel
- storing condoms at room temperature and regularly replacing condoms that are kept in a wallet, purse or pocket
- checking the expiry date and making sure the packaging isnt damaged
- using a new condom for every act of vaginal or anal sex and considering using a condom for oral sex
- using a new condom with every sex partner or when sharing sex toys
- putting the condom on and taking it off correctly
- applying sufficient and appropriate lubrication
- using a condom for the entire act of sex
4. Address underlying risk of HIV transmission.
Can Condoms Provide Protection From Sexually Transmitted Diseases Including Hiv
Yes. Whether you use latex male condoms or female condoms, they are both very effective in preventing HIV and many other STDs when used the right way every time. Condoms may prevent the spread of other STDs, like the Human Papillomavirus or genital herpes, only when the condom covers the infected areas or sores. To find out if you might have an STD, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as you can.
Also Check: Which Body Fluids Transmit Hiv
Is There A 100% Effective Way To Prevent Sexual Transmission Of Hiv And Stds
The only 100% effective way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV and STDs is through abstinence – avoiding all vaginal, anal and oral sex. Using a latex male condom or a female condom can greatly reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the risk of HIV and STD transmission. Abstinence is the only method to completely eliminate the possibility of sexual transmission of HIV or STDs.
Hiv Treatment As Prevention
People with HIV can take ART to lower their chance of transmitting HIV to others.
ART reduces the quantity of HIV in the body, or viral load, and keeps it at a low level.
The term viral load refers to the number of HIV copies per milliliter of blood.
Healthcare professionals define successful viral suppression as having a viral load of less than of HIV per milliliter of blood. Achieving and maintaining viral suppression significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Other ways to prevent HIV transmission include:
- using a condom or other barrier method during sex
- reducing the number of sexual partners
- getting vaccinated against other STIs, such as HPV and hepatitis B
- avoiding using injectable drugs, if possible
- if using injectable drugs, avoiding sharing needles and syringes
- following all workplace safety protocols
People can speak with a doctor to learn more about their individual risk of contracting HIV.
Anyone concerned about HIV exposure should contact a healthcare professional or a local emergency room to get testedand receive PEP.
Don’t Miss: Who Is Most Likely To Contract Hiv
Ive Heard Condoms Cant Prevent The Spread Of Hiv Is That True
By | Aug. 4, 2010, 11:01 a.m.
Id like to know if its true that condoms are not a safe method to avoid getting HIV AIDS. I heard that the size of the virus AIDS is smaller than the spaces of a condom and therefore, its possible that people are getting infected even with the use of a condom.
No, its not true. HIV is a virus that is carried in blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. None of these substances can pass through an intact latex condom, a polyurethane male condom, or a polyurethane internal condom.
Latex and internal condoms are the most effective way for people who have vaginal and anal intercourse to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. While oral sex is not nearly as risky as unprotected intercourse is for HIV, latex barriers can further reduce the risk.
Latex condoms are also up to 98 percent effective against pregnancy when used correctly. Polyurethane male condoms are less effective against pregnancy because they are somewhat more likely to break. Polyurethane internal condoms are up to 95 percent effective against pregnancy.
Some people use animal skin condoms, but theyre not as effective as latex or polyurethane condoms in preventing viral infections like HIV.
Condoms Are Made From Different Materials
Its possible to purchase condoms made from a variety of different materials, including latex and synthetic materials, like polyurethane and polyisoprene.
Lambskin condoms are more porous than other types of condoms. This allows germs, particularly viruses, to pass through the condom. Because of this, theyre not effective at preventing HIV and many other STIs.
Its estimated that about of the worldwide population is allergic to latex. People with a latex allergy can use condoms made of synthetic material to prevent having an allergic reaction while protecting against HIV transmission.
You May Like: What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv Positive
How To Use Condoms If You Have A Vagina
Condoms are also available for people with a vagina. These products are often called internal condoms or female condoms.
Studies have suggested that internal condoms have a similar effectiveness to external condoms. However, so far, no studies directly compare the effectiveness of external and internal condoms.
Lets examine how to use internal condoms.
Risks To Insertive And Receptive Partners
There is a widespread belief among gay men that the insertive partner is at very low risk of HIV infection. It is true that HIV infection occurs less frequently in men who solely take the insertive role than in men who engage in both roles, or men who practise receptive anal intercourse only .
However, being the insertive partner in condomless sex remains a high-risk activity. The per-act risk for the insertive partner in anal sex is comparable to the per-act risk for the male partner in vaginal sex.
The receptive partner is at risk of infection from HIV in the semen and pre-seminal fluids of the infected partner. Rectal tissue is delicate and easily damaged, which can give the virus direct access to the bloodstream. However, such tissue damage is not necessary for infection to occur: the rectal tissue itself is rich in cells which are directly susceptible to infection.
The insertive partner is also at risk of infection, as there are high levels of HIV in rectal secretions, as well as blood from the rectal tissues . This creates a risk of transmission to the insertive partner through the tissue in the urethra and on the head of the penis particularly underneath the foreskin.
Several systematic reviews of studies have calculated that condomless receptive anal intercourse posed approximately ten to twelve times greater risk of infection than insertive anal intercourse.
You May Like: How Much Does An Hiv Test Cost
Do Male And Female Condoms Provide The Same Protection Against Hiv
Yes. Studies show that female condoms are as effective at protecting against HIV as male condoms. Female condoms are made of nitrile, which is an effective barrier to HIV. Male and female condoms should not be used at the same time. Female condoms, like latex male condoms, are available in some drug stores, community health centers, and AIDS service organizations.
Giving And Receiving Oral Sex
Though semen and pre-cum are not the only routes for contracting HIV, they are two avenues. Ejaculating during oral sex increases the risk. If you or your partner feels ready to ejaculate, you can remove your mouth to avoid exposure.
Barrier methods like latex or polyurethane condoms and dental dams can be used during every oral sex act. Change condoms or dental dams if you move from the vagina or penis to the anus, or vice versa.
Also use lubricants to prevent friction and tearing. Any holes in the barrier methods can increase exposure risk.
Abstain from oral sex if you have any cuts, abrasions, or sores in your mouth. Any opening in the skin is an avenue for possible viral exposure.
Be careful not to cut or tear your partners skin with your teeth during oral sex. This opening can expose you to blood.
Don’t Miss: How Many People Die From Hiv Each Year
Learn About Viral Load
In 2017 the CDC declared that people with HIV who have an undetectable viral loadmeaning levels of HIV in the blood is below the threshold of detectionare unable to transmit HIV to their partners. This is often summarized with the phrase Undetectable = Untransmittable or U = U.
The CDC made the declaration after analyzing the results of three studies that included thousands of couples engaging in sexual acts without condoms, where one partner was HIV-positive with an undetectable viral load, and the other was HIV-negative . Not one of the HIV-negative people in the three studies contracted the virus from a positive person when their viral load was suppressed, the CDC reported.
The way to obtain and maintain an undetectable viral load is through taking a combination of antiretroviral medications. This treatment is referred to as antiretroviral therapy or ART, according to the CDC. HIV researchers, doctors, and activists alike now view having an undetectable viral load as a means of HIV prevention, commonly referred to as Treatment as Prevention .
Multiple Vulnerabilities Increase Risk In Men And Women
Vaginal sex is one of the primary ways a person can become infected with HIV. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it accounts for about 6,300 new infections among women each year in the U.S. and about 2,800 new infections among heterosexual men.
Globally, the figures are even more dismaying. While the sexual transmission of HIV in the U.S. is highest among gay and bisexual men , heterosexuals are by far the group most affected worldwide.
This is especially true in Africa where most new infections are among heterosexuals. In these populations, vaginal sex is the predominant route of infection.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Early Signs Of Hiv In Females
No 4 Having Vaginal Sex : 1 In 1250
Most women who get HIV are infected through vaginal sex. In such cases, an HIV-positive man transmits the virus to his female partner through preseminal fluid or ejaculate, which allows HIV to pass through the linings of the vagina and cervix.
- Reduce the risk. In theory, withdrawal practiced as a safety measure may help reduce a womans risk of contracting HIV from an HIV-positive partner, but because the virus can be found in preseminal fluids, the method may not be effective. Using condoms, however, can help lower the odds of transmitting HIV by 80 percent or more, according to the World Health Organization.