How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
What We Know About Vaginal Sex
When a woman has vaginal sex with a partner who has HIV, HIV can enter her body through the mucous membranes that line the vagina and cervix. Most women who get HIV get it from vaginal sex. Even if a womans male partner withdraws or pulls out before ejaculating, she can still get infected because pre-seminal fluid can carry HIV.
On average, an HIV-negative woman has about a 1 in 1,250 chance of getting HIV every time she has vaginal sex with a man who has HIV.
On average, a woman with HIV has about a 1 in 2,500 chance of transmitting HIV every time she has vaginal sex with an HIV-negative man.
For an HIV-negative woman, anal sex is about 17 times more risky than vaginal sex for getting HIV from a partner with HIV.
For a woman with HIV, anal sex is about 3 times more risky than vaginal sex for transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner.
If the partner with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed, and gets and keeps an undetectable viral load , their partner has effectively no risk of getting HIV through sex. See how receptive vaginal sex compares to other sexual activities here.
On average, an HIV-negative man has about a 1 in 2,500 chance of getting HIV every time he has vaginal sex with a woman who has HIV.
On average, a man with HIV has about a 1 in 1,250 chance of transmitting HIV every time he has vaginal sex with an HIV-negative woman.
People Think Its Easy To Contract Hiv Thats A Good Thing Right Maybe Not Guest Post By Jason Kerwin
This is the fourteenth in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.People are afraid of HIV. Moreover, people around the world are convinced that the virus is easier to get than it actually is. The median person thinks that if you have unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person a single time, you will get HIV for sure. The truth is that its not nearly that easy to get HIV the medical literature estimates that the transmission rate is actually about 0.1% per sex act, or 10% per year.
Great stuff! I’ve wanted to see precisely this paper for a while. I think it’s morally opprobrious that we exaggerate the risks to people, and it’s very interesting to also see that this backfires through the previously only theorized fatalism channel.
I was 12 when magic Johnson came out that he wasHIV positive. I am now 37 and sex still scares me and I can honestly say I barely get any enjoyment out of it. This was helpful I’ll relax a little bit more
my partner of six years is HIV positive,this has affected our sexual relationship and we do not have any child yet,because of his condition.he has been on hiv drug all this while and the VL shows 0.1%,can we make love without me contacting the virus?
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Is There Risk Of Hiv Transmission When Having A Tattoo Body Piercing Or Getting A Hair Cut Or Shave
There is a risk of HIV transmission if instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilized between clients. However, people who carry out body piercing or tattooing should follow procedures called ‘universal precautions’, which are designed to prevent the transmission of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
When having a hair cut there is no risk of infection unless the skin is cut and infected blood gets into the wound. Traditional ‘cut-throat’ razors used by barbers now have disposable blades, which should only be used once, thus eliminating the risk from blood-borne infections such as Hepatitis and HIV.
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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How Soon Can Hiv Be Detected By A Blood Test
The window period refers to the time between when a person is first exposed to HIV and when it will show up on different types of HIV tests.
The window period can last anywhere from 10 days to 3 months, depending on your bodys immune response and the type of test that youre taking.
During the window period, a person may test HIV-negative even though theyve contracted HIV.
A person can still transmit HIV to others during this period. In fact, transmission may even be more likely because there are higher levels of the virus in a persons body during the window period.
Here is a quick breakdown of different types of HIV tests and the window period for each.
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.
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What You Need To Know About The Links Between Hiv And Stds
Many people think that STDs are a harmless “fact of life.” Since most STDs can be cured, people think, “Doctors give you medicine and that’s the end of it, right?” Well, not quite! Having an STD can increase your chances of getting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
What We Know About Kissing
Theres no chance of getting HIV from closed-mouth or social kissing, and you cant get HIV through saliva. In some very rare cases, people have gotten HIV from deep, open-mouth French kissing because they and their partners had blood in their mouths from bleeding gums or sores . But the chance of getting HIV from deep, open-mouth kissing is much lower than from most other sexual activities.
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How To Prevent The Spread Of Hiv
People living with HIV can use the following to prevent transmitting it to others:
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis : This is a daily pill that contains two antivirals called tenofovir and emtricitabine. When a person takes it daily, PrEP can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV through sex by
- of a recent potential HIV exposure.
How Do You Get Hiv From Semen Or Vaginal Fluid
Body fluids including semen and vaginal secretions can contain HIV. If a person has HIV and a detectable viral load, HIV can passed on to someone if their semen or vaginal secretions get into the body of a sexual partner during vaginal or anal sex.
If a man has HIV and a detectable viral load, one of his body fluids where the virus is found is his semen.
If he has a detectable viral load and his semen gets into the body of his sexual partner during sex, then HIV can get into the other persons bloodstream.
Pre-cum also contains HIV this is why there is a risk of infection even if a man pulls out of his partner before he ejaculates.
If a woman has HIV and she has a detectable viral load, one of her body fluids where the virus is found is in her vaginal secretions.
If these come into contact with a penis during sex, then HIV could be transmitted. The virus in her secretions can enter through the delicate skin of the penis or foreskin.
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Hiv Transmission From Cunnilingus Or From Receiving Oral Sex
Dear All knowing Alice,
Both you and the Columbia AIDS manual note that the risk of AIDS transmission by unprotected cunnilingus is less than via unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse. What I’d like to know is, how much less? Are there any statistics? Are there any documented cases of AIDS being spread this way? If so, how often does it seem to occur? It’s difficult to know whether it makes sense to take my chances unless I know what the chances are.
Also, both you and the manual say transmission can’t occur without contact with a mucous membrane. I have another AIDS brochure that says there’s at least a small chance the virus could pass through tears around the cuticles of the hand. Is this the case, and if so, how great a risk is there in putting your fingers in somebody’s vagina or anus for extended periods?
What are the risks of HIV infection for the passive partner of oral sex?
Signed,Happy but Worried
Dear Needs the details and Happy but Worried,
For a cunnilingus recipient, the chance of HIV transmission is also low, although the entire vagina is a mucous membrane through which, theoretically, the virus could be transmitted. A woman receiving cunnilingus is more at risk of getting herpes or gonorrhea from her partner than of contracting HIV. Also, a person giving oral sex to a woman may want to avoid doing so during her period, as menstrual blood can carry enough HIV to spread an infection.
Have fun while you’re staying safe!
Oral Sex And Hiv Acquisition
Oral sex is not likely to transmit HIV under most circumstances. Many large studies have shown that a person living with HIV who takes HIV drugs and has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to their sexual partners. This includes any kind of sex, including oral sex and sex without using condoms or barriers. This reality is known in the HIV community as Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, or U=U.
When a person living with HIV is not on treatment, oral sex is still a low-risk activity for HIV. If a person is not taking HIV drugs and/or has a detectable viral load, that low chance of transmission is greater if one of the partners has bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, gum disease, genital sores, and other sexually transmitted infections or diseases .
A number of studies have tried to figure out the exact level of HIV transmission risk that oral sex poses, but this is not easy to do. When HIV is transmitted, it is difficult to tell if oral sex or another activity that poses more risk was responsible.
The chances of HIV being passed from one person to another depend on the type of contact. HIV is most easily spread or transmitted through unprotected anal sex, unprotected vaginal sex, and sharing injection drug equipment that has not been cleaned. Unprotected sex means sex in which no condoms, other barriers, or HIV treatment-as-prevention methods are used.
For HIV transmission to be possible:
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What Do We Know About Touching
Theres extremely low to no risk for getting or transmitting HIV from touching. The only possible risk would be if body fluids from a partner with HIV touch the mucous membranes or damaged tissue of someone whos HIV-negative. Mucous membranes can be found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth. Damaged tissue could include a cut, sore, or open wound.
Theres a chance of getting or transmitting other sexually transmitted diseases through touching because some STDs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
You could also get or transmit other kinds of infections, like hepatitis A and hepatitis B virus parasites like Giardia and bacteria such as Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or E. coli if you touch someones anus because you may get feces on your hands or fingers.
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.
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Hiv And Stds Are Spread In The Same Ways
You can get HIV or an STD by having sex without a condom with a person who is already infected. HIV and some STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby while she is pregnant, during birth or through breast feeding. HIV and some STDs can also be spread by sharing drug “works” with someone who has HIV or an STD.
Interpreting The Numberswhat Additional Information Needs To Be Provided
Some clients may see these numbers and think their risk of HIV transmission is low. Therefore, caution is needed when interpreting them. If these numbers are provided to clients, they should be accompanied by information that helps shed light on why the risk may be higher than it seems.
Transmission can occur after one exposure.
It is important to emphasize that a person could become infected from having unprotected sex once or a person could have unprotected sex many times and not become infected, regardless of how low or high the risk per exposure is.
A risk of 1% would mean that an average of one infection would occur if 100 HIV-negative people were exposed to HIV through a certain type of sex. It does not mean that a person needs to be exposed 100 times for HIV infection to occur.
These are estimates of average risk in the absence of biological factors that increase risk.
The numbers in the table above are rough estimates. They are averages and do not represent the risk from all exposures to HIV through a certain type of sex.
The risk of HIV transmission may be much higher than these averages if biological risk factors are present. For example, research shows that STIs and some vaginal conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, can increase the risk of HIV transmission by up to 8 times.6,7,8 As a result, the risk of an HIV-negative woman becoming infected through unprotected receptive vaginal sex could be closer to 1% if she has a vaginal STI.
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How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs.
Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
This process continues until eventually the number of CD4 cells, also called your CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you’ll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
How To Be Safe When Coming Into Contact With Infected Blood
A condom will act as a barrier against any contact with blood during sex.
As well as sex, sharing equipment for injecting drugs is a way blood can get into someones body. This can be avoided by using fresh needles and not sharing needles, syringes and other equipment.
If a woman has HIV, her menstrual blood also carries a risk of transmission if she has a detectable viral load.
If youre HIV negative and taking pre-exposure prophylaxis youll be protected against getting HIV if you come into contact with infectious blood.
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Are Hiv Medicines Used At Other Times To Prevent Hiv Transmission
Yes, HIV medicines are also used for post-exposure prophylaxis and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV.
- Post-exposure prophylaxis PEP means taking HIV medicines within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent HIV infection. PEP should be used only in emergency situations. It is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis .
- Prevention of perinatal transmission of HIVPregnant women with HIV take HIV medicines for their own health and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV. After birth, babies born to women with HIV receive HIV medicine to protect them from infection with any HIV that may have passed from mother to child during childbirth. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Preventing Perinatal Transmission of HIV.