Dont Breastfeed Your Baby
- Do not breastfeed your baby, even if you have an undetectable viral load. Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding but doesnt eliminate the risk.
- The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
You should also have a pelvic examination and get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases during your pregnancy.
If I have an undetectable viral load, do my partner and I need to use anything else to prevent sexual transmission of HIV?
Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission during sex. But there are situations when either partner may want to use additional prevention options.
- Using condoms can help prevent some other STDs.
- Using condoms or having your partner take PrEP can provide added peace of mind.
- Also consider using additional prevention options if you
- Are unsure, for any reason, that you have an undetectable viral load
- Have a high viral load
- Have trouble taking HIV medicine regularly
- Missed some doses since your last viral load test or
- Have stopped taking HIV medicine or may do so in the future.
How Hiv Is Transmitted
HIV is not passed on easily from one person to another. The virus does not spread through the air like cold and flu viruses.
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, 1 of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood.
The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:
- vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood
- breast milk
- contact with animals or insects like mosquitoes
Is There Anything You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting It
If youve potentially already been exposed, then taking PEP is the only way to reduce your risk from that exposure.
PEP or post-exposure prophylaxis is an emergency prescription for people who are HIV-negative who may have been exposed to HIV.
Its a 28-day course of anti-HIV medication that can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by as much as when started within 72 hours of possible exposure and taken as directed.
You can get the medication at your nearest clinic or emergency department.
Yes, but keep in mind that not everyone shows symptoms in the early stages of an HIV infection. The only way to know for sure if you contracted HIV is to get tested.
In the first two to four weeks after infection, two-thirds of people experience flu-like symptoms.
See your doctor if you experience any of the following after a possible exposure:
If theres a chance youve been exposed to HIV, a convo with your other current or potential partners is a must until you get your results.
To help make the talk a little easier:
- Pick a time and place that you can talk freely without interruptions.
- Keep it simple and to the point.
- Be prepared with information and resources that can help answer their questions about their risk level and options for prevention.
- Be ready for the possibility that they may not take it well, and try not to take their reaction personally.
Theres a lot you and your partner can do to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
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No 3 Having Anal Sex : 1 In 909
The insertive partner is less likely than the receptive partner to get the infection from an HIV-positive partner. However, bodily fluids carrying the virus can enter the insertive persons body through the urethra or any cuts or sores on the penis.
- Reduce the risk. If the insertive partner uses a condom, that can cut the risk of HIV transmission by an average of 63 percent, according to the CDC. You can help lessen the chance that the condom will slip or break by using water- or silicone-based lubricants. In addition, be aware that condoms dont fully protect against certain sexually transmitted diseases that can be contracted through skin-to-skin contact, like syphilis and herpes.
Getting Your Hiv Test Results
Most HIV test results are available within a week.
If the test result is negative, you may receive your results within a few days.
If the initial test result is positive, then additional testing to confirm the result needs to be performed in a reference laboratory and this can take up to a week to get a result.
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Do Condoms Stop Hiv Being Passed On
Yes.Using a condom correctly prevents contact with semen or vaginal secretions , stopping HIV from being passed on. The virus cannot pass through the latex of the condom.
Condoms should only be used with a water-based lubricant as oil-based lube weakens them.
People with HIV who are on effective treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV through any of their body fluids.
Its also important to remember that if you have sex without a condom other sexually transmitted infections can be passed on.
Sex without a condom can also result in pregnancy if other contraception is not being used.
All Exposures Are Not Equal
The results of several meta-analyses suggest that some types of sex carry on average a higher risk of HIV transmission than others. Below are estimates from meta-analyses that have combined the results of studies conducted in high-income countries. For types of sex where meta-analysis estimates do not exist, numbers from individual studies are provided.
A meta-analysis exploring the risk of HIV transmission through unprotected anal sex was published in 2010. The analysis, based on the results of four studies, estimated the risk through receptive anal sex to be 1.4%. This risk was similar regardless of whether the receptive partner was a man or woman.
No meta-analysis estimates currently exist for insertive anal sex but two individual studies were conducted to calculate this risk. The first, published in 1999, calculated the risk to be 0.06% . However, due to the design of the study, this number likely underestimated the risk of HIV transmission. The second study, published in 2010, was better designed and estimated the risk to be 0.11% for circumcised men and 0.62% for uncircumcised men.
A meta-analysis of 10 studies exploring the risk of transmission through vaginal sex was published in 2009. It estimated the risk of HIV transmission through receptive vaginal sex to be 0.08% .
A meta-analysis of three studies exploring the risk from insertive vaginal sex was estimated to be 0.04% .
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How Many Cases Of Hiv Have Resulted From Occupational Needlestick Injuries
In the US, there were a total of 58 cases of confirmed occupational transmission of HIV to healthcare workers up to 2013, with only one since 1999. In the UK, there have only ever been five definite cases of HIV infection following a needlestick injury in a healthcare setting, and none reported in the past 20 years. The number of cases of HIV acquisition following an accidental needlestick injury globally is thought to be around 100 people in total.
Between 2004 and 2013, a total of 1478 healthcare workers were reported as having been exposed to patient blood containing HIV in the UK. Three-quarters of these took PEP, and almost all did so within 24 hours, with no HIV infections as a result.
Hiv Is Detected With A Blood Test
Blood tests are the most common and reliable tests for HIV. The virus is detected by taking a sample of your blood either with a conventional blood test or a rapid test .There is a short period of time between exposure to HIV and the ability for tests to detect HIV or its antibodies. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’ between 2 and 12 weeks.
Most tests used in Australia can detect HIV as early as 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
If your blood test shows that HIV or its antibodies are present, you are HIV-positive.
If you have no antibodies in your blood you are HIV-negative. Sometimes negative results might also mean you are in the window period, so you might need a follow-up blood test to make sure.
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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.
Stay On Top Of Medications Including Art Prep And Pep
Weve come a long way in HIV treatment and prevention, and some drugs can help you reduce the risk of transmission if youre living with HIV or are having sex with someone who is.
Talk with a medical professional about:
- ART: Antiretroviral therapy helps a person living with HIV stay healthy by lowering the viral load. Most people who take it as prescribed can lower their viral load to an undetectable level, so they cant transmit the virus to others.
- PrEP: A person whos HIV-negative significantly reduces their risk of contracting HIV by taking PrEP consistently.
- PEP: In the event of potential exposure to HIV, PEP is available for emergency use. It can help prevent HIV infection if started within 72 hours of exposure.
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Be Aware Of Potential Symptoms
If you have sex, knowing what symptoms could indicate an STI is a must.
See a healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:
- unusual discharge from the anus, penis, or vagina
- changes in urination, like pain or burning, frequency, or urgency
- sores, warts, or blisters on or around your genitals or anus
- unusual vaginal bleeding, like after sexual activity or between periods
- genital itching
Are certain activities higher risk?
Penis-in-anus sex is the riskiest, especially for the receptive partner because the rectums lining is thin, making it easier for the virus to enter the bloodstream.
Penis-in-vagina sex, though not as risky, is also considered higher risk activity for both parties.
What We Know About Anal Sex
Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV. Although receptive anal sex is much riskier for getting HIV than insertive anal sex, its possible for either partnerthe insertive or receptiveto get HIV.
An HIV-negative receptive partners risk of getting HIV is very high because the lining of the rectum is thin. HIV can enter the body through this lining during anal sex from body fluids that carry HIV, including semen or pre-seminal fluid .
On average, an HIV-negative receptive partner has about a 1 in 70 chance of getting HIV every time they have receptive anal sex with a partner who has HIV.
Being the receptive partner for anal sex is about 13 times more risky for getting HIV from a partner with HIV than being the insertive partner.
For women, anal sex is about 17 times more risky for getting HIV from a man with HIV than vaginal sex.
If the partner with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed, and gets and keeps an undetectable viral load , you have effectively no risk of getting HIV through sex with that partner.
An HIV-negative insertive partner 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. There is some evidence that circumcision decreases a mans risk of getting HIV during sex.
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If You Took Pep Afterward
Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is highly effective at reducing the risk of contracting HIV from sexual activity if started within 72 hours of the possible exposure and taken consistently until finished.
How likely is this generally?
Theres no number to quantify the risk of swallowing seminal fluid.Though swallowing does increase the risk of HIV some, fellatio is considered a lower risk activity overall.
How Risky Is Oral Sex For Hiv
Dick-sucking isn’t what we’d call high risk. The lining of your mouth is strong, and saliva actually contains antibodies that neutralise and deactivate the virus.
So it’s pretty hard to infect the skin inside your mouth – but you should still check for cuts and ulcers both in the mouth and on the cock, because these can create a path for HIV to get into your bloodstream.
Flossing and vigorous brushing can cause gum bleeding which puts you at a higher risk of being infected when you’re giving a beej, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to go out on a Friday night !
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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 .
You Took Pep Afterward
If you started it in the first 72 hours after the experience and continued to take it as directed, your chances of contracting HIV are slim.
How likely is this generally?
Even just the tip can expose you to HIV. It may not be as risky as, say, full-on anal or vaginal penetration with ejaculation, but its still risky.
Opt for oral for lower risk pleasure or use a condom.
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About The Infected Person :
- Is the source HIV negative or positive? They could be infected but not know yet. One in seven people living with HIV are unaware.
- Has the source had possible exposure to HIV through sex with multiple and/or anonymous partners, condomless sex, anal sex where both partners have a penis, or use of recreational drugs, injection drugs, or methamphetamines?
Viral Load & Medications
If someone has HIV, this does not mean that they are restricted to celibacy. Many people with HIV still continue to have safe, enjoyable sex lives without spreading the virus. Always using a condom or barrier method is an important first step to prevent the sharing of HIV containing fluids.
Antiretroviral therapy : Another way to help decrease the risk of spreading HIV is to lower a personâs viral loadâthe amount of HIV in a personâs blood. Viral loads can be lowered using medications called antiretroviral therapy . These medications can lower the HIV viral load so much that HIV may not even be detectable on a blood testâthis is called an undetectable viral load . When a person’s viral load in undetectable, they have effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to a non-infected partner . Taking these medication will help keep a person with HIV healthy while also helping prevent the spread of HIV to another person. This is not a cure, however. If medication is taken incorrectly or stopped, HIV viral loads will increase again and transmission can occur. Condoms and other barrier methods should still always be used during sex .
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Risk Factors In Women
The risk of HIV from unprotected vaginal sex is higher among women for a number of reasons. From a physiological standpoint, the tissues of the vagina are far more susceptible to HIV than those of the penis.
HIV is able to pass through these tissues when the immune system recognizes the invading virus and send defensive cells to “grab and drag” them through the lining to be destroyed.
Instead, HIV turns the table and attacks the very cells meant to help neutralize them. By doing so, the body helps facilitate its own infection. And, because the surface area of the vaginal epithelium is far greater than that of the male urethra, the opportunity for infection is increased, often exponentially.
Other physiological vulnerabilities include:
While the daily use of an HIV drug called pre-exposure prophylaxis can dramatically decrease the risk of HIV in an uninfected partner, there is evidence that works less well in women. Research published in 2016 suggests the level of the active drug molecule in vaginal tissue isn’t near as high as in rectal tissue.
None of this, of course, takes into account any of the social vulnerabilities that can place women at increased risk. These include sexual violence in relationships which not only steals a woman’s chance for self-protection but can result in damage to delicate vaginal tissue.