Sharing Injection Drug Equipment
- having other types of sexually transmitted infections
What Are The Potential Routes Of The Spread Of Hiv
For some exposures, although transmission is biologically possible, the risk is so low that it is not possible to put a precise number on it. This includes deep kissing or indulging in oral sex.
Main routes for HIV transmission are as follows.
- Sexual route: Receptive anal sex is the riskiest sexual behavior associated with HIV transmission with 1.4 percent risk. Insertive anal sex carries 0.06 to 0.62 percent risk. Receptive vaginal sex can pose a risk of 0.08 percent, whereas insertive vaginal sex poses an estimated risk of 0.04 percent. Remember that transmission can occur after just one exposure.
- You are at a higher risk of infection if:
- You already have a sexually transmitted infection .
- You engage in activities that can cause tearing and inflammation such as rough sex, longer sex, douching, enemas before anal sex and tooth brushing, flossing or dental work before oral sex.
- Your partner has a high viral load during sex. This is particularly observed during the first few weeks of getting infected or when an infected person does not take medications for HIV treatment. Proper treatment not only improves health but also lowers the viral load, thereby reducing the risk of infection transmission.
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:
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Can I Become Infected If My Partner Has Hiv
A partnership where one person is infected with HIV and the other is not can be described as a sero-discordant relationship. There is a risk of HIV transmission if the discordant couple has unprotected sex. However, this risk can be greatly reduced with the use of condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Both partners in a discordant sexual relationship should take on the responsibility of protecting one another from HIV infection.
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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Can You Get Hiv From Having Sex With Someone Who Has Aids
If you have sex with someone who has AIDS, not HIV, can you still get HIV? Sarah*
Yes. People who have AIDS are infected with the HIV virus. This means they can pass HIV on to others.
AIDS happens after someone has had HIV for many years. In AIDS, the immune system is severely weakened. When someone gets HIV, that person can spread the infection to other people immediately. And if HIV develops into AIDS, the virus can spread to others.
HIV/AIDS spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV/AIDS also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
To reduce your risk of getting HIV/AIDS if you are sexually active:
- Use a condom every time you have sex .
- Get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too.
- Have fewer sexual partners.
- Get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection.
- Consider taking a medicine every day if you are at very high risk of getting infected .
It’s also important to:
- not inject drugs or share any kind of needle
- not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood
- not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Why Nurses Always Wear Gloves
Too much knowledge can sometimes be a dangerous thing. A reader once wrote to me to ask why, if HIV isn’t spread by casual contact, healthcare providers are told to always wear gloves when dealing with HIV-positive patients and prison guards are told to wear them when breaking up fist fights. He wondered if the general public was being misled about the true danger of HIV transmission. He then asked me to help him understand why professionals seemed to be getting different information than he was as a regular citizen. This is what I told him.
If skin is intact , there is no risk of HIV transmission from casual contact. That means, HIV can’t be transmitted by activities such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing on the cheek. Intact skin is an excellent barrier for HIV. HIV is transmitted only via potentially infected secretions such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.
As for prison guards, hand-to-hand combat can cause a lot of damage. Wearing gloves helps to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to infected blood. Blood is a fluid that’s a known HIV risk and can also transmit other diseases. It is, after all, not just HIV that individuals are worrying about catching. Other viruses, such as hepatitis C or even influenza are easier to catch and harder to kill. Gloves make touching bodies that may be infectious or susceptible to infection safer for everyone. They also make your hands easier to clean.
Also Check: How Long Does Hiv Take To Show
How Do I Know If The Blood Transfusion/transplant Im Receiving Is Safe
In most cases, its fine to assume the blood product you are receiving is safe. But if you are worried, it is your right to ask the healthcare professional whether it has been tested for HIV or not.
Blood donors are asked a set of standard questions just before donating blood to help determine if they are in good health or if they have been at risk of HIV infection in the past.
Some groups of people who are considered more statistically at risk of HIV infection are not eligible to donate blood products in some countries – either for set time periods or for life. These groups include:
- Men who have sex with men
- Sex workers
- People who inject drugs
If you fall into one of these groups of people, and you want to donate blood, talk to your healthcare professional who can advise you on whether its safe and legal to donate blood or not.
Other activities may also require you to postpone your blood donation, such as having a tattoo or body piercing or if you are living with a certain health condition.
If you want to know more about donor eligibility, check the guidelines in your country as they are different all over the world.
Semen Vaginal Fluids And Anal Mucus
If an HIV positive person has sex without a condom, and they do not have an undetectable viral load, HIV can get into the other persons blood because it lives in the semen, vaginal fluid and anal mucus. There does need to be a tear or graze in the other person for the HIV to enter into their body. A condom stops any fluid being passed to the other person, and it also stops unwanted pregnancy and getting other sexually transmitted infections.
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Is There Anything You Can Do To Prevent Other Forms Of Transmission
Blood-to-blood contact between people sharing drug equipment like needles and syringes is the most common nonsexual form of HIV transmission.
If youre injecting drugs recreational or medical always use clean equipment. Dispose of needles and other paraphernalia properly to avoid accidental needle sticks and exposure.
Though the risk is low, its possible to contract HIV from contaminated tattooing and piercing equipment. Avoid home tattoos and piercings and stick with a reputable studio that follows proper sterilization practices.
Potential exposure to HIV can be stressful for all involved. Finding someone to talk with about your concerns and getting support can help.
Talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional if you or your partner needs help with:
- HIV and other STI testing
- treatment and prevention drugs
Lower Risk Of Infection
The risk of an infection being passed on from someone else’s blood is lower if the blood only comes into contact with your eyes, mouth, nose, or skin that’s already broken.
For example, if someone spits in your face, they may have blood in their saliva and it may get in your eyes, mouth or nose. The infected saliva may also get into an existing cut, graze or scratch.
There is also a lower risk of infection if infected blood comes into contact with skin that is already broken due to a health condition like eczema.
Also Check: How Long Can Aids Go Undetected
What We Know About Oral Sex
The chance an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low. However, its hard to know the exact risk because a lot of people who have oral sex also have anal or vaginal sex. The risk is even lower if the HIV-negative partner is taking medicine to prevent HIV . If the partner with HIV is taking HIV medicine as prescribed and keeps an undetectable viral load , they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex, including oral sex.
But you can get other sexually transmitted diseases from oral sex. And, if you get feces in your mouth during anilingus, you can get hepatitis A and B, parasites like Giardia, and other bacteria like Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli.
Other Types Of Transmission
In the past, HIV was spread by transfusion with blood products, such as whole blood or the “factor” used by hemophiliacs. Many people acquired HIV this way. The blood supply is now much more strictly tested and controlled in most countries. The odds of acquiring HIV from receiving blood or blood factor in countries like the US, the UK, and Canada are extremely low. For example, statistics from the US show that a person is more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than they are to acquire HIV from a blood transfusion. However, not every country screens all blood donations for HIV.
It is also possible to get HIV from skin grafts or transplanted organs taken from people living with HIV. Again, the risk is considered very low, as these “bodily products” must be strictly tested in the same way as blood products. Semen donations collected by sperm banks for artificial insemination are also considered “bodily products” and rigorously tested in high-resource countries. Private semen samples that are not processed by sperm banks or similar organizations may not have been tested. It is important for anyone receiving a private donor’s sperm for artificial insemination to have the donor tested for HIV.
If you are getting breast milk from a milk bank, it is important to ask if the bank tests the milk for HIV. Also, if your baby is getting breast milk from a wet nurse, it is important to make sure that she tests negative for HIV before giving her milk to your baby.
Also Check: How Long Does Aids Take To Show
Can You Get Hiv From A Blood Transfusion
Receiving a blood transfusion or other products made from blood is safe in the UK as all blood products have been screened for infections such as HIV since 1985.
In countries that dont have strict checks on the safety of their blood supply, receiving contaminated blood can pass the virus on. This can also happen in countries that dont screen other blood products, organs or sperm.
Giving blood has never been a risk.
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:
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Conditions Needed To Transmit Hiv
As serious an infection as HIV is, the virus itself is not all that robust. Others, like the flu and cold viruses, are far more sturdy and can be passed from one person to next by sneezing. HIV cannot. Instead, there four conditions that must take place in order for infection to occur:
- There must be body fluids in which HIV can thrive. For HIV, this meanssemen, blood, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. HIV cannot survive for very long in the open air or in parts of the body where is high acid content .
- There must be a way for body fluids to enter the body. This happens primarily through sexual contact but can also be spread through , accidental blood exposure in healthcare settings, or transmission of the virus from mother to child during pregnancy.
- The virus must be able to reach vulnerable cells inside the body. Skin contact with a body fluid is not enough.It needs to enter the bloodstream through a break in the skin or penetrate vulnerable mucosal tissues of the vagina or rectum. The depth and size of the penetration also matter, with a deep cut being riskier than a scrape.
- There must be sufficient amounts of virus in the body fluid. This is why saliva, sweat, and tears are unlikely sources of infection since the enzymes in these fluids actively break down HIV and its genetic structure.
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
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What Exactly Do You Mean By Dry Humping
Dry humping. Dry sex. Frottage. Smashing. Pants burning.
These are all names for rubbing/grinding/thrusting your genitals against someone or something in the name of sexual gratification.
Its also considered a form of outercourse.
Anyone can do it. There are all sorts of fun variations, beginning with clothes or no clothes.
Then there are the endless options for getting your frott on, which can include delightful moves like:
- intercrural intercourse, which is fancy talk for thrusting your penis between your partners thighs
- rubbing your genitals against theirs, be it penis to vulva, penis to penis, or vulva to vulva in various positions, like missionary or scissoring
- hot-dogging, in which one person slides their peen between a partners buns
- bagpiping, which involves placing a penis in the armpit
- tit f*cking, which involves sliding the peen between two smooshed breasts
We need to get this straight.
While dry humping is generally a lower risk activity than penetrative sex, its NOT completely risk-free.
If pregnancy is your only concern, then dry hump on, friend. STIs are a whole other story.
Penetration doesnt need to happen to transmit an STI. STIs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or fluid exchange.
Dry humping while fully clothed is safe, but any state of undress increases your risk, because bodily fluids could seep through fabric.
Think pillow, the arm of your couch, that ridiculous stuffed parrot you won at the fair, etc.