What Is The Risk Of Getting Hiv Hepatitis B Or Hepatitis C
The risk of getting HIV, hepatitis B or C depends on the amount of virus in the blood or body fluid and the type of contact. For example, a piercing through the skin poses a greater risk than a splash on the skin.
The emergency department health care provider will tell you whether your exposure puts you at risk of these infections.
What Are The Common Findings
Teens and adults may have symptoms in the first two to six weeks after the initial infection with HIV . The most common symptoms of the primary infection are fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes . These symptoms are not specific to HIV infection since many viral infections cause similar symptoms. Some other symptoms more particular to primary HIV infection are mouth ulcers, a rash, and meningitis. However, even these symptoms do not prove HIV infection because they can occur with other infections. Some people have no symptoms after the acute infection. The symptoms of the primary infection resolve without treatment. Most people do not seek medical attention, and they are not aware that they have acquired HIV.
After the primary infection, most people infected with HIV have no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. For adults and adolescents, progression of the disease usually occurs several years after the primary infection. About 30% of infants infected at birth will have disease progression within 12 to 18 months of life.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
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How Is Hiv/aids Diagnosed
The most commonly used diagnostic test for HIV infection detects antibodies to HIV in the blood. The body makes antibodies as a part of the immune defense against infections. If antibodies against HIV are present , this indicates that the person is infected with HIV. This is why infected people are called “HIV positive.”
The antibody test is done in two parts. The first part is called an ELISA. Occasionally, a person will test positive on an ELISA even though they are not HIV infected. Therefore, a positive ELISA test must have a confirmatory test done on the same blood sample showing that the antibodies are truly specific for HIV. A negative ELISA indicates that the person is not infected and usually does not require a follow-up test.
In some patients, antibody tests are not reliable. In this case, tests that directly detect the virus are used. The most commonly used tests detect the virus genetic material or protein in the blood. Virus tests are used to diagnose HIV infection in infants born to HIV-infected mothers. Antibody tests on the baby are not reliable until after 18 months of age because all mothers will pass antibodies to their babies, but not all mothers will pass the virus. In order to determine if the infant is infected, tests to detect the virus in the baby’s blood are performed. The majority of infected infants will have the virus detected by three to four months of life. Uninfected infants will have negative tests for the virus .
Does Safe Sex Guarantee Safety
STIs that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact may be difficult to fully prevent by safer sex. That’s because barriers do not necessarily cover all potentially infectious skin.
Practicing safer sex reduces the risk of skin-to-skin STI transmission from diseases such as herpes and HPV. The more skin that’s covered, the less likely sores are to touch uninfected skin.
Condoms and other barriers may prevent transmission of STIs such as HIV and hepatitis that spread through bodily fluids. These STIs are spread by exposure to infected secretions such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. Remember, though, HIV does not spread by casual contact or skin-to-skin contact.
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Hiv/aids And Skin Conditions
Skin conditions are common in people with HIV/AIDS. Many, including Kaposi sarcoma, thrush, and herpes, are caused by germs that take advantage of a weakened immune system. That’s why they are called “opportunistic” infections. Others, like photodermatitis, may be linked to inflammation caused by an overactive immune system as it revives during antiretroviral drug therapy or due to the drugs themselves.
Here are some of the more common skin conditions related to HIV/AIDS.
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.
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Ways Hiv Is Not Spread
Get the true facts about HIV transmission.
Most people know that the virus is commonly spread through sexual contact and intravenous drug use. But what other behaviors are and are not risk factors?
How Is Hiv Prevented
The most important method to prevent HIV infection is to avoid exposure by sexual contact. Abstinence is the only certain way to avoid sexual exposure to HIV. The risk of transmission can be greatly reduced by the correct use of condoms during sexual contact. Individuals who do have sexual contact should limit their number of partners and use condoms correctly every time they have sexual contact.
Sharing contaminated needles can transmit HIV. Injection drug users should not share injection equipment. Children should be taught to avoid contact with other people’s blood. They also should avoid sharing sharp personal objects , which may be contaminated by blood and have not been properly sterilized. When caring for a bleeding wound, a thick layer of paper or cloth should be used to reduce the chances of contact with the blood.
Over 95% of infections passed from mother to infant can be prevented if the mother and infant receive treatment during pregnancy, labor, and the first weeks after birth. All women should be offered testing for HIV during pregnancy so they can receive the preventative treatments if they are HIV positive.
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What Is Hiv And Aids
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that infects the immune system. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome . AIDS is the most advanced stage of the HIV infection and causes the immune system to become vulnerable to other infections. HIV can also be known as “the AIDS virus.”
The full name for AIDS describes several of the characteristics of the disease.
Acquired indicates that it is not an inherited condition.
Immune Deficiency indicates that the body’s immune system breaks down.
Syndrome indicates that the disease results in a variety of health problems.
It takes on average, 5-10 years for the initial HIV infection to progress to AIDS if not treated. While there is presently no cure or vaccine for HIV, with proper medical care, HIV can be managed and a near-normal lifespan can be expected with early treatment.
Genital And Oral Herpes
Herpes is an STD that most people fear contracting from skin-to-skin exposure. Contact with these very contagious sores can pass herpes from person to person.
In fact, most people with oral herpes are infected during childhood. Casual contact, such as with relatives, can lead to herpes transmission. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be either oral or genital. However, HSV-2 is more often found in the genitals.
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How Do You Get Hiv From Injecting Drugs
During an injection, some blood goes into the needle and syringe. A needle and syringe that someone living with HIV has used can contain blood with the virus in it after the injection. If you then use the same injecting equipment, you are likely to inject HIV-infected blood directly into your bloodstream.
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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Tattoos And Body Piercings
- There are no known cases in the United States of anyone getting HIV this way.
- However, it is possible to get HIV from tattooing or body piercing if the equipment used for these procedures has someone elses blood in it or if the ink is shared. This is more likely to happen when the person doing the procedure is unlicensed because of the potential for unsanitary practices such as sharing needles or ink.
- If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, be sure that the person doing the procedure is properly licensed and that they use only new or sterilized needles, ink, and other supplies.
How Do I Prevent The Spread Of Infection To Others
Sometimes it is not possible to know for a few months if you have acquired an infection after an exposure to blood or body fluids. If you have, you can potentially transmit the infection to others. While you are waiting for your test results, follow these steps to help prevent spreading the infection to others:
- Do not have sex . If you have sex, use a male or female condom every time. For information on preventing STIs, see HealthLinkBC File #08o Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections .
- Do not donate blood, plasma, organs, breast milk, tissue, or sperm.
- Do not share toothbrushes, dental floss, razors, or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
- Cover open cuts and scratches until they heal.
- Carefully throw away anything with blood on it, such as tampons, pads, tissues, dental floss, and bandages. Put sharp items such as used razors or needles into a container and tape shut. Throw away in the garbage do not place in a recycling box.
- Do not share drug snorting, smoking or injection equipment such as needles and syringes, straws and pipes.
Women who are breastfeeding and have been exposed to blood or body fluids should speak with their health care provider to find out if it is recommended that they continue to breastfeed.
If you become pregnant, see your health care provider or call the Oak Tree Clinic at BC Womens Hospital and Health Centre at 604-875-2212 or toll-free in B.C. at 1-888-711-3030.
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Can A Man Give Himself Hiv/aids Or Another Sexually Transmitted Infection By Masturbating
The best answer to this question came years ago from one of our longtime experts, the highly respected HIV physician Robert Frascino, M.D.:
“No, there is absolutely no chance you can contract a sexually transmitted illness from yourself!
“STIs involve germs that spread from an infected person to another person via sexual activity. Masturbation, choking the chicken, spanking the monkey, or whatever you want to call it, involves only you and your hand. Some folks may refer to their hand as Mrs. Palm and her five daughters, but really we are only talking about one person here. And that’s you, right?!
“A person cannot give himself a disease he doesn’t already have. Just as you can’t give yourself a million dollars , you can’t give yourself HIV, because you don’t have that either.
“The bottom line is that your jizz is perfectly safe, so no worries unless you spunk up your parents’ furniture. And even those kinds of stains, although they can lead to problems, they can not lead to STIs, OK?”
Sharing Injection Drug Equipment
Sharing needles for injecting drugs most efficiently transmits HIV. This is because used needles and syringes can still contain blood, which can carry the virus.
An older study found that HIV can survive up to 42 days in syringes, depending on the temperature.
There are also some less common ways that HIV can be transmitted. Lets take a look at some of them below.
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Ways That Hiv Is Not Transmitted
HIV is not transmitted by day-to-day activities or by contact with objects, food or clothes.
The following list includes just a few examples of questions we get from people worried about catching HIV.
Most of these questions come from a combination of fear and ignorance. They come from a lack of confidence in understanding HIV transmission.
You can NOT catch HIV from:
- Eating any food, cooked or uncooked, with blood on it.
- From a sterile needle at a clinic or other health centre.
- From a human bite.
- From an insect bite including a mosquito bite.
- From an animal.
- From living in the same house as someone who is HIV positive.
- From a sewing needle if you stab your finger.
- From blood on a bus seat that went through your underwear.
- Cleaning nail clippers.
- Using a knife/fork/spoon/cup/plate that an HIV positive person may have used.
- Getting sexual fluid on skin.
- Getting sexual fluid on a cut that has already healed over. A cut has to be open to be a risk of HIV.
The above are all real examples sent as questions to i-Base. They show that ignorance about HIV is still common.
Other Types Of Hiv Risks
Another less-common way HIV is transmitted in the United States is needlestick injury. This typically happens when a health care worker is accidentally jabbed by a used needle or syringe that contains HIV-positive blood. Again, this is very rare.
Thirty years ago, blood transfusions and organ donations were an especially dangerous way that some people acquired HIV. Nowadays, donated blood and organs are routinely tested.
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Can You Get Hiv/aids From A Toilet Seat
For an answer to this common question, here’s longtime HIV expert Nancy Breuer:
“HIV is in blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. To create an infection, one of these four body fluids with HIV in it must come into immediate and direct contact with the bloodstream or a mucous membrane of another person.
“I include the word ‘immediate’ because the virus cannot survive for long outside the body. Oxygen destroys the virus. If any one of these four body fluids were on a toilet seat, oxygen would probably have destroyed it before anyone else approached it, and a person sitting on a toilet seat does not expose the bloodstream or a mucous membrane to the fluid on the seat, so there is no potential mode of transmission.
“If you find a toilet seat with blood or another potentially infectious body fluid on it, make sure that the seat is properly cleaned before anyone else uses it, for reasons of general hygiene. But do not be concerned about the possible transmission of HIV in that setting.”
Is Hiv And Aids An Occupational Concern
Where ever there is the possibility of contact with blood in the workplace, workers should take precautions to prevent contact with the skin, eyes or mucous membranes .
Routine Practices are recommended to prevent the spread of HIV in the workplace. Routine practices are based on the principle that all blood, body fluids, secretions, and excretions except sweat, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes, unless they contain visible blood, may contain transmissible infectious agents. Steps involve using protective clothing such as gloves, gowns or aprons, masks and protective eye wear when dealing with people’s blood and other blood-contaminated body fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions. They also do not apply to saliva except in dentistry where saliva is likely to be contaminated with blood.
Hand washing after contact with blood, blood-contaminated body fluids and soiled items is also recommended to reduce the risk of infection.
The best approach to most diseases is to prevent their occurrence – occupationally-related diseases are no exception. In the case of HIV, prevention is the only cure.
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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.