How Long Can Hiv Survive Outside The Body
Once outside the body, HIV usually cant survive for very long. Coming into contact with blood or semen that has been outside the body doesnt generally pose a risk for HIV transmission.
Similarly, the risk of passing on HIV to someone else if you have a detectable viral load and cut yourself is also very low. Wash away any blood with soap and hot water and cover the wound with a sticking plaster or dressing.
How You Become Infected
There is HIV virus in body fluids like vaginal secretions and semen. If those fluids are present, they can enter the bloodstream of someone who doesn’t have HIV through an opening such as a mouth sore or a genital ulcer.
Your chances are higher of getting HIV if you:
Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes.;Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
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When Is The Risk Greater
These risk factors can increase the chances for transmission of HIV:
- Status: Risk varies based on whether the person with HIV is giving or receiving oral sex. If the person with HIV is receiving oral sex, the person giving it may have a higher risk. Mouths may have more openings in the skin or lesions. Saliva, on the other hand, is not a carrier of the virus.
- Viral load: The risk of contracting HIV is higher if the person with HIV has a high viral load. Higher viral loads increase infectivity.
- Ejaculation: During oral sex, ejaculation may increase risk for sharing the virus, but ejaculation alone isnt the only possible way of contracting HIV.
- Cuts or sores: Openings in the mouth, vagina, anus, or on the penis are possible routes for HIV. These may be cuts or lesions from another infection or condition. For example, HIV-related infections like candidiasis can cause sores that compromise the integrity of the tissue in the mouth. Any break in the skin puts a person at risk for transmitting or contracting the virus.
- Menstruation: HIV-bearing cells do shed from the cervix during menstruation. Coming into contact with menstrual blood with the mouth may increase contraction risk.
- Urethritis: This condition causes inflammation and irritation in the urethra. It may increase the chances of HIV contraction, too. People with HIV are likely to shed the virus when they have this condition.
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.
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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.
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.
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What The Study Found
The study involved 304 men who gave 628 paired blood and semen samples between January 2002 and June 2011. Of the 314 blood samples, 107 had detectable HIV RNA. Of the 314 semen samples, 49 had detectable HIV RNA.
Twenty of 304 men with an undetectable viral load in blood had a detectable viral load in semen. In these 20 men, viral loads in semen ranged from a low of 115 copies per milliliter of semen to a high of 1750 copies per milliliter. All of these men were taking three or four antiretrovirals including either a protease inhibitor, a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or the integrase inhibitor Isentress .
Rates of detectable HIV RNA in blood and in semen did not change much over the 10-year study period . Even in the most recent years of the study, when men were taking the latest antiretroviral combinations, 5% to 10% of men with an undetectable viral load in blood had a detectable viral load in semen.
In a subgroup of 98 men, 55% had under 1 copy of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood and 11% had fewer than 5 copies of HIV DNA per 150,000 blood cells. Six of these 98 men had detectable HIV RNA in semen; 4 of these 6 had under 1 copy of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood, and all 6 had under 40 copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood.
Lowering The Risk Of Sexual Transmission
There are several protective measures which dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission during sex. You can find out more about these on other pages.
Antiretroviral drugs used by a person who does not have HIV to be taken before possible exposure to HIV in order to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection. PrEP may either be taken daily or according to an event based or on demand regimen.;
Undetectable viral load: when people with HIV take effective treatment,;the amount of HIV in their body fluids falls drastically, to the point where they cannot pass HIV on to their sexual partners. An extremely low level of HIV in body fluids is referred to as an;undetectable viral load. The knowledge that this prevents transmission is often referred to ‘Undetectable equals Untransmittable’ .
PrEP: if the HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medications as;pre-exposure prophylaxis ,;this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV. The most common form of PrEP is in a tablet, but it can also be provided as a vaginal ring or an injection.
Condoms: if;male condoms or female condoms;are used, this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV.
Male circumcision: if you are circumcised, this partially lowers your risk of acquiring HIV during vaginal sex.
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Can I Transmit Hiv To My Baby During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding
An HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn baby either before or during birth. HIV can also be passed on during breastfeeding. If a woman knows that she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected. Other ways to lower the risk include choosing to have a caesarean section delivery and not breastfeeding.
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.
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Factors That Increase The Risk Of Sexual Transmission
Not every act of unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person results in HIV transmission. But other factors can make HIV transmission more likely.
If the HIV-negative person has an untreated sexually transmitted infection , the risk is greater.
Just as HIV treatment and an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission, a;high;viral load makes it more likely. Viral load refers to the quantity of HIV in a persons body fluids. It is extremely high in the first few weeks after a person is first infected with HIV. It may also be high if a person does not take HIV treatment and has advanced disease. People who have HIV without realising it cannot take HIV treatment, so there is a strong possibility that they have a high viral load. ;
Body Fluids That Transmit Hiv
What body fluids transmit HIV?
Only certain body fluids from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. These fluids include
- vaginal fluids, and
- breast milk.
These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth.
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Sperm May Play Leading Role In Spreading Hiv
- Rockefeller University Press
- Sperm, and not just the fluid it bathes in, can transmit HIV to macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells , researchers report. By infecting DCs, which carry the virus and potently pass it to T cells, sperm may play a leading role in spreading HIV.
Sperm, and not just the fluid it bathes in, can transmit HIV to macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells , report a team led by Ana Ceballos at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. By infecting DCs, which carry the virus and potently pass it to T cells, sperm may play a leading role in spreading HIV.
The article appears in the November 23, 2009 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine .
During sexual intercourse, HIV-infected men transmit HIV through their semen, which carries free-floating virus as well as HIV-infected leukocytes. Traces of HIV have been detected on sperm as well, but the role they play in viral transmission has been a matter of debate. After all, men with vasectomies can transmit HIV. Now, Ceballos et al. show that HIV attaches to the surface of sperm and that these HIV carriers pass on the virus to DCs and other HIV targets.
Sperm express molecules known to interact with HIV’s envelope, such as heparan sulfate and mannose receptors. The authors show that HIV relies on heparan sulfate to attach to sperm, but not mannose receptors as previously predicted.
Can You Get Hiv Through Oral Sex
The risk of HIV from oral sex is very small unless you or your partner have large open sores on the genital area or bleeding gums/sores in your mouth.
There is only a slightly increased risk if a woman being given oral sex is HIV-positive and is menstruating. However, you can always use a dental dam to eliminate these risks.
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Myths About Hiv And Aids
- There are lots of myths around, but the facts of how you can get HIV, and how you can protect yourself, are very simple.
- One of the most common myths people living with HIV hear is that they can be cured. Theres no cure yet for HIV, but antiretroviral treatment works and will keep someone living with HIV healthy.;
HIV can only be passed on from one person to another via the following bodily fluids:
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 “body 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.
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How Do You Bring This Up To Other Current Or Potential Partners
Ideally, youll have the convo at a time and place thats private and free of interruptions.
Keep it simple and to the point, and be willing to answer their questions honestly. Let them know what youre doing about it, like taking PEP, and when youre supposed to get your results.
Be prepared that they might not be comfortable with getting intimate until you know your status, and respect their decision.
If youre gonna get busy, there are plenty of precautions you and your sexual partner can take to reduce the risk of HIV.
How The Study Worked
The study focused on HIVpositive French men who requested sperm washing from 2002 through 2011. All men were heterosexual and had a stable relationship with a female partner. All men were taking combination antiretroviral therapy.
The researchers measured virus in paired blood and semen samples from each man. The tests used to measure HIV could detect as few as 40 copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood and 100 copies per milliliter of semen.
In one third of the men, the researchers also used more sensitive tests to measure HIV RNA in blood and HIV DNA in blood cells. HIV DNA is the form HIV takes when resting inside cells that it infects. These sensitive tests could detect 1 copy of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood and 5 copies of HIV DNA per 150,000 blood cells.
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If I Get Infected Fluid From An Hiv
No, HIV is not always passed on from someone living with HIV. There are lots of reasons why this is the case. For example, if the HIV-positive person is on effective treatment it will reduce the amount of HIV in their body. If a doctor confirms that the virus has reached undetectable levels it means there is no risk of passing it on.
If youre concerned that youve been exposed to HIV you may be eligible to take post-exposure prophylaxis , which stops the virus from becoming an infection. However its not available everywhere and has to be taken within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
Its really important to;take a HIV test;every time;you think you have been at risk of HIV.
Impossible Routes Of Hiv Transmission
HIV transmission through the following activities is biologically implausible and there have been no documented cases.
There is no risk of HIV being passed on through: coughing, sneezing or spitting; kissing, hugging or shaking hands; sharing cutlery, plates or cups; breathing the same air; using the same lavatory; mosquito or animal bites.
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Is Unprotected Anal Intercourse More Of An Hiv Risk Than Vaginal Or Oral Sex
Unprotected anal intercourse does carry a higher risk than most other forms of sexual activity. The lining of the rectum has fewer cells than that of the vagina, and therefore can be damaged more easily, causing bleeding during intercourse. This can then be a route into the bloodstream for infected sexual fluids or blood. There is also a risk to the insertive partner during anal intercourse, though this is lower than the risk to the receptive partner.
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.
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