What Can Women Do
- Talk about it. Learn the facts about HIV, and share this lifesaving information with your family, friends, and community. Let’s Stop HIV Together, part of Act Against AIDS, has many resources for raising awareness about HIV and includes many video testimonials from people living with HIV.
- Start Doing It – getting tested for HIV . Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, get an HIV test as soon as possible.
The most effective way to prevent HIV is to abstain from sexual activity and injection drug use. However, if you are sexually active or use injection drugs, today there are more tools available to prevent HIV. You can:
- Use condoms the right way every time you have sex. Learn the right way to use a male condom or a female condom.
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.
What Body Parts Were Screened
Most doctors only test for genital STIs unless you explicitly ask to be tested for nongenital STIs.
So, for example, while you each may have tested negative for genital gonorrhea, its possible that you or your partner had throat gonorrhea, which could then pass to the other person via oral-anal sex, oral-genital sex, or tongue kissing.
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You’re More Likely To Get Hiv If Your Partner Has Hiv And An Std
People with both HIV and an STD have more HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid. This makes it easier for a person with an STD or HIV to give the virus to others when having sex without a condom.
Remember, many people who have HIV don’t know it. It can take many years for symptoms to show up. That is why it is so important to use condoms during sex, or not to have sex at all.
What Are Hiv And Aids
- HIV is a virus that attacks and weakens a person’s immune system. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body and fight off germs and diseases.
- If the immune system of an HIV-positive person gets so weak that it can no longer fight off a range of health problems it would normally be able to cope with, the person is considered to have AIDS.
- HIV can be passed from person to person through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk and other body fluids. It can happen:
- When a person has sex with someone who has the HIV virus and they do not use a condom
- When people exchange infected needles or syringes
- During pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, when an HIV-positive mom can pass the virus to her baby .
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How Could You Get Hiv From Contact With Blood
The risk of HIV transmission through blood comes when the person has a detectable viral load and their blood enters another persons body or comes into contact with a mucous membrane. These are parts of the body with wet, absorbent skin such as the:
- inside of the anus
Theres also a risk if blood from a person who has a detectable viral load comes into contact with a cut or broken skin, giving HIV a way through the skin and into someones bloodstream. If blood gets onto skin that isnt broken, there is no risk.
In a medical setting, its possible for HIV to be transmitted by someone accidentally cutting themselves with a blade or needle they have used to treat a person living with HIV.
This is called a needlestick injury. The risk of being infected in this way is very low. However, if someone thinks they have been exposed to HIV through a needlestick injury, post-exposure prophylaxis may be an option.
Bites That Break The Skin
A bite that opens the skin and causes bleeding can lead to the transmission of HIV. However, according to the
goes up with increasing viral load.
Viral load is highest both during the early phase of HIV and without treatment with antiretroviral medications. Taking antiretroviral medications every day can reduce a persons viral load to very low levels that cant be detected through testing.
In this way, antiretroviral medications arent only a treatment, but an important tool for prevention. When HIV cant be detected in the blood, a person living with HIV cant sexually transmit the virus to a partner without HIV.
This principle is called Undetectable = Untransmittable and has been supported by
up to 6 months of taking antiretroviral medications each day to achieve an undetectable viral load.
A persons viral load is said to be durably undetectable when all test results are undetectable for at least 6 months after the first undetectable result.
Theres no need to be afraid of having casual contact with someone who is living with HIV. The virus doesnt live on the skin and cant live very long outside of the body.
Additionally, bodily fluids like saliva, tears, and sweat dont transmit HIV either.
Therefore, casual contact, such as holding hands, hugging, or sitting next to someone who has HIV, wont transmit the virus. Closed-mouth kissing isnt a threat either.
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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.
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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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.
What Should I Do If I Need To Clean Up Blood
HIV does not usually survive long outside of the body, but contact with blood should be avoided.
To clean up blood that has been spilled, wear rubber gloves and mop up the liquid using bleach and warm water . Use warm, soapy water to clean away blood spilled on someones body.
Put the waste, used gloves and bloodied clothes in a plastic bag, seal and throw away.
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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 Is Hiv Transmitted
The person-to-person spread of HIV is called HIV transmission. People can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as through sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV:
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
HIV transmission is only possible if these fluids come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or are directly injected into the bloodstream . Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.
In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV
HIV can also spread from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth , or breastfeeding. This is called mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
You can’t get HIV from casual contact with a person who has HIV, such as a handshake, a hug, or a closed-mouth kiss. And you can’t get HIV from contact with objects such as toilet seats, doorknobs, or dishes used by a person who has HIV. Use the ClinicalInfo You Can Safely ShareWith Someone With HIV infographic to spread this message.
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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.
Ways Hiv Can Be Transmitted
How is HIV passed from one person to another?
Most people who get HIV get it through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment . But there are powerful tools that can help prevent HIV transmission.
Can I get HIV from anal sex?
You can get HIV if you have anal sex with someone who has HIV without using protection .
- Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Being the receptive partner is riskier for getting HIV than being the insertive partner .
- The bottoms risk of getting HIV is very high because the rectums lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
- The top 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.
Can I get HIV from vaginal sex?
You can get HIV if you have vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using protection .
Can HIV be transmitted from a mother to her baby?
HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, it is less common because of advances in HIV prevention and treatment.
Can I get HIV from sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment?
You are at high risk for getting HIV if you with someone who has HIV. Never share needles or other equipment to inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone.
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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.
Ways Hiv Is Not Transmitted
How well does HIV survive outside the body?
HIV does not survive long outside the human body , and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. It is not transmitted
- Through saliva, tears, or sweat.
- Through other sexual activities that dont involve the exchange of body fluids .
- Through the air.
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Effective Barriers Against Hiv
There are many effective barriers that prevent infection.
Skin: Skin is an excellent barrier against HIV, unless there is an open cut or open wound. Infectious fluid on skin is NOT a route for infection.
Mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and stomach: These membranes are good barriers against HIV infection, so long as there are not cuts, ulcers or sores.
Saliva: Saliva contains proteins and a low salt content that actively reduce its infectiousness. Even when HIV is detected there is too little to cause infection. HIV is not transmitted by kissing including deep kissing. Spit cannot transmit HIV.
Air: HIV is not transmitted by air.
Latex and rubber: Condoms prevent infection from HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections.
Many sexual situations have no risk of transmitting HIV.
These include masturbation , kissing and deep kissing, receiving oral sex and vaginal or anal sex using a condom correctly.
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.
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When Someone You Know Has Hiv
When someone in your family tests positive for HIV, you may feel a range of emotions. Among fear, confusion, regret and love for the person afflicted, you may also feel afraid for your own personal well-being and may have questions about just how contagious HIV may be. Rest assured that people with HIV can live at home and maintain a normal social life. Since the virus is not spread by casual household contact, family members, roommates, and visitors are not at risk of becoming infected.
The following information is provided to clarify what should and should not be done in living with someone with HIV. You will see that most of it is just good hygiene practices.
Hand washing is an effective way to prevent the spread of any germs. Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. This is to protect both the infected and uninfected family members remember that a person living with HIV may have a weak immune system and therefore may be more likely to catch any type of infection from another person. They, too, are vulnerable.
Personal Articles such as toothbrushes, razors and razor blades should not be shared among household members. These may become soiled with blood and could spread germs that may cause many illnesses.
Wash dishes in hot soapy water. No special precautions are necessary. There is no need to wash separately the dishes used by the infected person.