Talking To Your Health Care Provider
Your provider or other members of your health care team may ask you about your sexual practices each time you go in for a checkup. It may feel embarrassing at first to be honest and open. But they are trying to help you stay healthy.
Your VA provider and staff will still give you care if you have had sex with someone of the same sex or someone other than your spouse. VA is not there to judge you. It’s OK to tell your providers the truth. It will not affect your medical benefits. It will help your health care team take better care of you.
Make sure you set aside time to ask questions about safer sex, sexually transmitted diseases , or any other questions you might have. If you feel that you need help dealing with your feelings, ask about support groups or counseling.
Many people living with HIV ask their provider to talk with them and their partners about HIV and how it is transmitted. They can answer technical questions and address the specifics of your situation. If you live with someone, they may have questions about everyday contact as well as sexual contact.
Condoms Can Help Protect You
When used correctly and consistently, condoms can decrease the risk of HIV transmission during male-male intercourse, Henderson says. Figures from the CDC indicate that condoms reduce the risk of HIV transmission for the receptive partner by 73 percent, and for the insertive partner by 63 percent.
Using a condom during vaginal intercourse is especially effective at protecting against HIV transmission: When applied and used correctly, condoms can lower a womans risk of infection by 80 to 85 percent. However, given that condoms arent 100 percent effective, the CDC recommends taking additional precautionary steps.
The Reaction To Disclosure
People may have a variety of reactions when learning that someone they care about and are interested in sexually has HIV. They may be worried about your health or their own. They may be scared or angry. They may not know what they think.
Having reputable information about HIV available can help. A lot of people dont know what they dont know about the virus. They may be more concerned than they need to be, or less.
Although it can be difficult, sometimes a potential partner will need time to process the information about your HIV status. It may help to remember how long it took you to come to terms with your diagnosis and understand it when it is difficult to give them that space.
If you have any concerns about your safety when disclosing your HIV status to a potential partner, think carefully about whether that is someone with whom you really want to be sexually intimate.
If you dont know how they might respond, consider disclosing via phone or email, or in a public place, like a park, where the presence of onlookers may help people restrain a violent response.
Read Also: Can I Have Hiv Symptoms After 1 Week
Ways To Have Safer Sex With Hiv
If you have HIV, you can take these precautions to protect your partner:
Whats The Risk For Types Of Oral Sex
Oral sex ranks very low on the list of ways HIV can be transmitted. Its more likely to transmit HIV through anal or vaginal sex. Its also possible to transmit the virus by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs or tattooing.
However, the risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is not zero. The truth is, you can in theory still contract HIV this way. Theres just been from years of research to show that it has happened.
Why is it hard to get data?
Its difficult to know the absolute risk of transmitting HIV during oral sex acts. Thats because many sex partners who engage in oral sex of any type also engage in vaginal or anal sex. It may be difficult to know where the transmission occurred.
Fellatio carries some risk, but its low.
- If youre giving a blowjob. Receptive oral sex with a male partner who has HIV is considered exceptionally low-risk. In fact, a 2002 study found that the risk for HIV transmission through receptive oral sex was statistically zero.
- If youre receiving a blowjob. Insertive oral sex is an unlikely method of transmission, too. Enzymes in the saliva neutralize many viral particles. This may be true even if the saliva contains blood.
There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted between partners through cunnilingus .
Anilingus , or rimming, has some risk, but it is negligible. Its especially low for receptive partners. In fact, the lifetime risk of transmitting HIV during rimming is
Recommended Reading: Can Hiv Positive Become Negative
Use Condoms And Other Barrier Methods
Barrier methods, like condoms and dams, provide a, well, barrier. This can help prevent contact with bodily fluids during sex with someone living with HIV.
When used correctly, barriers can prevent transmission of HIV and other STIs.
Using enough lube can also help reduce the risk of HIV, too not to mention, make sex a helluva lot better.
Lube makes sex safer by helping with dryness and friction, which reduces the risk of tears that can allow the virus to enter the bloodstream. It can also lower the chance of a condom breaking.
Be sure to stick with water-based lubes, since lubes containing oil weaken latex and can result in the condom ripping.
Interpreting The Numberswhat Additional Information Needs To Be Provided
Some clients may see these numbers and think their risk of HIV transmission is low. Therefore, caution is needed when interpreting them. If these numbers are provided to clients, they should be accompanied by information that helps shed light on why the risk may be higher than it seems.
Transmission can occur after one exposure.
It is important to emphasize that a person could become infected from having unprotected sex once or a person could have unprotected sex many times and not become infected, regardless of how low or high the risk per exposure is.
A risk of 1% would mean that;an average;of one infection would occur if 100 HIV-negative people were exposed to HIV through a certain type of sex. It does not mean that a person needs to be exposed 100 times for HIV infection to occur.
These are estimates of average risk in the absence of biological factors that increase risk.
The numbers in the table;above are rough estimates. They are;averages;and do not represent the risk from all exposures to HIV through a certain type of sex.
The more exposures, the greater the risk.
Although the risk of HIV transmission from a single exposure may seem low to some people, this risk increases over multiple exposures. In other words, a person who is exposed to HIV more often has a greater overall risk of HIV transmission than someone who is exposed less often.
Don’t Miss: How Hiv Is Transmitted During Intercourse
Practicing Safe Sex When Both Partners Have Hiv
It’s natural to wonder if safe sex is unnecessary when you and your partner both have HIV. After all, if you don’t have to be concerned about transmitting HIV between each other, that’s one less thing to worry about at a time when your health is already at the forefront of your mind. So what’s the bottom line? Can you take safe sex off your to-do list?
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.
You May Like: Can You Contract Hiv From Someone Who Is Undetectable
Stay On Top Of Medications Including Art Prep And Pep
There are a few medications available that can help prevent the transmission of HIV:
- ART. A person living with HIV may take medication known as ART to help them stay healthy and prevent the transmission of HIV. Most people who take it as prescribed can lower their viral load to an undetectable level.
- PrEP. Short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP is a drug that someone who is HIV-negative can take to lower the risk of contracting HIV by as much as 99 percent .
- PEP.Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is a drug regimen that can help reduce the risk of HIV after a possible exposure when started within 72 hours.
How Do You Bring This Up To A Potential Partner
Talking HIV status and sex with a potential partner can be intimidating, because you cant predict how someone will react.
Even if they have some knowledge of HIV and safer sex, they might still be worried about having sex with someone living with HIV.
Here are some things that might help make the convo easier:
- Pick a time and place to talk where you can take your time without being interrupted.
- Be prepared with information on HIV treatments and prevention methods, so you can answer questions and direct them to resources.
- Talk to them about U=U and the precautions you can take to protect their health during sex.
- Be open to hearing what they have to say, and give them time to process the information.
- Be prepared for the possibility that they may react negatively or not want to move forward, and try not to take it personally. Their reaction is all their own.
There are several precautions you and your partner can take to prevent contracting or transmitting HIV through sexual activity.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Early Signs Of Hiv In Females
Can Herbal Medicine Cure Hiv
No. Some people choose to take alternative forms of medicine, such as herbal medicines, as a natural way of treating HIV. However, herbal remedies do not work.
Taking herbal medicines can be dangerous as they will not protect your immune system from infection. They may also interact poorly with antiretrovirals if you are taking them alongside treatment. The only way you can stay healthy when living with HIV is to take antiretroviral treatment as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional, and to attend viral load monitoring appointments to make sure your treatment is working.;
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 .
Also Check: How Can Hiv Be Cured
How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV infects;the immune system,;causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells;called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs.
Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it;to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
This process continues until eventually the number of CD4 cells, also called your;CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you’ll feel and appear well.;
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
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.
You May Like: Can You Get Hiv Through Semen
How Hiv Treatment Stops Hiv Being Passed On
- A person with HIV who is taking treatment and has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV.
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis is a course of HIV drugs taken by an HIV negative person to lower the chance of infection. When taken correctly, PrEP significantly reduces the chances of becoming HIV positive.
- Post-exposure prophylaxis is a month-long course of HIV medication taken by an HIV negative person after possible exposure to reduce the chance of getting HIV. When started in time, PEP can stop HIV infection after sex without a condom with someone who has a detectable viral load ;but it doesnt work every time.
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
Also Check: Where Does Hiv Originated From
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.
No Contraceptive Method Can Give You 100 Percent Protection Against Hiv
Written by Tania Tarafdar | Updated : November 28, 2017 10:47 AM IST
You should know that there is no contraception method that is 100 percent safe and prevent pregnancy or AIDS and condoms cannot guarantee protection either. According to sexologist Dr. V Raina, there is always a risk of transmission when you have sex with an HIV-positive person. While wearing a condom can reduce your chances of contracting STD, any condom failure like a breakage or a tear will only have you contracting HIV.
There are few reasons why a condom failure happens, the most common ones being wearing the wrong size condom or wearing it the wrong way. Apart from this, lack of lubrication in the vaginal area, using a condom that is way past its expiry date and using wrong lubricants can also lead to a tear. However, the way you wear it makes the most difference. So, be careful while wearing the condom. If you have taken care of the other parameters then you can minimise the risk by wearing it the right way. Here are diseases that affect people with HIV.
The same applies even if you are having oral sex. If there is a condom breakage and you have an open cut or lesion in your mouth, you may contract the disease.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Hiv To Turn Into Aids