Strategies To Reduce Risk
As with any other mode of HIV transmission, prevention requires a combination of strategies to more effectively:
- Reduce the infectivity of the HIV-positive partner
- Reduce the susceptibility of the HIV-negative partner
Current evidence has shown that the consistent use of antiretroviral therapy in the HIV-infected partner completely eliminates the risk of HIV transmission when viral activity is suppressed to undetectable levels.
The effectiveness of the strategy known as Treatment as Prevention , is evidenced by the PARTNER1 and PARTNER2 studies in which not a single HIV infection occurred among 1,770 gay and heterosexual mixed-status couples despite engaging condomless anal or vaginal sex.
The studies, which ran from 2010 to 2018, showed unequivocally that undetectable equals untransmittable in a real-world setting.
The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis , whereby the uninfected partner is prescribed a daily dose of the HIV drug Truvada, can also reduce risk. Studies have shown that when taken daily, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%.
Although these figures may suggest that condoms are no longer needed, neither TasP nor PrEP can prevent other sexually transmitted diseases.
Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , only 59.8% of Americans with HIV are able to achieve an undetectable viral load. Without complete viral suppression, TasP is rendered useless, placing the uninfected partner at risk.
How Do I Protect Myself From Hiv
There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from HIV, including:
- using a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex
- in some countries PrEP is available. This is a course of HIV drugs which if taken consistently as advised by your healthcare professional prevents HIV infection through sex
- avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- taking HIV treatment if you are a new or expectant mother living with HIV, as this will dramatically reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
- asking your healthcare professional if the blood product you are receiving has been tested for HIV
- taking precautions if you are a healthcare worker, such as wearing protection , washing hands after contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and safely disposing of sharp equipment
- if you think you have been exposed to HIV you may be able to access PEP, a 4-week course of ARV drugs taken after possible HIV exposure to prevent HIV infection. You must start PEP within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
For more detailed information on how to prevent HIV infection visit the relevant page from the listed below:
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.
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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.
What You Need To Know About The Links Between Hiv And Stds
Many people think that STDs are a harmless “fact of life.” Since most STDs can be cured, people think, “Doctors give you medicine and that’s the end of it, right?” Well, not quite! Having an STD can increase your chances of getting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
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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.
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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What About Sexually Transmitted Infections
It is important to remember that while HIV treatment will protect your partners from your HIV, it does not protect them or you from other sexually transmitted infections . For this reason, regular sexual health check-ups are recommended. Using condoms will help prevent STIs.
Another concern is whether having a STI could lead to an increase in viral load. This does happen to people with HIV who are not taking treatment: for instance, syphilis can double your viral load. HIV-negative partners are also more likely to get HIV if they have an STI.
But it is not the case for people taking HIV treatment who have an undetectable viral load. In the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, there was not a single HIV transmission even though many people had STIs.
If you maintain good adherence to HIV treatment, catching an STI will not raise your viral load from undetectable to detectable. Effective treatment prevents sexual transmission of HIV even if there are other STIs present.
Whats The Short Answer
Yes, its possible to get HIV from putting the tip in. And that can be from putting the tip of a penis into the butt, vagina, or mouth.
The risk of getting HIV from the tip varies between the body parts and other factors, like whether youre the one giving or receiving said tip, if one or both parties are taking HIV meds, and more.
Lets break down some common scenarios to help you gauge your risk.
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What Are The Chances Of Becoming Infected If He Doesnt Ejaculate Inside Me
While research suggests that high concentrations of HIV can sometimes be detected in precum, it is difficult to judge whether HIV is present in sufficient quantities for infection to occur. To guard against the possibility of infection with HIV or any other STI it is best to practice safer sex by using condoms.
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
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How Safe Is Oral Sex
Although it is possible to become infected with HIV through oral sex, the risk of becoming infected in this way is much lower than the risk of infection via unprotected sexual intercourse with a man or woman.When giving oral sex to a man a person could become infected with HIV if infected semen came into contact with damaged and receding gums, or any cuts or sores they might have in their mouth.
Giving oral sex to a woman is also considered relatively low risk. Transmission could take place if infected sexual fluids from a woman got into the mouth of her partner. The likelihood of infection might be increased if there is menstrual blood involved or if the woman is infected with another sexually transmitted disease.
The likelihood of either a man or a woman becoming infected with HIV as a result of receiving oral sex is extremely low, as saliva does not contain infectious quantities of HIV.
Be Aware Of Potential Symptoms For Hiv And Other Stis
Being in the know about potential STI symptoms is important for anyone whos sexually active.
See a healthcare professional if you notice any of these:
- unusual discharge from the anus, penis, or vagina
- unusual vaginal bleeding, like bleeding after sex or between periods
- burning or pain when peeing
- frequent or urgent need to pee
- sores, bumps, or blisters on or around your genitals or anus
- rash on or around your genitals or anus
- genital itching
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
Dr Dutt says most people with HIV experience a short illness with flu-like symptoms. This normally occurs 2-6 weeks after HIV infection and can last for a couple of weeks.
“Once these symptoms eventually disappear, you might not notice any symptoms for many years, even though the virus can continue to damage your immune system.
“This ultimately means that many people with HIV won’t realise they’re infected, unless they get tested for it,” she explains.
Other symptoms of HIV besides flu include:
- Swollen lymph nodes around the neck and groin.
- Skin rashes.
Are Certain Activities Higher Risk
Yep. Penis-in-anus and penis-in-vagina sex are higher risk activities.
Penis-in-anus sex is the riskiest type of sex for contracting or transmitting HIV. The risk is higher for the receptive partner, sometimes referred to as the bottom.
This is because the rectums lining is very thin. Tiny abrasions give infected bodily fluids direct access to the bloodstream.
The risk is slightly lower for the insertive partner, or top, though they can still contract HIV. The virus can enter the body through the urethra, the foreskin , or any open sores or tiny scratches on the penis.
A person with a vagina can contract HIV from unprotected sex when the virus enters the body through the mucus membranes lining the vagina and cervix.
The partner with the penis contracts it from blood or vaginal fluid that enters the body through the urethra, foreskin, or small cuts or open sores on the penis.
This involves the mother with HIV taking ART as prescribed all through pregnancy and childbirth, as well as giving the baby HIV medicine for 4 to 6 weeks after birth.
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Blood Transfusions And Organ Donation
The risk of contracting HIV from a blood transfusion, other blood products, or organ donation is now extremely rare in the United States. All donated blood or blood products in the United States are tested for several types of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV.
Blood donations that test positive for HIV are safely discarded and dont enter the blood supply. The risk of HIV transmission during a blood transfusion is conservatively estimated to be
, there are no known instances of HIV being transmitted by receiving a tattoo or piercing. However, its technically possible for transmission to occur if equipment or ink is reused or shared.
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.
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Now That I Have Hiv I Cant Have Kids
You may be able to safely have children. Doctors can help you take steps to lower — or remove — the chance that youâll pass the virus to your partner during conception. If you’re pregnant, your doctor will give you HIV drugs to protect you and your baby. The baby may also be given medication after birth.
What We Know About Hiv Testing
About 1 in 7 people in the United States who have HIV dont know they have it. Getting an HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status. HIV testing is easier, more available, and more accurate than ever. There are three types of HIV tests available in the United States some can detect HIV sooner than others.
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How Do I Explain This To A Sexual Partner
If you have sexual partners who are not living with HIV, explaining U=U to them is likely to be mutually beneficial. If you had previously relied on other means of preventing HIV transmission , you may jointly decide that these methods are no longer necessary because of U=U.
It may take some time for an HIV-negative partner to accept the U=U message and to rely on it as the sole method of preventing HIV. Some HIV-negative people may reject the message or deny its accuracy. It may be helpful to direct your partner to information resources that explain the accuracy and significance of U=U. NAM has also produced a page for people who dont have HIV to help them understand the impact of an undetectable viral load on HIV transmission.
Another option could be for your partner to hear about U=U from a healthcare worker or another reliable and trusted source.
Despite sharing this information, some people may still not accept that U=U. In this kind of situation, it is important to find a balance between providing your partners with information and taking care of yourself.
Many people find it difficult to talk about sex, even with the person who is closest to them. If this is the case, you might want to discuss your concerns with someone at your HIV clinic, sexual health clinic or a support organisation. This can help you clarify your thoughts and what youd like to say.
Does U=u Apply To The Non
This page is about HIV transmission during sex.
But an undetectable viral load is also crucial for conception, pregnancy and birth. If you maintain an undetectable viral load during pregnancy, the risk of HIV being passed on to your baby is just 0.1%, or one in a thousand.
During breastfeeding, an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, although it does not completely eliminate this possibility. In the UK and other countries where clean water and sterilising equipment are available, bottle feeding with formula milk is the safest way to feed your baby.
If you use injection drugs and or other equipment, taking HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, but we dont know by how much.
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Hiv And Stds Are Spread In The Same Ways
You can get HIV or an STD by having sex without a condom with a person who is already infected. HIV and some STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby while she is pregnant, during birth or through breast feeding. HIV and some STDs can also be spread by sharing drug “works” with someone who has HIV or an STD.
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.
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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.