Sharing Food Drink Or Utensils
Speaking of mouths: Everything I just mentioned when explaining why kissing is not an HIV-transmission risk also applies to eating and drinking. That includes every type of normal food- or drink-sharing scenario you can think of, including splitting a plate of nachos, drinking from the same water bottle, and using the same fork when sharing a piece of cake.
The only documented cases of HIV transmission through food are extremely specific: They involve food that a person with HIV pre-chewed and then fed to an infant.
Needless to say, this is an extraordinarily rare eventonly a few cases have ever been recordedand they most likely involved blood entering the food due to the adult having poor oral hygiene.
So unless youre making like a mama bird and its chick, you can enjoy a meal or a drink with a person whos living with HIV and have zero concern that youre putting yourself at risk.
Myth : Abstinence And Condoms Are The Only Ways To Prevent Hiv
Abstinence was touted as a go-to way to prevent HIV transmission back in the 80s and 90s. And even today, that potential benefit is used as an argument for abstinence-only sex ed in schools, despite lots of evidence that those programs just dont work.
Not into the idea of a no-sex lifestyle? Condoms are another option. Research suggests they can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by as much as 95 percent every time you do the deed. Thats why condoms have been recommended as an HIV prevention tool for decades.
However, as of 2012, people got a new option for preventing HIV. Thats when the Food and Drug Administration OKd the first pre-exposure prophylaxis .
These meds offer people with known risk factors, like having sex with someone who has HIV or sharing needles for injectable drug use, a way to reduce their risk of contracting HIV by taking one pill per day.
And it works really well. When PrEP is taken as prescribed, it can slash a persons chances of getting HIV through sex by a whopping 99 percent, according to the CDC.
Myth : Theres No Treatment For Hiv
Sure, the early days of HIV and AIDS were grim, just given how little people knew about the virus and the condition.
But treatment has come a long way since the 80s. Today, antiretroviral medications can greatly reduce the amount of the virus in a persons body, often to the point that HIV no longer shows up on blood tests.
When that happens, the person has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to others. Plus, it helps prevent HIV from progressing.
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If I Have Sex With A Commercial Sex Worker Will I Get Hiv
Unprotected sex places you at a high risk of contracting the virus whether it is with a commercial sex worker or anybody else. Statistics from the Caribbean and several other parts of the world have shown that there is a higher prevalence or occurrence of HIV in commercial sex workers . Therefore by having unprotected sex with a commercial sex worker the risk of contracting HIV is high.
Can You Catch Hiv From Kissing
Although HIV can be detected in saliva, it can’t be passed to other people through kissing because a combination of antibodies and enzymes found naturally in saliva prevent HIV infecting new cells.
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Estimating The Risk Per Exposure
A satisfactory answer to the question, How high is the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex? has been notoriously elusive. Collecting reliable data is challenging for several reasons:
- Very few people report oral sex as their sole risk.
- If a person practises any other form of unprotected intercourse in addition to unprotected oral sex, any resulting HIV infection is usually attributed to the higher risk behaviour.
Many reports of oral transmission are in the form of isolated and anecdotal reports, rather than from observational cohorts or other studies with more rigorous follow-up.
Most cohort studies following men who only practiced oral sex, or serodiscordant couples, have tended to show very low levels of risk, in many cases approaching zero. A few studies have given higher estimates which are difficult to reconcile with the others.
A substance that acts against retroviruses such as HIV. There are several classes of antiretrovirals, which are defined by what step of viral replication they target: nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors protease inhibitors entry inhibitors integrase inhibitors.
Myth : Hiv Can Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex
OK, theres a teensy bit of truth behind this myth, but the chances of getting HIV by going down on someone are so low that the risk almost doesnt exist.
According to a 2013 research review, the risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex without a condom or other barrier method is about 0.04 percent.
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How Does Hiv Work
The full scientific name for HIV is human immunodeficiency virus. Its an infection that attacks the immune system, and it operates like this:
- The virus itself is shaped like a bowling ball covered in tiny spikes
- After HIV enters the bloodstream, it uses those tiny spikes to latch on to white blood cells , the bodys first line of defense against infections
- As soon as HIV gets inside white blood cells, it uses the cells own machinery to create copies of itself, creating effective camouflage that tricks the immune system into leaving it alone
- As HIV creates even more copies of itself, it hijacks a persons immune system
- A weakened immune system means that people living with untreated HIV may start to get all sorts of infections that would never normally make them sickEventually, without proper treatment, HIV leads to AIDS and becomes life-threatening
Todays anti-HIV medicines have been designed to address each stage of the infection process.
Some of these medications, which are also called antiretrovirals, stop HIVs spikes from latching on to CD4 cells. Others use different methods to stop HIV from replicating.
These drugs cant completely eradicate the virus from a persons body, but they do successfully stifle its ability to make copies of itself.
A Member Of My Family Or Close Friend Of Mine Has Hiv Am I Also At Risk
Although HIV has been transmitted between family members in a household setting, this type of transmission is extremely rare. These transmissions are believed to have resulted from contact between mucous membranes and infected blood. To prevent even such rare occurrences, precautions should be taken in all settings including the home to prevent exposure to the blood of persons who are HIV infected, at risk for HIV infection, or whose infection and risk status are unknown.
For example, gloves should be worn during contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, faeces, or vomit.
Cuts, sores, or breaks on both the caregivers’ and patients exposed skin should be covered with bandages. Hands and other parts of the body should be washed immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids.
Surfaces soiled with blood should be disinfected appropriately. Practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes, should be avoided.
Needles and other sharp instruments should be used only when necessary and handled according to recommendations for health care settings. .
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Is Deep Kissing A Route Of Hiv Transmission
Deep or open-mouthed kissing is a very low risk activity in terms of HIV transmission. HIV is only present in saliva in very minute amounts, insufficient to cause infection with HIV. There has been only one documented case of someone becoming infected with HIV through kissing a result of exposure to infected blood during open-mouthed kissing. If you or your partner have blood in your mouth, you should avoid kissing until the bleeding stops.
How Is Hiv Not Passed From One Person To Another
You may have just read the section above and thought to yourself: Wait, that seems like a really short list of ways HIV gets transmitted. What about mosquitoes? Blowjobs? Kissing? Sharing food or utensils?
As weve previously discussed in this guide, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about HIV transmission. At some point, people without HIV may worry they have been exposed to the virus. And when people get freaked out about their health, they tend to start scouring the internet for answers.
At TheBody, weve spent the past 25 years fielding questions about HIV exposure fears and talking with experts about the realities of HIV risk. So we know an awful lot about the HIV transmission concerns people tend to have in common.
These are the top five recurring fears about HIV transmission that are way, way more than theyre cracked up to be:
Lets break each of these down in more detail.
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Myth : You Cant Get Hiv If Youre On Birth Control
The pill might protect you from an unwanted pregnancy, but its no match for HIV. Same goes for other types of birth control, like IUDs, patches, and rings.
If you want to get down without risking HIV transmission, your best bet is to use a condom or other barrier method or PrEP.
Nope, swapping spit doesnt spread HIV . Feel free to hold hands, hug, and share a soda while youre at it.
HIV can be transmitted only through:
Saliva doesnt carry enough traces of the virus to worry about, and research as far back as the mid- to late 80s has found that kissing is not a risk factor for transmission of HIV.
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 Is Hiv Not Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Mosquitoes, ticks, or other insects
- Saliva, tears, sweat, feces, or urine that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
- Other sexual activities that dont involve the exchange of body fluids .
Can Kissing An Hiv Positive Person Cause An Hiv Infection
No, HIV cannot spread through kissing.
HIV can be found in very small amounts in saliva. But there are proteins and enzymes in saliva which reduce how infectious the virus is. This makes it impossible for HIV to spread through kissing.
If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 3 days , contact your local sexual health clinic to get post-exposure prophylaxis . PEP can stop the infection if you take it within 72 hours.
If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, but it was more than 3 days ago, wait for 7 weeks after the sex before taking a test. Before 7 weeks, the test won’t be accurate. During this time you should not have sex or use a condom when you have sex.
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What We Know About Kissing
Theres no chance of getting HIV from closed-mouth or social kissing, and you cant get HIV through saliva. In some very rare cases, people have gotten HIV from deep, open-mouth French kissing because they and their partners had blood in their mouths from bleeding gums or sores . But the chance of getting HIV from deep, open-mouth kissing is much lower than from most other sexual activities.
Myth : Theres A Cure For Hiv
While antiretroviral therapy can substantially reduce the amount of HIV in a persons blood, its not a cure. If an HIV-positive person suddenly stops taking their meds, the amount of virus in their blood can skyrocket.
Even skipping doses of the meds can allow HIV to change form and potentially become resistant to the drugs, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The key to living well with HIV and avoiding transmission to others is to get treatment as early as possible and take those meds daily as prescribed.
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How To Prevent Hiv
The best way to keep yourself free from HIV infection is through safe sex. If you have a sexually active lifestyle, the tips below might help you to prevent getting infected:
Be monogamous. Having one sexual partner will lower your chance of being an HIV-positive person. Once you and your partner are done getting tested for HIV and STIs, protect yourselves by staying faithful with one another.
Use condoms. Wearing condoms during sex will ensure that you are safe from infections and sexually transmitted diseases. This should be a practice for male-female and male-male intercourse.
Tips To Avoid Hiv Transmission
To prevent the spread of HIV, follow these guidelines:
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse
- Never share needles and syringes
- Avoid multiple sexual partners
- Use lubricant during sexual intercourse to reduce friction and dryness which can cause vaginal tears and broken condoms.
- Speak to your doctor about PrEP , if you believe you are at high risk of exposure. PrEP is a daily medication used to help prevent HIV.
- Speak to your doctor about taking post-exposure prophylaxis if you think you’ve just been exposed to the virus. PEP is a type of antiretroviral medication that help prevent HIV if started within 72 hours after you might have been exposed to the virus.
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When Is The Risk Higher
HIV is more likely to pass to others during the early stages of the infection.
Some factors that increase the risk of transmission include:
- sores or cuts in the mouth
- bleeding gums or gum disease
- contact with menstrual blood
- the presence of any other sexually transmitted infection
- the presence of a throat infection
- damage to the lining of the throat or mouth
Is There Any Hiv Risk From A Nude Body
If all you had was a massage, with no penetrative intercourse or other high-risk activity, there is absolutely no reason to be concerned about HIV.
So if the massage involved penetrative sex without a condom, an infectious body fluid might have contact with mucus membranes in the genital area. But if it was just massage, there’s no way for an infectious body fluid to enter the bloodstream.
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What You Can Do
Not having sex is a 100% effective way to make sure you dont get or transmit HIV through sex. If youre sexually active, you can lower your risk for HIV by choosing sexual activities that carry a lower risk for HIV than vaginal sex. You can also do other things to reduce your risk, including taking medicine to prevent or treat HIV and using condoms the right way, every time. Condoms and medicine to prevent or treat HIV are highly effective at preventing HIV if used correctly. But the medicines are much less effective if you dont take them as prescribed, and condoms can sometimes break or come off during vaginal sex. Using a water-based lubricant can help prevent condoms from breaking or slipping.
Talking openly and frequently with your partner about sex can help you make decisions that may decrease your risk of getting or transmitting HIV. Learn more about how to get the conversation started.
- When was the last time you had an HIV test and what was the result of that test?
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Before having sex for the first time, you and your partner may want to get tested for HIV and learn the results. Be aware that theres a window period, which is the time between when a person gets HIV and when most HIV tests will show that a person has it. If you have sex before you learn your test results, using a condom the right way every time you have sex can lower your risk for getting or transmitting HIV.
How Hiv Is Spread
The virus can also be spread through sharing needles, and it can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
But steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of HIV being passed on to a baby, making transmission in this way rare in the UK.
For example, the risk of transmission can be reduced by:
- giving antiretroviral medicine to a mother and her newborn baby
- giving birth by caesarean section
- not breastfeeding
You cannot catch HIV from:
- giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
- being sneezed on by someone with HIV
- sharing baths, towels or cutlery with someone with HIV
- swimming in a pool that’s been used by someone with HIV
- sitting on a toilet seat that someone with HIV has sat on
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