What Is The Risk Of Getting Hiv
One of the most common questions I am asked is
How big is the risk of be getting HIV from”
with being a particular sexual act.
Today I want to explain how doctors evaluate risk when it comes to potential exposures to HIV.
Saliva is not a risk for transmitting HIV as it contains emzymes that kill HIV.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Needles
HIV isnt transmitted only through sexual contact. Sharing needles also puts a person at higher risk of contracting HIV.
When a needle is injected into a persons body, it breaks the skin barrier. If the needle has already been injected into another person, it can carry traces of their blood, along with any infections they have. The contaminated needle can introduce these infections into the second persons body.
Researchers dont know if having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, but its reasonable to assume it may provide some risk reduction.
HIV can affect anyone. Whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. But due to socioeconomic factors, some demographic groups have higher HIV transmission rates and generally are more affected by HIV.
According to the CDC , the general demographic traits most affected by HIV are:
Transgender women are also highly impacted by HIV transmissions as a population, reports the CDC .
These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV, but they arent inherently at greater risk of contracting HIV. An individuals personal risk depends on their behaviors, not on their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or any other demographic factor.
You Cant Get Hiv From:
- Sneezing or coughing
- Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands
- Sharing gym equipment or a restroom
- Sharing a pool or hot tub
- Pets or bug bites
Undetectable = Untransmittable is an incredible scientific advancement that will help end the HIV epidemic. People living with HIV who take their medication as prescribed can effectively eliminate the risk of passing it to their partners.
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A Condom Or Barrier Was Used
Breathe. As long as the barrier was used properly and didnt rip or slip off during sex, youre probably good.
Barrier methods like condoms are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections , making it highly unlikely that your tip-dip or even full-on pound-fest would result in infection.
How To Know For Sure Whether You Are Pregnant
There is only one way to conclusively tell if you are pregnant. That is to take a pregnancy test
Most pregnancy tests can be taken by two weeks after having sexual intercourse.
Pregnancy tests work by monitoring the HCG in your body. This is a pregnancy hormone that is only present when you are pregnant. For this reason, if you tested positive, its fairly certain you are pregnant. If you tested negative, you may still be pregnant if you tested too early or at the wrong time of day, because the concentration of HCG increases slowly as the pregnancy develops.
Most tests work in such a way that either one or two lines or dots should appear. The first line is a control to make sure the test is working and the second line or dot indicates pregnancy.
If you are testing early its advisable to take the test first thing in the morning when levels of HCG in the urine are more concentrated. You can take the test at any time of day but in early pregnancy, this may result in a false negative.
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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 youll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
Literature Search And Review
Second, we conducted a literature search to identify data published after the publications noted above. We searched for human studies published in English language only between 1 January 2008 and 22 February 2012 within the following databases: Medline , Embase , CINAHL , Web of Science, Global Health, and the Cochrane Library. We used the following search string: and and . We highlighted data from developed regions to more closely reflect the US epidemic this strategy was consistent with that used for the relevant meta-analyses, which did not pool data from developed and developing countries due to heterogeneity among studies, except for the per-act HIV-transmission risk from parenteral exposures, which is less geographically dependent. We used the results of this literature search to ensure that the above-mentioned meta-analyses were up to date. For the exposures for which there were no recent reviews or meta-analyses, we reviewed the literature cited in CDCâs last summary and the 2011 British Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Guidelines . We also contacted subject matter experts to ascertain whether other studies or unpublished data of which we were unaware existed.
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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.
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How Well Does Prep Work
PrEP is very effective when you take it every day. It reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. In people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk of HIV by more than 70%. PrEP is much less effective if you do not take it consistently.
PrEP does not protect against other STDs, so you should still use latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
You must have an HIV test every 3 months while taking PrEP, so youll have regular follow-up visits with your health care provider. If you are having trouble taking PrEP every day or if you want to stop taking PrEP, talk to your health care provider.
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Is There Anything You Can Do To Prevent Other Forms Of Transmission
Blood-to-blood contact between people sharing drug equipment like needles and syringes is the most common nonsexual form of HIV transmission.
If youre injecting drugs recreational or medical always use clean equipment. Dispose of needles and other paraphernalia properly to avoid accidental needle sticks and exposure.
Though the risk is low, its possible to contract HIV from contaminated tattooing and piercing equipment. Avoid home tattoos and piercings and stick with a reputable studio that follows proper sterilization practices.
Potential exposure to HIV can be stressful for all involved. Finding someone to talk with about your concerns and getting support can help.
Talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional if you or your partner needs help with:
- HIV and other STI testing
- treatment and prevention drugs
How Can You Prevent Getting Or Transmitting Hiv Through Sex
If you have HIV, the most important thing you can do to prevent transmission and stay healthy is to take HIV medicine exactly as prescribed. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex. This is sometimes called HIV treatment as prevention or undetectable = untransmittable . There also are other options to prevent transmitting HIV, below.
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Chances Of Getting An Std From One Unprotected Encounter
Its understandable to wonder about the odds of getting an STD, including from a one night stand or other unprotected encounter. You might wonder whether its really such a big deal to have unprotected sexual contact. Of course, this is probably more of a concern for you if you recently had an unprotected encounter and are now unsure of whether you could have been exposed to an STD. Even if the person you were with didnt say anything about having an STD, its reasonable to wonder about the odds of catching an STD from that one encounter you had.
While it wont necessarily happen, it only takes one time coming in contact with an infected person to acquire a sexually transmitted disease. STDs can be spread from person to person through body fluids and/or skin contact, depending on the type. Because of this, the odds of catching an STD are high from just one time. You only need to come in contact with that infection to get it. The risk goes up from unprotected sex with multiple partners, but its still there from one partner and one encounter.
Even from having unprotected sexual intercourse one time, you have about a 30 percent chance of getting gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis from someone whos infected. So you can see that the chances of STD from one encounter are not 100 percent but that there are pretty good odds of getting one from just one time without protection.
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
- contact with animals or insects like mosquitoes
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Are Hiv Medicines Used At Other Times To Prevent Hiv Transmission
Yes, HIV medicines are also used for post-exposure prophylaxis and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV.
- Post-exposure prophylaxis PEP means taking HIV medicines within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent HIV infection. PEP should be used only in emergency situations. It is not meant for regular use by people who may be exposed to HIV frequently. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Post-Exposure Prophylaxis .
- Prevention of perinatal transmission of HIVPregnant women with HIV take HIV medicines for their own health and to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV. After birth, babies born to women with HIV receive HIV medicine to protect them from infection with any HIV that may have passed from mother to child during childbirth. For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on Preventing Perinatal Transmission of HIV.
Probability Of Getting Hiv From One Encounter
You have much higher odds of getting HIV from a blood transfusion than from unprotected sex. Nonetheless, unprotected sex definitely comes with risk and can cause you to get HIV from just one time with an infected person. How likely is it to get HIV from one encounter? The odds of getting HIV from vaginal sex to the female are 1 in 1,250 in high-income countries and 1 in 333 in low-income countries. For men, its 1 in 2,500 in high-income countries and 1 in 263 in low-income countries.
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Internal And External Review
The results presented here were vetted with CDC scientists as the project progressed. This internal iterative process included a critical review of the study design and statistical approach of each peer-reviewed publication upon which our new estimates relied as well as of our decision to present summary estimates from published meta-analyses. Our preliminary new estimates were critically reviewed by subject matter experts external to CDC , each of whom signed a nondisclosure agreement to ensure confidentiality.
Hiv: How Its Not Transmitted
The following are nine ways the virus is not spread:
Kissing and touching. Social kissing and hugging pose no risk of transmission, Sha says. Also, being sexual with someone without exchanging infected body fluids does not spread the virus. The only time deep kissing is a risk is when the person infected with HIV has open sores or oral bleeding, Sha notes.
Sharing a living space. Any casual contact with someone who has HIV, including sharing a bathroom, is safe. However, Sha tells patients not to share razor blades or toothbrushes. If someone who is infected nicks himself while shaving or has bleeding gums, it could increase risk of transmission.
Sharing food or utensils. The virus cannot survive on surfaces, so sharing utensils and other household items will not spread HIV. You can even share a meal with someone who is infected without worry. Transmission has been associated with mothers pre-chewing food for their babies, when infected blood from the mouth mixes with the food. Known as pre-mastication, it is a common practice in Africa, but not typically done in the United States, Sha says.
Saliva, sweat, or tears. An infected persons saliva, sweat, and tears do not put you at risk.
Water fountains. Sipping from a water fountain after someone who has HIV used it is considered casual contact and will not lead to transmission.
Mosquitoes and other insects. The virus is not viable in insects or ticks, Sha says.
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Stay On Top Of Medications Including Art Prep And Pep
Weve come a long way in HIV treatment and prevention, and some drugs can help you reduce the risk of transmission if youre living with HIV or are having sex with someone who is.
Talk with a medical professional about:
- ART: Antiretroviral therapy helps a person living with HIV stay healthy by lowering the viral load. Most people who take it as prescribed can lower their viral load to an undetectable level, so they cant transmit the virus to others.
- PrEP: A person whos HIV-negative significantly reduces their risk of contracting HIV by taking PrEP consistently.
- PEP: In the event of potential exposure to HIV, PEP is available for emergency use. It can help prevent HIV infection if started within 72 hours of exposure.
The Chance Of Hiv Transmission Through Needles: With Blood Transfusion Needle Sharing And Needle Prick
This table shows the chance of contracting HIV by means other than sex. Please note the much higher likelihood of getting HIV through needle sharing.
|1 transmission per 500 exposures||1 transmission per 160 exposures|
Get treated and/or tested for HIV
Same day treatment and testing
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I Think Ive Been Exposed To Hiv Can I Still Prevent Hiv Infection
There may be times when you have a high-risk exposure to HIV and you cannot or did not protect yourself. For example:
- The condom slipped or broke during use.
- Your partner has HIV and you usually use condoms, but didnt the last time you had sex.
- Rape or a sexual assault.
- You shared a needle to shoot drugs with someone and you are not sure if he or she has HIV.
- You know that the person with whom you shared needles or had unprotected sex has HIV.
- Go to a hospital emergency room or health care setting right away so that you can get all of the care you need. Women can also get emergency birth control to prevent pregnancy. Medicaid and Medicare pay for PEP for rape and sexual assault survivors. The Crime Victims Board may also pay for PEP, call 1-800-247-8035. TTY: 1-888-289-9747, Monday Friday 9:00AM 5:00PM.If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, call the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 1-800-942-6906. TTY: 1-800-655-1789.
In these cases, if you seek medical care right away, you may be able to take medicines that may help you from getting infected with HIV. This is called
PEP has been used for people who come in contact with HIV by accident like a nurse getting stuck by a used needle. Now, PEP can be used for more than just on-the-job accidents. Sometimes this is called nPEP. The n in nPEP stands for non-occupational which means that you did not get exposed to HIV at work. PEP is only for people who were just exposed to HIV and do not already have it.
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:
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.
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