How To Be Safe When Coming Into Contact With Infected Blood
A condom will act as a barrier against any contact with blood during sex.
As well as sex, sharing equipment for injecting drugs is a way blood can get into someones body. This can be avoided by using fresh needles and not sharing needles, syringes and other equipment.
If a woman has HIV, her menstrual blood also carries a risk of transmission if she has a detectable viral load.
If youre HIV negative and taking pre-exposure prophylaxis youll be protected against getting HIV if you come into contact with infectious blood.
More On Hiv Transmission Risks At Thebodycom
To find out more about how HIV is passed on, we recommend the following articles:
In addition, our Q& A experts sometimes address questions about transmission risks in our “Ask the Experts” forums. Here are some of those questions and our experts’ responses:
- hiv survival outside of the body — divergence of opinionsI’ve seen many people say that the virus dies very quickly when exposed to air but I’ve found information elsewhere saying HIV can survive for 5-6 days outside the body in room temperature and drying does not affect its infectivity.
- How long does HIV survive outside the body?I recently touched a door handle that had urine on it. I got the fluid on my palms and I was wondering if you could catch HIV like that. I think the urine had been there for about six hours.
Vaccines Help The Immune System Kill Viruses
Viruses are very tricky things to handle. They create disease by using the hosts cellular machinery to reproduce. To eliminate them from the body, one has to kill the virus without harming the healthy cells around it.
Remember those vaccinations I mentioned earlier? They are a key line of defense to help our bodies ward off viral invasions. These vaccinations act as reminders for our bodies, in case we become exposed to the same virus again. Our immune systems destroy the virus by secreting chemicals that kill virus-infected cells, thereby preventing the virus from multiplying, and/or secreting antibodies that put a death signal on the virus so that immune cells, such as the macrophages, can come and kill it.
For example, one injection for measles will provide a lifetime of resistance if our body ever encounters the measles virus again!
However, if these vaccinations are so effective, why dont they work for all viruses?
Viruses and the ways they infect a cell are very diverse. Some viruses are easier to kill than others, either because they lack a strong defense against our immune system or because we managed to develop a strong enough vaccine to stimulate the immune system. However, many viruses are tricky because they are able to evade our vaccines.
How Long Does Hiv Survive Outside The Body
In general, the virus doesnât live long once itâs outside of a human body. Studies show that HIV grown in the lab, when placed on a surface, loses most of its ability to infect — 90% to 99% — within several hours. And the level of virus tested was much higher than whatâs found in bodily fluids. So contact with dried blood, semen, or other fluids poses little risk.
One study found HIV can live in used needles for over a month if the temperature and conditions are just right. That means sharing needles or syringes, like during drug use, raises your risk of infection.
How Long Can Hiv Survive Outside The Body
Once outside the body, HIV usually cant survive for very long. Coming into contact with blood or semen that has been outside the body doesnt generally pose a risk for HIV transmission.
Similarly, the risk of passing on HIV to someone else if you have a detectable viral load and cut yourself is also very low. Wash away any blood with soap and hot water and cover the wound with a sticking plaster or dressing.
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How Many Minutes Will Hiv Survive Outside The Body
If you’ve come into contact with some blood or other body fluid that you think might contain HIV, it’s understandable to have some concern about the possibility of HIV transmission. But you can rest assured that there haven’t been any cases of HIV transmission through casual contact with blood or semen that has left behind on a surface. There haven’t even been any cases after people have come across discarded syringes or needles.
This is partly because it’s extremely unusual for this situation to involve any opportunity for an infected body fluid to enter the person’s bloodstream — it does not reach a mucous membrane or an open wound.
So in practical terms, there’s little reason to worry about contact with body fluids that have already been outside a person’s body for some minutes.
There isn’t a simple, straightforward answer to the question of how long HIV survives outside the body. In certain, specific circumstances it may survive more than a few minutes. But it generally does not remain infectious and certainly does not pose a threat to people’s health.
The conditions that a body fluid is exposed to greatly affect survival. Air dries out the fluid, which contains the virus, greatly reducing viral amounts. On the other hand, in the enclosed space inside a used syringe the virus can survive some time — this explains why re-using needles and syringes is risky.
How Hiv Can Spread
The most common ways people contract HIV in the United States are through sharing equipment when injecting drugs and having anal or vaginal sex without barrier contraceptives. Anal sex poses a higher risk than vaginal sex, as there is a greater chance of tissue damage.
Although it is less common, HIV may pass to an infant during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
In extremely rare cases, HIV may spread if blood comes into contact with an open wound. There is a chance of this occurring if partners engage in open-mouth kissing, and both have bleeding gums or open sores within the mouth.
However, saliva that does not contain blood cannot transmit HIV. People cannot get HIV from closed-mouth or cheek kissing.
People can reduce or eliminate the chance of contracting HIV by using barrier contraceptives or taking preventive HIV therapy, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis .
PrEP is a pill that a person can take once a day to minimize the chance of contracting HIV. It may be helpful for those who:
- have a partner with HIV
- have a partner with an unknown HIV status
- have multiple partners
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How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
Is It Bad To Share A Razor With Your Mom
You shouldnt with someone else due to sanitary concerns. You can get nicked or cut while shaving, and if you use someone elses razor you are putting yourself at risk for infection and vice versa. Whats more, you may not know how long someone elses razor has been used.
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Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat 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
Myths About Hiv And Aids
- There are lots of myths around, but the facts of how you can get HIV, and how you can protect yourself, are very simple.
- One of the most common myths people living with HIV hear is that they can be cured. Theres no cure yet for HIV, but antiretroviral treatment works and will keep someone living with HIV healthy.
HIV can only be passed on from one person to another via the following bodily fluids:
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Can I Get Hiv From A Blood Transfusion
The blood supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world. Since March 1985, all blood and blood platelets in the U.S. have been screened for HIV using an HIV antibody test. This practice has virtually eliminated the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusion in the U.S. No other blood products are suspected of transmitting HIV.
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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- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
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Its Easy To Tell The Symptoms Of Hiv
The symptoms of HIV can differ from person-to-person and some people may not get any symptoms at all. Without treatment, the virus will get worse over time and damage your immune system over time. There are three stages of HIV infection with different possible effects.
Also, you also cant tell by looking at someone whether they have HIV or not. Many people don’t show signs of any symptoms. And, for people living with HIV who are on effective treatment, they are just as likely to be as healthy as everyone else.
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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Are Condoms Effective In Preventing Hiv Transmission
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that correct and consistent use of a latex barrier for protection during sex greatly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV. Condoms can protect the mouth, vagina, and rectum from HIV-infected semen. Latex, polyurethane, and polyisoprene condoms are effective condom materials as the virus cannot pass through them. Lambskin or natural condoms have pores small enough for HIV to pass through and do NOT prevent the spread of HIV. Using a water-based lubricant will also help in preventing condom breakage.
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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How Long Can Hiv Live Outside Of The Body
Human immunodeficiency virus has created such an intense fear of infection in some that it extends well beyond the fear of sexual transmission. In fact, some people remain convinced that you can get HIV by coming into contact with an object or surface on which there may be HIV-infected blood or semen.
After all, it would seem reasonable to suggest that the more blood or semen there is, the longer the virus can survive outside of the body. And, in turn, if the virus is able to survive, it surely has the potential to infect, right?
Where Did Hiv Come From
Since scientists first became aware of HIV in the early 1980s, they have explored how and where the disease originated. While there are many theories, the most scientifically supported theory has traced the roots of the most common type of HIV to a virus found in a subspecies of chimpanzees in Africa. It is now generally accepted that HIV is a descendant of this virus. It is believed that the virus was transferred to humans as a result of chimpanzees being killed and eaten or their blood getting into cuts or wounds of people during the hunting process.
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There Are Ways That One Can Contract Hiv And There Are A Number Of Ways Some Folks May Think They Can Get Hiv But They Won’t
To clear up the confusion: This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact and sexual contact.
You’re not at risk for contracting HIV simply by touching blood with intact skin. Washing your hands with detergent soap immediately following any potential blood contact should easily kill the virus.
In addition, there’s a risk that HIV infected pregnant women can pass the virus to their baby during pregnancy, delivery or through breast feeding.
Other body fluids that can transmit HIV to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals include spinal fluid joint fluid and amniotic fluid that surrounds a fetus.
According to extensive study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV does not survive well outside the body. In fact, HIV has to be grown in very large amounts to be studied in a lab setting outside the body.
As an example of just how fragile HIV is, consider this comparison: One milliliter of blood from a person with active hepatitis B may contain more than 100 million infectious particles. In a dried state, the hepatitis B virus may remain infectious for a week or more. One milliliter of blood from a person with HIV contains between a few hundred to approximately 10,000 infectious particles. Within a few hours, drying of the blood reduces the HIV viral amount by 90 percent to 99 percent.
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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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.