Does Hiv Go Away
HIV doesnt go away on its own. It inserts itself into your DNA so your cells think that its a part of you. There can be many years without symptoms after initial infection, but HIV can still be damaging your immune system even if you dont feel sick.
There may be periods while on medication where the virus is not detectable by an HIV test. In these cases, HIV can be hiding in your body, undetected. It can wake up and start destroying your cells again in the future.
This is why continuing to take HIV medication, even if you dont feel sick or the virus is undetectable, is extremely important. Without treatment, HIV will weaken your immune system until you cant fight off other serious illnesses.
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.
Protecting Yourself From Hiv
Anyone who has sex without a condom or shares needles is at risk of HIV. The best way to prevent HIV is to use a condom for sex and to never share needles, syringes or other injecting equipment. Knowing your HIV status and that of your partner is also important.
Cuts, sores and bleeding gums increase the risk of spreading HIV so you should cover any cuts or sores before sex, or avoid sex until they are healed.
It is important to continue to practise safer sex even if you, and your sexual partner, both have HIV. This is because it is possible to expose yourself to a new strain of the virus that your medicine will not be able to control.
Further advice and information is available on the link below
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If I Have Hiv How Can I Keep From Spreading It To Others
The best ways to keep from spreading HIV to others are many of the same ways you use to protect yourself:
- Let sexual partners and anyone you inject drugs with know that you have HIV.
- Follow your treatment plan and dont miss medications. If you have an undetectable viral load, you greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
- Talk to your sexual partner about taking PrEP.
- Dont share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- If youre pregnant and have HIV, following your treatment plan, including ART medications, can reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to your child.
How Do I Take Care Of Myself With Hiv
The best way to take care of yourself while living with HIV is to follow your treatment plan.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed and on time.
- Show up to all appointments so your healthcare team can monitor how youre feeling and know if theres a need to adjust your treatment.
- Follow your healthcare providers recommendations on how to avoid additional illnesses.
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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.
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.
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.
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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 risk of HIV transmission may be much higher than these averages if biological risk factors are present. For example, research shows that STIs and some vaginal conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, can increase the risk of HIV transmission by up to 8 times.6,7,8 As a result, the risk of an HIV-negative woman becoming infected through unprotected receptive vaginal sex could be closer to 1% if she has a vaginal STI.
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.
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Can You Get Hiv From Kissing
Since HIV is not spread through spit, kissing is not a common way to get infected. In certain situations where other body fluids are shared, such as if both people have open sores in their mouths or bleeding gums, there is a chance you could get HIV from deep, open-mouthed kissing.
You also dont get HIV from:
- Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Public bathrooms or swimming pools.
- Sharing cups, utensils or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS.
- Donating blood.
How Does One Contract The Hiv Virus
There are three ways in which HIV infection can be transmitted from one person to another:
- Sexual intercourse with an HIV-infected person
- How does HIV get into the body during sexual intercourse
- Why are women more easily infected by HIV than men?
- Can one be infected with HIV through having oral sex?
- How many sexual contacts with an HIV-positive person are necessary before one becomes infected oneself?
- Is it true that circumcision can protect males against HIV infection?
- If I am HIV+, why should I still use a condom to protect myself?
- Transmitting HIV through contaminated blood
- How safe is our blood supply in South Africa?
- The danger of sharing contaminated needles
- The risk when one person has been accidentally exposed to the blood of an infected person?
- How long can the virus survive outside the body?
In our section on Transmitting HIV through contaminated bloodyou can learn more about this mode of transmission. Did you know that HIV can be transmitted by unsterile or dirty instruments used for circumcision? There are many other ways that HIV is transmitted though contaminated blood.The HI virus can be transmitted from one person to another when:
In our section on Mother-to-child transmission of HIV , we cover the following:
- How HIV is not transmitted
- Myths can be very dangerous
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Mother To Infant Transmission
It is possible for a mother who has HIV to pass the virus to her baby by exposure to blood and vaginal fluids during birth or through breast milk during feeding. The risk of transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or birth can be greatly reduced by taking certain HIV medications as prescribed.
For Intravenous Drugs Or Other Encounters With Needles
Sharing needles with other people or using unsterilized needles to take illegal or IV drugs can increase your chance of contracting HIV and other conditions like hepatitis.
Here are a few methods to lower your chance of contracting HIV if you inject needles into yourself.
7. Dont share needles
Never share needles with another person. You can contract HIV even doing this just one time.
8. Use sterilized needles
You should only inject yourself with sterilized needles. There are helpful ways to make sure your needles are clean. Make sure your needles are:
- from reputable sources like a pharmacies or medical suppliers
- sanitized with bleach
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People Unaware Of Having Hiv
Its estimated that about 1 in 7 people living with HIV in the United States dont know they have the virus.
People who are unaware that they have HIV are less likely to take precautions to avoid transmission to other people. They also likely dont take medications to suppress the virus.
If you dont currently have HIV, you can prevent your chances of infection by:
- discussing HIV and STIs with your partner before engaging in sexual activity
- using a barrier method every time you engage in sexual activity
- avoiding sharing needles
- talking with your doctor about postexposure prophylaxis if you may have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours
- getting tested for other STIs regularly or before engaging in sexual activity with a new partner
If you do have HIV, you can prevent transmitting it to others by:
- discussing HIV and STIs with your partner before engaging in sexual activity
- using a barrier method every time you engage in sexual activity
- taking your medications as prescribed
- avoiding sharing needles or drug injection equipment
- having your viral load tested regularly as recommended by your doctor
How Do You Get Hiv
sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
HIV is usually spread through having unprotected sex. Using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex and not sharing needles can help protect you and your partners from HIV. If you do have HIV, treatment can lower or even stop the chances of spreading the virus to other people during sex. If you dont have HIV, theres also a daily medicine called PrEP that can protect you from HIV.
HIV can also be passed to babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. A pregnant woman with HIV can take medicine to greatly reduce the chance that her baby will get HIV.
HIV isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get HIV from kissing, sharing food or drinks, or using the same fork or spoon. HIV is also not spread through hugging, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. And you cant get HIV from a toilet seat.
A long time ago, some people got HIV from infected blood transfusions. But now, giving or getting blood in medical centers is totally safe. Doctors, hospitals, and blood donation centers dont use needles more than once, and donated blood is tested for HIV and other infections.
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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 you’ll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
Other Types Of Hiv Risks
Another less-common way HIV is transmitted in the United States is needlestick injury. This typically happens when a health care worker is accidentally jabbed by a used needle or syringe that contains HIV-positive blood. Again, this is very rare.
Thirty years ago, blood transfusions and organ donations were an especially dangerous way that some people acquired HIV. Nowadays, donated blood and organs are routinely tested.
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Bites That Break The Skin
A bite that opens the skin and causes bleeding can lead to the transmission of HIV. However, according to the
goes up with increasing viral load.
Viral load is highest both during the early phase of HIV and without treatment with antiretroviral medications. Taking antiretroviral medications every day can reduce a persons viral load to very low levels that cannot be detected through testing.
In this way, antiretroviral medications are not only a treatment, but an important tool for prevention. When HIV cannot be detected in the blood, a person living with HIV cannot sexually transmit the virus to a partner without HIV.
This principle is called Undetectable = Untransmittable .
It can take up to 6 months of taking antiretroviral medications each day to achieve an undetectable viral load.
A persons viral load is said to be durably undetectable when all test results are undetectable for at least 6 months after the first undetectable result.
There are a couple reasons that STIs can raise HIV risk. First, the symptoms of many STIs include genital inflammation, sores, or ulcers. These can all increase the chance of transmitting the virus from one person to another.
Second, like HIV, transmission of STIs is associated with some of the same types of behaviors, such as engaging in sex without a condom or other barrier method.
Some research has also indicated that certain STIs may be more with HIV transmission than others. These STIs include:
Is There A Cure For Hiv
There is no cure for HIV, but there are medications that are highly effective at controlling it. If you are diagnosed with HIV it is vital to get treatment as soon as you can. Recent studies show starting treatment soon after diagnoses can reduce the risk of HIV related health complications by up to 50%.
Most people only take one or two pills a day which is a simple treatment regime compared to many illnesses. While there are still side effects, these can usually be managed with support from an HIV specialist doctor.
If left untreated, HIV can progress to AIDS, which is a life threatening syndrome.
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Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isn’t easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.