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:
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
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Hiv
- Get tested for HIV. Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex. Use this testing locator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find an HIV testing location near you.
- Choose less risky sexual behaviors. HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or without taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV.
- Use condoms every time you have sex. Read this fact sheet from CDC on how to use condoms correctly.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with poorly controlled HIV or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease . Both of these factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
- Get tested and treated for STDs. Insist that your partners get tested and treated, too. Having an STD can increase your risk of getting HIV or spreading it to others.
- Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis . PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who don’t have HIV but who are at risk of getting HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day to reduce the risk of getting HIV through sex or injection drug use. For more information, read the ClinicalInfo fact sheet on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis .
- Don’t inject drugs. But if you do, use only sterile drug injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others.
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Rates Of Three Major Sexually Transmitted Diseases Appear To Be At Their Highest
Rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis went up in 2016, the third year in a row, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recently released annual report on sexually transmitted diseases.
In total, more than 2 million cases of these three bacterial STDs were reported in the U.S. last year, the highest number ever, according to the CDC report. A majority of the cases1.6 millionwere chlamydia.
Chlamydia infections rose by 4.7 percent in one year, gonorrhea by 18.5 percent, and syphilis by 17.6 percent.
While these conditions can usually be cured with antibiotics, according to the CDC, if left untreated they can lead to serious health consequences, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, stillbirth, and increased risk of HIV transmission.
A question thats arisen is whether the CDC statistics reflect a true escalation in infections.
Better reporting may play a role, notes Philip Chan, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University and medical director at the Rhode Island STD Clinic at The Miriam Hospital in Providence. But a lot of us suspect there is a real increase as well.
What might be causing a genuine increase isn’t clear at this point. People could be using fewer condoms and having more partners, says Chan, who adds that researchers dont yet have a lot of evidence that condom use is falling.
As we await additional data, here’s what to know to protect yourself and those you love from STDs.
Hepatitis: How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus . The virus interferes with the functions of the liver and causes pathological damage. A small percentage of infected people cannot get rid of the virus and become chronically infected these people are at higher risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
HBV is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person the same way as the human immunodeficiency virus . However, HBV is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
The main ways of getting infected with HBV are:
- from mother to baby at the birth
- from child-to-child
- unsafe injections and transfusions
- unprotected sexual contact.
Worldwide, most infections occur from mother-to-child, from child-to-child , and from reuse of unsterilized needles and syringes. Before the widespread use of the hepatitis B vaccine, almost all children in developing countries used to become infected with the virus.
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How Do You Know If You Have Hiv
HIV often has no symptoms, so the only way to know whether or not you have HIV is to get tested.
If you dont know your HIV status, get an HIV test. If your test is positive, you can begin taking HIV treatment that will help you stay healthy and prevent passing HIV to others. If your test is negative, you have lots of prevention strategies to choose from to help you stay negative.
When you get tested for HIV, you can also get tested for sexually transmitted infections and other infections such as hepatitis C. Talk to a healthcare provider about how often you should test.
You can get an HIV test from your family doctor or find another place to get a test in your area by checking HIV411.ca.
Dont Inject Drugs But If You Do Dont Share Equipment
Anytime you share a needle with someone, whether youre injecting steroids, hormones, or drugs, youre at risk of HIV and other blood infections. And its not just the needle and syringe that can transmit the virus you can also get HIV by sharing the water thats used to clean the equipment or reusing filters and other containers. Thats because the equipment or water could contain blood and, therefore, the virus itself.
The best thing you can do if you use drugs is to seek treatment. For example, if you use heroin, joining a methadone program could help you manage your addiction without the use of needles, lowering your risk of HIV.
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When Someone You Know Has Hiv
When someone in your family tests positive for HIV, you may feel a range of emotions. Among fear, confusion, regret and love for the person afflicted, you may also feel afraid for your own personal well-being and may have questions about just how contagious HIV may be. Rest assured that people with HIV can live at home and maintain a normal social life. Since the virus is not spread by casual household contact, family members, roommates, and visitors are not at risk of becoming infected.
The following information is provided to clarify what should and should not be done in living with someone with HIV. You will see that most of it is just good hygiene practices.
Hand washing is an effective way to prevent the spread of any germs. Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. This is to protect both the infected and uninfected family members remember that a person living with HIV may have a weak immune system and therefore may be more likely to catch any type of infection from another person. They, too, are vulnerable.
Personal Articles such as toothbrushes, razors and razor blades should not be shared among household members. These may become soiled with blood and could spread germs that may cause many illnesses.
Wash dishes in hot soapy water. No special precautions are necessary. There is no need to wash separately the dishes used by the infected person.
How To Know Im At Risk Of Having Hiv
It is recommended to consult a doctor and get tested for persons, their spouses and children if they:
- Have multiple sexual partners.
- Complain of Sexually-Transmitted Infections .
- Use unsterile or shared needles .
- Had a contaminated blood transfusion.
- Were sexually assaulted or raped.
- Were born to mothers with HIV.
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Stay Away From Illegal Drugs
Youâre at high risk for HIV if you share needles or syringes with others. The safest thing to do is to not share needles. Use only new, sterile needles. Some drugstores even sell them without a prescription. If you canât get fresh needles, you can clean used needles with bleach, but you still have a chance of getting HIV from them. Though injected illegal drugs are the most dangerous, any type of recreational drug use can raise your risk. This is because they lower your inhibitions and make it more likely youâll have unprotected sex. This raises your chances of getting HIV. If you do use drugs, always carry condoms.
What Is The Risk Of Getting Hiv Hepatitis B Or Hepatitis C
The risk of getting HIV, hepatitis B or C depends on the amount of virus in the blood or body fluid and the type of contact. For example, a piercing through the skin poses a greater risk than a splash on the skin.
The emergency department health care provider will tell you whether your exposure puts you at risk of these infections.
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Work Practices To Prevent Infection
If your assignments require you to perform CPR, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, administer first aid, or clean up after an accident, protective measures need to be taken to prevent an exposure to infectious materials.
Protect yourself by following these steps:
What About Oral Sex
The best way to reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV while performing oral sex is to maintain good oral hygiene. That, in addition to not flossing or brushing your teeth right before or after performing oral sex, will also reduce the risk of transmission.
Performing Oral Sex on a Woman When performing oral sex on a woman, a dental dam or common kitchen plastic wrap can be used as a barrier to protect from HIV transmission. It covers the area you are performing oral sex on . If you do not have a dental dam, you can also use a new, unused, non-lubricated or flavored condom by stretching it out and cutting it down the side, then stretching it out in the same way you would a dental dam or plastic wrap.
Performing Oral Sex on a Man In addition to good oral hygiene, proper use of a non-lubricated or flavored condom on a man can significantly decrease risk of HIV transmission. If a condom is not available or an option, not accepting semen into the mouth or spitting rather than swallowing will reduce the risk. You can also use the harmonica method by focusing on the shaft of the penis while avoiding the head.
Performing Oral Sex on the Anus For oral to anal contact, or rimming, a dental dam, plastic wrap, or a condom can be used in the same way described above under the heading Performing Oral Sex on a Woman. This can be a great barrier against not only HIV, but possible hepatitis A exposure.
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What Is Your Chance Of Getting Hiv
While there is no perfect formula for knowing your exact chance of getting HIV, you can estimate your risk by thinking about:
- the types of sex you are having
- if you are sharing drug use equipment
- the number of people you have sex or use drugs with
- how often you are having sex or sharing drug use equipment
- what prevention method you and the people you have sex or take drugs with use and if they are used every time
The highest chance of getting HIV comes from having vaginal or anal sex or sharing injection drug use equipment when no prevention method is used by either partner.
You are most likely to get HIV from someone who has HIV but doesnt know it. This is because when someone doesnt know that they have HIV, they will not be taking treatment to stay healthy and prevent passing HIV to others. The only way for someone to know if they have HIV is to be tested.
If youre at risk of HIV, its important you are prepared to use a prevention method that is right for you!
If youre not sure about your risk of getting HIV, talk to a healthcare worker or someone at your local HIV organization.
Who Is At Risk
Anyone who has sex can be at risk for an STD, but the chances are higher for those who have multiple sex partners and dont practice safe sex, says Tamika Auguste, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist and associate professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
According to a statement by Gail Bolan, M.D., the CDCs director of STD prevention, that accompanied the report, people age 15 to 24 made up most of the reported chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. About half of all new cases of STDs occur in people 15 to 24, the report found. And one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD.
This group is also experiencing increases in syphilis, Auguste says. That’s a concern, in part because mothers with syphilis can pass on the disease to their babies during pregnancy. While this remains rare, the 628 cases reported in the CDC report mark a 27.6 percent increase since 2015. These cases led to 40 deaths and severe complications in newborns.
Health experts are also concerned about gay and bisexual men of all ages. The CDC report found that a majority of the new cases of syphilis occur in men who have sex with men.
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Know Your Partners Viral Load Count
For ART to be effective, your partner has to take the medication every day, at the same time each day. Skipping doses can cause the virus to replicate unchecked and possibly mutate into a form thats resistant to the medication. If that occurs, your partners viral load count may increase, which means there is a greater likelihood that the virus can be transmitted to you.
Encourage your partner to get their viral load tested at least twice a year, if not more often. If the results demonstrate undetectable levels of HIV, then Its pretty safe ,” says Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, associate division chief of the division of HIV, infectious diseases, and global medicine at University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital.
How Is Hiv Transmitted
The person-to-person spread of HIV is called HIV transmission. People can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities, such as through sex or injection drug use. HIV can be transmitted only in certain body fluids from a person who has HIV:
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
HIV transmission is only possible if these fluids come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or are directly injected into the bloodstream . Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.
In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV
HIV can also spread from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth , or breastfeeding. This is called mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
You can’t get HIV from casual contact with a person who has HIV, such as a handshake, a hug, or a closed-mouth kiss. And you can’t get HIV from contact with objects such as toilet seats, doorknobs, or dishes used by a person who has HIV. Use the ClinicalInfo You Can Safely ShareWith Someone With HIV infographic to spread this message.
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