How Do You Get Or Transmit Hiv
You can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. These fluids are:
- Semen and pre-seminal fluid
- Rectal fluids
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
For transmission to occur, the HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through a mucous membrane open cuts or sores or by direct injection.
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Sex
HIV can be transmitted through semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and anal secretions. When a person doesnt use a condom during sex, its easier for semen, vaginal fluids, blood, and anal secretions to enter their body either being absorbed across the mucous membrane of the vagina or anus or entering the bloodstream directly.
Anal sex is a known risk factor for contracting HIV if other prevention methods are absent, especially for the receptive partner whose anus is being penetrated by the penis.
Vaginal sex can also lead to HIV transmission if other prevention methods are absent, especially for the receptive partner whose vagina is being penetrated by the penis.
Both anal and vaginal sex can also carry a risk of HIV transmission for the insertive partner .
Oral sex is thought to be very low risk. Rimming is also thought to very low risk.
Contaminated Blood Transfusions And Organ/tissue Transplants
- receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This risk is extremely small because most countries test blood products for HIV first.
If adequate safety practices are not in place, healthcare workers can also be at risk of HIV from cuts made by a needle or sharp object with infected blood on it. However, the risk of occupational exposure, is very low in most countries.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, the only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test.
Putting A Number On It: The Risk From An Exposure To Hiv
This information was provided by CATIE . For more information, contact CATIE at 1-800-263-1638.
Author: James Wilton
Service providers working in HIV prevention are often asked by their patients and clients about the risk of HIV transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. What do the latest studies tell us about this risk? And how should we interpret and communicate the results?
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:
- inside of the anus
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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Implications For Hiv Transmission And Prevention
Anal sex is a common practice among men who have sex with men, heterosexual men and women, and transgender individuals and is a known risk factor for HIV infection and transmission.11,12,13,14 In a recent nationally representative survey of almost 6,000 men and women in the United States , approximately 20% of women between the ages of 18 to 39 reported engaging in anal sex in the past year, as did approximately 25% of men between the ages of 25 to 49.15
Rectal fluid has implications for HIV transmission through anal sex when the HIV-negative person is the insertive partner . Research show that this type of anal sex can carry a significant risk of HIV transmission. In fact, the average risk of HIV infection through a single act of condomless insertive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner is slightly higher than through vaginal sex but much lower than if the HIV-negative person takes the receptive role during anal sex.16,17
Rectal fluid undoubtedly contributes to the risk of HIV transmission through anal sex where the insertive partner is HIV negative. We know that for HIV transmission to be possible, a fluid that contains HIV must come into contact with specific parts of the body that are vulnerable to HIV infection. If an HIV-negative person has insertive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner, rectal fluid containing HIV can come into contact with the urethra and/or the penis foreskin. Both the urethra and foreskin are vulnerable to HIV infection.
Isnt Hiv Only A Risk For Certain Groups Of People
Like most illnesses, HIV doesnt discriminate between types of people and the infection can be passed on to anyone via one of the ways mentioned above.
Some people are more vulnerable to HIV infection if they engage regularly in certain activities that are more likely to transmit the virus. However, its a common misunderstanding that HIV only affects certain groups.
While not everyone has the same level of HIV risk, everyone can reduce their risk of infection.
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Hiv Can Only Be Transmitted By Very Intimate Bodily Contact
This is because HIV is a very fragile organism despite the fact that once the virus has entered the body, it can cause such devastating effects.
- Unprotected sexual intercourse is the most common means of transmission worldwide . In South Africa, most of this is heterosexual transmission, but in some areas homosexual spread between men is the most common. As we shall see later, genital secretions are particularly prone to picking up and transmitting HIV.
- Sharing of equipment used by injecting drug users is common in certain communities. Small amounts of blood in needles and syringes left after an infected person has used the equipment contains HIV that is then injected into the bloodstream of the next user. It is important to note that injecting drug use is NOT the key risk activity for the transmission of HIV it is the sharing of equipment.
How Commonly Is Hiv Transmitted Through Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is among the many ways in which HIV is spread from individual to individual. While it happens, it is less common than other transmission methods. It is estimated that only 14% of all HIV cases begin when a mother breastfeeds her baby. Nevertheless, patients cannot ignore the risk because it happens. If you have HIV or suspect you might be HIV positive, it is pertinent to avoid breastfeeding your offspring. After all, the last thing you want to happen is to pass the medical illness on to someone you love so deeply.
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Multiple Vulnerabilities Increase Risk In Men And Women
Vaginal sex is one of the primary ways a person can become infected with HIV. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it accounts for about 6,300 new infections among women each year in the U.S. and about 2,800 new infections among heterosexual men.
Globally, the figures are even more dismaying. While the sexual transmission of HIV in the U.S. is highest among gay and bisexual men , heterosexuals are by far the group most affected worldwide.
This is especially true in Africa where most new infections are among heterosexuals. In these populations, vaginal sex is the predominant route of infection.
Unlikely Methods Of Transmission
The above methods account for over 99% of all known HIV transmissions. Clearly, the potential exists for HIV to be transmitted by other situations where bodily fluids are exposed. However, HIV transmission is known to be very unlikely to occur in, for example:
- Bites from insects
- Oral sex
- Body rubbing, etc.
It is always important to keep a sense of proportion. To help us do this, you can use some figures to roughly estimate the risks of transmission for each contact. It must be stressed that these are only estimates, and that they are drawn from studies of large numbers of people. Each human being is unique and the ability to transmit or become infected varies enormously from one individual to another.
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Other Types Of Transmission
In the past, HIV was spread by transfusion with blood products, such as whole blood or the “factor” used by hemophiliacs. Many people acquired HIV this way. The blood supply is now much more strictly tested and controlled in most countries. The odds of acquiring HIV from receiving blood or blood factor in countries like the US, the UK, and Canada are extremely low. For example, statistics from the US show that a person is more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than they are to acquire HIV from a blood transfusion. However, not every country screens all blood donations for HIV.
It is also possible to get HIV from skin grafts or transplanted organs taken from people living with HIV. Again, the risk is considered very low, as these “body products” must be strictly tested in the same way as blood products. Semen donations collected by sperm banks for artificial insemination are also considered “bodily products” and rigorously tested in high-resource countries. Private semen samples that are not processed by sperm banks or similar organizations may not have been tested. It is important for anyone receiving a private donor’s sperm for artificial insemination to have the donor tested for HIV.
If you are getting breast milk from a milk bank, it is important to ask if the bank tests the milk for HIV. Also, if your baby is getting breast milk from a wet nurse, it is important to make sure that she tests negative for HIV before giving her milk to your baby.
Similarities & Differences Between Hiv & Hepatitis C
Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Shuvani Sanyal, MD
HIV and the hepatitis C virus share many of the same characteristics, but there are also some very distinct differences in the way they are transmitted, how long each virus lives outside of the body, disease progression, and treatment. This post explores some of the similarities and differences between HIV and HCV.
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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.
How You Become Infected
There is HIV virus in body fluids like vaginal secretions and semen. If those fluids are present, they can enter the bloodstream of someone who doesn’t have HIV through an opening such as a mouth sore or a genital ulcer.
Your chances are higher of getting HIV if you:
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What Are My Chances Of Contracting Hiv
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What is HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus attacks and weakens the immune system, making an individual more vulnerable to serious illness. Untreated HIV can lead to AIDS, which occurs when the immune system is so weak it becomes susceptible to serious infections and some cancers.
Theres an epidemic of HIV in the United States and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 of them arent aware of it. An estimated 39,782 people in the country were diagnosed with HIV in 2016 alone.
HIV transmission occurs in many different ways, including through condomless sex and by sharing needles. Risk of transmission varies depending on several factors including:
- sexual practices and the HIV status of sexual partners
- sharing needles for drug use or tattoos
- use of PrEP, PEP, condoms, or having an undetectable viral load
Its important to understand the risk level based on actual factors in preventing the transmission of HIV.
How To Prevent Transmission
Between 2% and 6% of adults infected with hepatitis B virus will develop chronic hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver failure and liver cancer, so protecting yourself is important.
The hepatitis B vaccine is safe for almost everyone and about 95% effective for providing long-term protection against hepatitis B infection.
While anyone can benefit from the vaccine, people who are at a greater risk of being exposed to the virus because of their work, lifestyle or medical history are strongly encouraged to be immunized. In many countries, babies born to infected mothers get vaccinated at birth. All babies born in the United States are routinely vaccinated.
Hepatitis B immune globulin , is another way to prevent hepatitis B infection in babies born to infected mothers or after exposure to the virus. This uses concentrated antibodies to provide immediate protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is given as a shot and can provide short-term protection against hepatitis B.
Because the hepatitis B vaccine does not protect against HIV, hepatitis C or other diseases spread through sex and contact with blood, it’s still important to keep using basic protective strategies. Practicing safer sex and not sharing needles are recommended even if you’re immune to hepatitis B.
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Blood Transfusions And Organ Donation
The risk of contracting HIV from a blood transfusion, other blood products, or organ donation is now extremely rare in the United States. All donated blood or blood products in the United States are tested for several types of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV.
Blood donations that test positive for HIV are safely discarded and dont enter the blood supply. The risk of HIV transmission during a blood transfusion is conservatively estimated to be
, there are no known instances of HIV being transmitted by receiving a tattoo or piercing. However, its technically possible for transmission to occur if equipment or ink is reused or shared.
What Do I Need To Know About Hiv Transmission
It is important to take safety precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV. HIV is an infection that slowly weakens your immune system. Over time, a weak immune system makes it difficult for you to fight infections. Common signs and symptoms of HIV infection include chronic diarrhea, weight loss without trying, and skin rashes or lesions.
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Can Hiv Pass From Mothers To Their Babies
Infection can pass from pregnant women living with HIV to their babies in the womb and during birth. Taking HIV medications during pregnancy and childbirth dramatically lowers the risk of a baby becoming infected with HIV.
After birth, transmission can occur through breast milk. The highest risk may be in the early months after birth. It is recommended that new mothers who are living with HIV formula-feed their babies rather than breast-feed.
If you are a woman living with HIV and you intend to become pregnant, or you find out that you have during your pregnancy, talk to your provider immediately about ways to minimize the chances that your baby will become infected, too.
Can I Get Hiv From Tattooing Piercing Acupuncture Electrolysis Or Shaving
Any procedure in which a needle or razor is used on more than one person involves a theoretical risk of HIV transmission because of the possibility of infected blood on the instrument. However, the risk can be reduced or eliminated through routine sterilization procedures. There have been no documented cases in the United States of someone becoming infected through tattooing or piercing.
Tattoo artists, piercers, hairdressers and barbers, massage therapists, manicurists and pedicurists, and acupuncturists are all defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “personal service workers” . The CDC has established universal precautions for PSWs, similar to those for health care workers, which are designed to protect both the workers and their customers from HIV and other blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis B and C. The guidelines state that any instruments designed to penetrate the skin such as tattoo or acupuncture needles either should be used only once and discarded, or should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized after each use.
If you are worried about the risks of such procedures, you should discuss infection control precautions with the provider. In the case of tattoos and acupuncture, you may also provide your own fresh needles to ensure sterility.
In California, establishments that provide personal services may be regulated locally, so anyone who has further concerns about the procedures in an establishment should call the local department of public health.
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