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.
Can I Get Hiv From Sharing Needles
Yes. Sharing needles or syringes and other injection drug equipment is very risky. Sharing needles is the second most common way that HIV is spread to women in the United States . Any woman who shares needles with someone is at risk for HIV infection, because the needles may have someone else’s blood in them.
Learn more about HIV risk and sharing needles.
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 A Blood Transfusion
Receiving a blood transfusion or other products made from blood is safe in the UK as all blood products have been screened for infections such as HIV since 1985.
In countries that dont have strict checks on the safety of their blood supply, receiving contaminated blood can pass the virus on. This can also happen in countries that dont screen other blood products, organs or sperm.
Giving blood has never been a risk.
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.
Some people, mostly health care workers, acquire HIV by accidentally sticking themselves with a needle with infected blood, or through other medical accidents. This is a very small percentage of overall seroconversions. According to the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention , only three in every 1,000 exposures to HIV-infected blood at work, if left untreated, will result in the worker acquiring HIV. When exposed to fluid or bodily products that may carry HIV while on the job, health care workers should be offered occupational post-exposure prophylaxis immediately.
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.
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What Is Hiv And What Is Aids
HIV/AIDS are widely known as incurable sexually transmitted diseases, but you might not know the difference between these acronyms and what they stand for.
For simplicityâs sake, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
If a person takes a blood test and receives a diagnosis of HIV, then they are HIV positiveâif a person does not have HIV, then they are HIV negative. HIV causes havoc in a personâs body by weakening their immune system . HIV progressively destroys the cellular part of the immune systemâparticularly types of white blood cells called CD4 cellsâwhich, over time, makes the person become immunodeficient .
As the HIV infection develops in the body, the person will become more and more immunodeficient until they reach a point where they are classified as having Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . This is often the end stage of an HIV infection, where a personâs body is so immunodeficient that they develop infections, diseases, or cancers and are no longer able to mount a immune defense and fight them off .
There is no cure for HIV . But, if a person does become infected with HIV there are treatments available which can help keep a person healthy.
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.
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How Is Hiv Contracted
Â· Vaginal secretions
Â· Breast milk
* Activities That Allow HIV Transmission
Â· Unprotected sexual contact
Â· Direct blood contact, including injection drug needles, blood transfusions, accidents in health care settings or certain blood products
Â· Mother to baby
Sharing injection needles: An injection needle can pass blood directly from one person’s bloodstream to another. It is a very efficient way to transmit a blood-borne virus. Sharing needles is considered a high-risk practice.
Mother to Child: It is possible for an HIV-infected mother to pass the virus directly before or during birth, or through breast milk. Breast milk contains HIV, and while small amounts of breast milk do not pose significant threat of infection to adults, it is a viable means of transmission to infants.
Viral Load & Medications
If someone has HIV, this does not mean that they are restricted to celibacy. Many people with HIV still continue to have safe, enjoyable sex lives without spreading the virus. Always using a condom or barrier method is an important first step to prevent the sharing of HIV containing fluids.
Antiretroviral therapy : Another way to help decrease the risk of spreading HIV is to lower a personÃ¢s viral loadÃ¢the amount of HIV in a personÃ¢s blood. Viral loads can be lowered using medications called antiretroviral therapy . These medications can lower the HIV viral load so much that HIV may not even be detectable on a blood testÃ¢this is called an undetectable viral load . When a personâs viral load in undetectable, they have effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to a non-infected partner . Taking these medication will help keep a person with HIV healthy while also helping prevent the spread of HIV to another person. This is not a cure, however. If medication is taken incorrectly or stopped, HIV viral loads will increase again and transmission can occur. Condoms and other barrier methods should still always be used during sex .
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How Do You Prevent Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be passed on by sharing sex toys. Always cover sex toys with a new condom and wash them after use to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs.
Its important to regularly test for chlamydia, even if you dont have any symptoms, especially if youve had multiple sexual partners.
The contraceptive pill and other types of contraception wont prevent you getting chlamydia, and neither will PrEP.
How Is Hiv Transmitted
Not all body fluids can transmit HIV. The following cannot transmit HIV:
- Exchanging saliva, like through closed-mouth kissing or sharing drinks/utensils
- Coming in contact with an HIV positive personâs tears, sneezes, or sweat
- Ordinary physical contact, such as hugging, hand shaking, or touching shared objects like cutlery, cups, or toilet seats .
- Pets and insects cannot carry the virus and infect you, because transmission of HIV is only between humans .
While care needs to be taken in some situationsâlike when having sex or when open injuries are presentâthis certainly does not mean that it is unsafe to be around people with HIV. Think of how you interact with the vast majority of peopleâbodily fluids are not exchanged. Harboring discriminatory thoughts only perpetuates a fearful stigma against someone with HIV, which only hurts the person who has it.
HIV is often transmitted through sexual activity and drug use in adults in the United States . Maternal transmissionâfrom mother to childâis how the infection is spread to infants .
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What Should I Do When I Find Out I Have Hiv
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Prevention: Protection From Hiv
Abstinence or no sex is the only complete safe way of protection against sexually transmitted HIV infection. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot have sex your entire life. It may mean not having sexual intercourse until you are in a monogamous sexual relationship, where both partners are tested and found not infected with HIV. This will only hold true for as long as neither of the partners goes outside this relationship and both stay faithful to each other.
In all other circumstances it is advisable to use condoms, correctly and consistently – every time you have sex. There are male condoms and female condoms commercially available and both can protect you against HIV and most other sexually transmitted infections.
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How Can To Help Stop The Spread Of Hiv
To lower the risk of getting HIV and other STIs:
- Those who are HIV-negative should consider PrEP. If a possible HIV exposure occurs, PEP may provide emergency protection.
- Get tested and treated for STIs and follow healthcare providers recommended screening schedule.
- Before having sex with someone, ask them to get tested for HIV and STIs.
- Those who inject drugs should get clean needles from a needle exchange.
- Avoid sharing needles for drugs and tattoos.
Talk to a healthcare provider about PrEP if a sexual partner has HIV with a detectable viral load or theres another known risk of contracting the virus. Heres a search tool for finding healthcare providers who prescribe PrEP.
Anyone who thinks they might have contracted HIV needs to get tested immediately. Early treatment can help manage the symptoms, lower the risk of complications, lower the risk of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner, and help people to live a long and healthy life.
Transmission: Where Does The Hiv Virus Live
The HIV virus is present in body fluids. Body fluids which can contain significant amounts of HIV are not usually of concern to everyday people amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid and synovial fluid around bone joints, for example, are of concern only to healthcare workers that are involved in invasive surgical procedures.However, the HIV virus is present in the following body fluids in infectious quantities:
- Blood and blood products
- Vaginal and cervical secretions
An HIV-positive person may have HIV in very small amounts in other body fluids such as tears, saliva and blister fluid, but usually not in enough amount to be infectious. Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.
It is via the exchange of bodily fluids containing HIV virus that person-to-person transmission can occur. The main routes of HIV transmission are through:
- Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person
- Sharing needles with an infected person
- From an infected mother to child during pregnancy, during birth or after birth while breastfeeding.
You are at risk if:
- You have sex without condoms
- You have many sex partners and do not use condoms
- Your sex partner has/have sex with other persons without using condoms
- You share unsterilized needles for intravenous drug use
Nobody is immune to the HIV virus. Anyone engaging in above activities is at risk of infection.
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Chlamydia Signs And Symptoms
Many people with chlamydia have few or no symptoms. In fact, 75% of women and 50% of men do not experience symptoms. If symptoms do show up, itâs 1-3 weeks after infection.
In men, the following symptoms can indicate a chlamydia infection:* Pain and/or swelling in your testes* Pain or burning whenever you pee* Increased amount of clear or cloudy discharge from the penis* Itching in or around your urethra
In women, the following chlamydia symptoms may appear:* Pain or burning when you pee* A change in color, odor, or consistency of your discharge from your normal* Pain or discomfort during sex or after sex* Bleeding after sex or outside of your normal menstrual cycle* Lower abdominal pain or discomfort
The most common and serious complications occur in women. Chlamydia in women can lead to serious consequences like pelvic inflammatory disease , ectopic pregnancy, tubal factor infertility, and chronic pelvic pain.
Symptoms of chlamydia in the throat are caused by having oral sex with someone with the infection. Chlamydia in the throat is considered a mouth infection and may look a lot like pharyngitis.and swallowing can be painful.
Throat symptoms donât show up very often, but if they do, youâll notice them a week or several months after the initial infection.
If you think you contracted the virus through oral sex, let your provider know so they can do a throat swab and test for the infection that way.
Can You Get Hiv From Having Sex With Someone Who Has Aids
If you have sex with someone who has AIDS, not HIV, can you still get HIV? Sarah*
Yes. People who have AIDS are infected with the HIV virus. This means they can pass HIV on to others.
AIDS happens after someone has had HIV for many years. In AIDS, the immune system is severely weakened. When someone gets HIV, that person can spread the infection to other people immediately. And if HIV develops into AIDS, the virus can spread to others.
HIV/AIDS spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV/AIDS also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
To reduce your risk of getting HIV/AIDS if you are sexually active:
- Use a condom every time you have sex .
- Get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too.
- Have fewer sexual partners.
- Get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection.
- Consider taking a medicine every day if you are at very high risk of getting infected .
It’s also important to:
- not inject drugs or share any kind of needle
- not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood
- not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Be Aware Of Potential Symptoms
If you have sex, knowing what symptoms could indicate an STI is a must.
See a healthcare professional if you notice any of the following:
- changes in urination, like pain or burning, frequency, or urgency
- unusual vaginal bleeding, like after sexual activity or between periods
- genital itching
Are certain activities higher risk?
How Can I Prevent Passing Hiv To My Partner
If you take HIV medicine and your viral load is not detectable in your blood, your chances of passing HIV to your sexual partner is lower. You should always use a latex condom or dental dam with sex. Your HIV-negative partner also can take medicine to keep from getting HIV.
Learn more about how to prevent passing HIV to your partner.
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