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 “bodily 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.
How Long Does It Take To Develop The Disease
There is no fixed period between the first contact with HIV and the development of the disease. Signs and symptoms resulting from infection with HIV develop in stages. Many infected individuals may have no symptoms for several years. But others may develop symptoms within three years from the time of infection.
Symptoms of HIV infection are fever, swollen lymph glands in the neck and armpits, sweating, aches, fatigue, unexplained weight loss and diarrhea.
Within eight years, about 50 percent of all infected people develop specific conditions categorized as AIDS. These conditions include a lung disease called “pneumocystis carinii pneumonia,” skin tumours called “Kaposi’s sarcoma,” fungal and viral infections such as candidiasis and herpes zoster, and severe diarrhea.
Some AIDS patients also suffer from dementia resulting in problems with memory and thinking. AIDS patients are prone to various infections of the brain, just as they suffer from an unusually high number of cancers, bacterial and viral infections of other parts of the body.
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.
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Effective Treatments Can Reduce Hiv Transmission
When someone with HIV is on antiretroviral treatment and consistently has very low levels of virus they are not infectious and cannot sexually transmit the virus.
This may be true for sexual transmission during pregnancy, but researchers are still gathering more evidence before they can be confident it is true for transmission during pregnancy, labour and delivery, and during breastfeeding.
As long as the HIV-positive partner maintains a stable undetectable viral load and these medications are taken strictly as prescribed, HIV transmission to a negative partner is not possible.
Speak to your treating doctor if you would like to explore these newer prevention drugs.
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What Should I Do If I Need To Clean Up Blood
HIV does not usually survive long outside of the body, but contact with blood should be avoided.
To clean up blood that has been spilled, wear rubber gloves and mop up the liquid using bleach and warm water . Use warm, soapy water to clean away blood spilled on someones body.
Put the waste, used gloves and bloodied clothes in a plastic bag, seal and throw away.
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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 for several types of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV.
Organ donations are also screened for HIV. Although very rare, its possible for HIV transmission to occur following an organ transplant.
However, testing of organ recipients after surgery can quickly detect transmission so that antiretroviral medications can be started promptly.
How Can Vertical Transmission Be Prevented
There is a set of effective strategies that prevent mother-to-child transmission from taking place. These are called PMTCT: prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
Many women living with HIV have given birth to HIV negative children by taking these precautions:
By doing these things, the chances of the baby having HIV become very low under 1%. If youre on HIV treatment and have an undetectable viral load, the chances are lower still: 0.1%.
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How Will Hiv Affect My Labor And Birth
If no preventative steps are taken, the risk of HIV transmission during childbirth is estimated to be 10-20%. The chance of transmission is even greater if the baby is exposed to HIV-infected blood or fluids. Health care providers should avoid performing amniotomies , episiotomies and other procedures that expose the baby to the mothers blood. The risk of transmission increases by 2% for every hour after membranes have been ruptured.Cesarean sections performed before labor and/or the rupture of membranes may significantly reduce the risk of perinatal transmission of HIV.Women who have not received any drug treatment before labor should be treated during labor with one of several possible drug regimens. These may include a combination of ZDV and another drug called 3TC or Nevirapine. Studies suggest that these treatments, even for short durations, may help reduce the risk to the baby.
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Is It True That Gay Men Are More At Risk For Hiv Than Other People
Although anyone can be at risk for HIV, some people can be more at risk depending upon the types of sexual practices and drug use they are engaging in. Being gay does not necessarily mean you are at higher risk, but certain activities gay men sometimes participate in might put them at greater risk. Overall, the gay male population in Canada has higher rates of HIV infection than some other populations. Stigma and homophobia can affect a person’s ability to access information about safer sex specifically for gay men.
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How Can We Prevent Hiv Aids
Body Piercings And Tattoos
While theoretically feasible, the risk of HIV from body piercings and tattoos is low due to the licensing and strict regulation of practitioners within the industry. For its part, the CDC insists that the risk of HIV transmission is low to negligible.
Among unlicensed practitioners who do not adhere to industry sterilization and hygiene practices, the risk is potentially higher, although it is unclear by how much.
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Am I At Higher Risk If I Have Sex With A Member Of The Same Sex
HIV is transmitted sexually regardless of your sexual preference. Note however, that worldwide there is a higher prevalence of the virus in certain groups because of their sexual practices and therefore having unsafe sex with someone from one of these groups places you at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, and people who have a sexually transmitted infection are examples of such groups.
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Sharing Injection Drug Equipment
- having other types of sexually transmitted infections
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Hiv/aids Symptoms And Treatment
AIDS is a serious disorder of the immune system.
- AIDS was first recognized in the USA in 1981.
- The first confirmed evidence of AIDS infection in India came in April 1986.
- AIDS stands Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
How Is Hiv Recognized
Doctors use laboratory tests to confirm HIV infection. The Elisa and Western Blot analyses identify people who have been exposed to HIV. These tests determine if the blood contains particular antibodies that result from contact with the virus. They do not identify who among a group of infected individuals will develop the disease. The presence of antibodies or HIV markers means the person has been infected with HIV but no one can predict when and if they will get AIDS related symptoms.
Doctors diagnose AIDS by blood tests and the presence of specific illnesses such as pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or Kaposi’s sarcoma. These diseases overcome the weakened immune system and are responsible for the high death rate among AIDS patients.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids
To progress to AIDS and exhibit AIDS symptoms, one has to be infected with HIV first. However, it is not necessary that someone with HIV will definitely develop AIDS. HIV progresses through stages, each having its own set of symptoms:
This is the acute stage, or the primary infection stage, which occurs within the first few weeks after transmission. This stage may last for weeks. The symptoms are so mild during this phase that one might not even notice them. Yet, the quantity of virus in the blood stream is very high during this period therefore, the spread and progression of the infection is easier than in the later stages. Potential signs and symptoms during this phase include:
- White spots on the tongue or mouth.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . This is the most severe phase of HIV infection. The immune system of a person with AIDS is damaged to such an extent that they get a growing number of critical illnesses, called opportunistic infections. When the activity of the immune system is decreased, late stage HIV decreases the bodys ability to fight off a number of infections, diseases and even cancers. Infections that would be harmless otherwise now may pose a serious health risk because of the compromised nature of the immune system. If any of the following infections which include opportunistic infections occur, a person is diagnosed with AIDS. The signs and symptoms of some of these infections may include:
How Safe Is Oral Sex
Although it is possible to become infected with HIV through oral sex, the risk of becoming infected in this way is much lower than the risk of infection via unprotected sexual intercourse with a man or woman.When giving oral sex to a man a person could become infected with HIV if infected semen came into contact with damaged and receding gums, or any cuts or sores they might have in their mouth.
Giving oral sex to a woman is also considered relatively low risk. Transmission could take place if infected sexual fluids from a woman got into the mouth of her partner. The likelihood of infection might be increased if there is menstrual blood involved or if the woman is infected with another sexually transmitted disease.
The likelihood of either a man or a woman becoming infected with HIV as a result of receiving oral sex is extremely low, as saliva does not contain infectious quantities of HIV.
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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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How Hiv Is Spread
The most common way that HIV is spread is through sexual intercourse, including oral and anal sex.
The virus can also be spread through sharing needles, and it can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
But steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of HIV being passed on to a baby, making transmission in this way rare in the UK.
For example, the risk of transmission can be reduced by:
- giving antiretroviral medication to a mother and her newborn baby
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Hiv: How Its Transmitted
HIV is spread through certain body fluids, such as blood, semen , rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services AIDS.gov website. The virus can be transmitted when these fluids in an infected person come into contact with mucous membranes in the rectum, vagina, penis, or mouth of another person.
While HIV can be spread during anal or vaginal sex, anal sex is riskier because there is more trauma and irritation to the mucous membranes, says Beverly Sha, MD, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Although the risk is low, HIV can also be spread through oral sex. HIV transmission can happen during ejaculation into the mouth, or if there are mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, genital sores, or other sexually transmitted diseases present, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Using condoms during sex lowers the risk of HIV transmission. When they are used properly, its clear they offer significant protection, Dr. Sha says. However, condoms can fail when they break, if theyre too old, or if they are not used correctly.
The virus can also spread if infected fluids come into contact with damaged tissue, such as a cut in the skin, or if infected blood is transferred from a needle or syringe. Doing injection drugs with someone who is infected and sharing equipment is high risk. HIV can be found in a used needle for as long as 42 days.
Hiv Transmission Through Other Sexual Activities
HIV is also sometimes transmitted during oral sex . It may occasionally be passed from an HIV-positive person to someone sucking their penis.
Oral sex is much less risky than vaginal or anal sex, but it is not risk free. The risk depends on the viral load of the person with HIV, the dental health of the person performing oral sex and untreated sexually transmitted infections.
“Not every act of unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person results in HIV transmission.”
HIV can be transmitted by sharing sex toys such as dildos or butt plugs. They should be covered with condoms or disinfected between use by different people.
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Still Need To Focus On Blood
Chris Draenos title is long and complicated, but his job is crucial.
Draenos is the CBRCs National Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection Testing and Linkage Implementation Manager.
Before working at the CBRC, Draenos was a sexually transmitted infection case manager for Toronto Public Health. He also worked at Casey House, Canadas only hospital for people living with HIV.
Draenos says Test Now will allow possibly HIV-positive people to get tested without going to a clinic. It will also save time for health care professionals who are busy coping with Canadas fifth wave of COVID-19.
Last June, the CRBC shared a video demonstration of a self-HIV test with Canadas Drag Race contestant Travis LHenaff, who is HIV-positive. While the self-HIV test is much different from the COVID-19 rapid test, both are easy and take roughly the same amount of time.
Each self-HIV test kit contains three bottles, a lancet to prick your finger, and a testing device.
Someone would prick their finger, pour a large drop of blood into the first bottle, shake that, put that into the testing device, and add bottle two and bottle three, Draenos explains. Shortly afterward, they would receive a result.
In 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported an estimated 2,242 new HIV infections, up from 1,950 cases two years earlier in 2016.
Incarcerated people living with HIV/AIDS face added layers of stigma and discrimination when it comes to accessing sexual health care.