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How Is Hiv Spread Cdc

Some Stds Are More Closely Linked To Hiv Than Others

Social media plays role in spread of HIV in Atlanta

In the United States, both syphilis and HIV are highly concentrated epidemics among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men .7, 8 In 2019, MSM only and men who have sex with both men and women accounted for 47% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases among males in which sex of sex partner was known.9 In Florida, in 2010, among all persons diagnosed with infectious syphilis 42% were also HIV infected.10 Men who get syphilis are at very high risk of being diagnosed with HIV in the future among HIV-uninfected men who got syphilis in Florida in 2003, 22% were newly diagnosed with HIV by 2011.2 HIV is more closely linked to gonorrhea than chlamydia .11 Herpes is also commonly associated with HIV a meta-analysis found persons infected with HSV-2 are at 3-fold increased risk for acquiring HIV infection.12-14

How Hiv Is Not Spread

The virus doesn’t survive well outside the body. So HIV cannot be spread through casual contact with an infected person, such as by sharing drinking glasses, by casual kissing, or by coming into contact with the person’s sweat or urine.

It is now extremely rare in Canada or the United States for HIV to be transmitted by blood transfusions or organ transplants.

Suspected Or Known Exposure To Hiv But No Symptoms

If you have not been tested for HIV, call your doctor if:

  • You suspect that you have been exposed to HIV.
  • You have engaged in high-risk behaviour and are concerned that you were exposed to HIV.
  • Your sex partner engages in high-risk behaviour.
  • Your sex partner may have been exposed to HIV.
  • Your sex partner has HIV.
  • You have any of the symptoms listed above.

Getting tested for HIV can be scary, but the condition can be managed with treatment. So it is important to get tested if you think you have been exposed.

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Protecting Your Sexual Partners

If you have HIV, are taking ART, and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of passing HIV to your sexual partners. This is true even if you have an STI other than HIV. However, having an undetectable viral load will not prevent you from transmitting other STIs to your sexual partners.

If you have HIV and you do not have an undetectable viral load, untreated STIs may make it more likely that you will spread HIV to a sexual partner. But you can protect your partner from HIV by using condoms and choosing less risky sexual behaviors.

And if you have an HIV-negative partner who has another STI, they may have skin ulcers, sores, or inflammation that may increase their risk of getting HIV during sex.

An HIV-negative partner can take medicine to prevent HIV, called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, but PrEP does not protect against other STIs. PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who dont have HIV but who are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Genital Herpes

What increases the chance of getting HIV?

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:

  • Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD
  • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

If you are in a relationship with a person known to have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting genital herpes if:

  • Your partner takes an anti-herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her doctor.
  • You avoid having vaginal, anal, or oral sex when your partner has herpes symptoms .

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv

Within a few weeks of getting HIV, some people get flu-like symptoms that last for a week or two, but others have no symptoms at all. After initial infection, people may not have any symptoms for years. HIV can be controlled with the right medical treatment and care. However, if its left untreated, it may develop into AIDS .

Testing For Drug Resistance

HIV often changes or mutates in the body. Sometimes these changes make the virus resistant to certain medicines. Then the medicine no longer works.

Medical experts recommend testing the blood of everyone diagnosed with HIV to look for this drug resistance.footnote 8 This information helps your doctor know what medicines to use.

You also may be tested for drug resistance when:

  • You are ready to begin treatment.
  • You’ve been having treatment and your viral load numbers stop going down.
  • You’ve been having treatment and your viral load numbers become detectable after not being detectable.

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How Is Genital Herpes Spread

You can get genital herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease.

If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:

  • A herpes sore
  • Saliva or genital secretions
  • Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.

You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.

You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.

Stds Can Increase The Risk Of Spreading Hiv

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People with HIV are more likely to shed HIV when they have urethritis or a genital ulcer.4, 5 When a person with HIV gets another STD, such as gonorrhea or syphilis, it suggests that they were having sex without using condoms. If so, they may have spread HIV to their partners. Antiretroviral treatment for HIV can prevent the transmission of HIV even from persons who have other STDs.6

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The Aids Epidemic Arises

Though HIV arrived in the United States around 1970, it didnt come to the publics attention until the early 1980s.

In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report about five previously healthy homosexual men becoming infected with Pneumocystis pneumonia, which is caused by the normally harmless fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii. This type of pneumonia, the CDC noted, almost never affects people with uncompromised immune systems.

The following year, The New York Times published an alarming article about the new immune system disorder, which, by that time, had affected 335 people, killing 136 of them. Because the disease appeared to affect mostly homosexual men, officials initially called it gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID.

Though the CDC discovered all major routes of the diseases transmissionas well as that female partners of AIDS-positive men could be infectedin 1983, the public considered AIDS a gay disease. It was even called the gay plague for many years after.

In September of 1982, the CDC used the term AIDS to describe the disease for the first time. By the end of the year, AIDS cases were also reported in a number of European countries.

Why Are Scientists Worried About It

The variant has more than 30 mutations on its spike protein the key used by the virus to unlock our bodys cells more than double the number carried . Such a dramatic change has raised concerns that the antibodies from previous infections or vaccination may no longer be well matched. Purely based on knowing the list of mutations, scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect or reinfect people who have immunity to earlier variants.

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How Hiv Is Spread

HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person’s body, usually through:

  • Sexual contact. The virus may enter the body through a tear in the lining of the rectum, vagina, urethra, or mouth. Most cases of HIV are spread this way.
  • Infected blood. HIV can be spread when a person:
  • Is accidentally stuck with a needle or other sharp item that is contaminated with HIV.

HIV may be spread more easily in the early stage of infection and again later, when symptoms of HIV-related illness develop.

A woman who is infected with HIV can spread the virus to her baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.

Can I Get Hiv From Injecting Drugs

HIV and AIDS

Yes. Your risk for getting HIV is very high if you use needles or works after someone with HIV has used them.

People who inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone can get HIV by sharing needles or syringes and other injection equipment. The needles and equipment may have someone elseâs blood in them, and blood can transmit HIV. Likewise, youâre at risk for getting hepatitis B and C if you share needles and works because these infections are also transmitted through blood.

Another reason people who inject drugs can get HIV is that when people are high, theyâre more likely to have risky sex.

Stopping injection and other drug use can lower your chances of getting HIV a lot. You may need help to stop or cut down using drugs, but many resources are available. To find a substance abuse treatment center near you, check out the locator tools on SAMHSA.gov or HIV.gov, or call 1-800-662-HELP .

If you keep injecting drugs, you can lower your risk for getting HIV by using only new, sterile needles and works each time you inject. Never share needles or works. For more information on how to lower your risk, see How can I prevent getting HIV from drug use?

Learn more about how to protect yourself, and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDCâs HIV Risk Reduction Tool .

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What Can People Do To Reduce Their Risk Of Getting Stds And Hiv

The only 100% effective way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If people are sexually active, they can do the following things to lower their chances of getting STDs and HIV:

  • Use a new condom, consistently and correctly, for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act
  • Reduce the number of people with whom they have sex
  • Limit or eliminate drug and alcohol use before and during sex
  • Have an honest and open talk with their healthcare provider and ask whether they should be tested for STDs and HIV.
  • Talk with their healthcare provider and find out if either pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is a good option for them to prevent HIV infection.

Tattoos And Body Piercings

  • There are no known cases in the United States of anyone getting HIV this way.
  • However, it is possible to get HIV from tattooing or body piercing if the equipment used for these procedures has someone elses blood in it or if the ink is shared. This is more likely to happen when the person doing the procedure is unlicensed because of the potential for unsanitary practices such as sharing needles or ink.
  • If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, be sure that the person doing the procedure is properly licensed and that they use only new or sterilized needles, ink, and other supplies.

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If You Already Have Hiv

If you are infected with HIV, you can greatly lower the risk of spreading the infection to your sex partner by starting treatment when your immune system is still healthy.

Experts recommend starting treatment as soon as you know you are infected.footnote 21

Studies have shown that early treatment greatly lowers the risk of spreading HIV to an uninfected partner.footnote 22, footnote 23

Your partner may also be able to take medicine to prevent getting infected.footnote 17 This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis .

Steps to avoid spreading HIV

If you are infected with HIV, you can greatly lower the risk of spreading the infection to your sex partner by starting treatment when your immune system is still healthy.

  • Take antiretroviral medicines. Getting treated for HIV can help prevent the spread of HIV to people who are not infected.
  • Tell your sex partner or partners about your behaviour and whether you are HIV-positive.
  • Follow safer sex practices, such as using condoms.
  • Do not donate blood, plasma, semen, body organs, or body tissues.
  • Do not share personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or sex toys, that may be contaminated with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.

Mother To Child Transmission

The HIV and Viral Hepatitis Epidemic

Having HIV does not mean a woman cant have a healthy baby. The key is to work with a doctor to take all the necessary precautions.

Aside from blood and sexual secretions, HIV can also be transmitted during pregnancy or through breast milk while breastfeeding. Mother to child transmissions can also occur at any point during pregnancy, as well as during delivery.

All pregnant women should be screened for HIV. Antiretroviral therapy is strongly recommended for pregnant women with HIV to achieve viral suppression. This will subsequently reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby during pregnancy and labor. Sometimes a caesarean delivery is recommended to reduce transmission during delivery if the infection is not suppressed.

Its also important to protect the baby after birth. Breastfeeding might not be recommended in some cases, though consistent viral suppression may reduce the transmission of HIV through breast milk. A doctor may also recommend that the baby take antiretroviral therapy for up to six weeks after birth.

Overall, great strides have been made in decreasing HIV transmission between mothers and infants due to improved screening and use of anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy.

In the United States, the

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Are Health Care Workers At Risk Of Getting Hiv On The Job

The risk of health care workers being exposed to HIV on the job is very low, especially if they use protective practices and personal protective equipment to prevent HIV and other blood-borne infections. For health care workers on the job, the main risk of HIV transmission is from being stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. However, even this risk is small. Scientists estimate that the risk of HIV infection from being stuck with a needle used on an HIV-infected person is less than 1%.

For more information on preventing occupational exposure to HIV, see Occupational HIV Transmission and Prevention Among Health Care Workers.

Learn more about how to protect yourself, and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDCâs HIV Risk Reduction Tool .

Is There A Vaccine Or Cure For Hiv/aids

No. There is no cure or vaccine for HIV, however there are highly effective treatments.

A person with HIV today who is on ongoing antiretroviral medication and in medical care can live a normal, healthy lifespan. HIV treatment also can prevent passing HIV from mother to child.

ARVs work to lower the amount of virus in the body, often to levels that are undetectable by standard lab tests. In addition to improving health, getting and keeping a low viral load also prevents the spread of the virus to others.

To get the full health and preventive benefits of ARVs, it is important that an individual with HIV stays connected to medical care and takes their medications as prescribed, even if they do not feel sick.

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Is The Risk Of Hiv Different For Different People

Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including the status of their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live.

When you live in a community where many people have HIV infection, the chances of having sex or sharing needles or other injection equipment with someone who has HIV are higher. You can use CDCâs HIV, STD, hepatitis, and tuberculosis atlas to see the percentage of people with HIV in different US communities. Within any community, the prevalence of HIV can vary among different populations.

Gay and bisexual men have the largest number of new diagnoses in the United States. Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Also, transgender women who have sex with men are among the groups at highest risk for HIV infection, and injection drug users remain at significant risk for getting HIV.

Risky behaviors, like having anal or vaginal sex without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV, and sharing needles or syringes play a big role in HIV transmission. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior. If you donât have HIV, being a receptive partner for anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for getting HIV. If you do have HIV, being the insertive partner for anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for transmitting HIV.

Impact On Young People

HIV/ AIDs Prevention Resources
  • Teens and young adults continue to be at risk, with those under 35 accounting for 57% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019 .51 Most young people are infected sexually.52
  • Among young people, gay and bisexual men and minorities have been particularly affected.53
  • Perinatal HIV transmission, from an HIV-infected mother to her baby, has declined significantly in the U.S., largely due to increased testing efforts among pregnant women and ART which can prevent mother-to-child transmission.54,55,56
  • A recent survey of young adults found that HIV remains a concern for young people, especially for young people of color.57

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