Against All Odds: What Are Your Chances Of Getting Hiv In These Scenarios
Playing the HIV numbers game is lessand morerisky than you think.
EDITORS NOTE: Although the underlying ideas and messages in this article remain relevant, much HIV prevention research has been published since 2014, notably about there being effectively no risk of transmitting the virus if you are HIV positive and undetectable , as well as the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis . Go to #Prevention, #Undetectable, #TasP and #PrEP for the latest related updates.
Theres not a lot of certainty in these numbers. But they can be a good tool for understanding risk.
During sex, our risk perception is replaced by love, lust, trust and intimacy.
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Reducing The Risk From Oral Sex
The risk from unprotected oral sex with someone with a detectable viral load increases if you have:
- a throat infection
- damage to the lining of the mouth or throat
- had recent dental work or your gums bleed a lot.
Avoid performing oral sex without protection on someone with a detectable viral load while you have any of the above.
Dont floss or brush teeth before oral sex . Regular check-ups for STIs will pick up infections in your throat.
Remember that other STIs can also be passed on through oral sex, including herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
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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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.
Risks To Insertive And Receptive Partners
There is a widespread belief among gay men that the insertive partner is at very low risk of HIV infection. It is true that HIV infection occurs less frequently in men who solely take the insertive role than in men who engage in both roles, or men who practise receptive anal intercourse only .
However, being the insertive partner in condomless sex remains a high-risk activity. The per-act risk for the insertive partner in anal sex is comparable to the per-act risk for the male partner in vaginal sex.
The receptive partner is at risk of infection from HIV in the semen and pre-seminal fluids of the infected partner. Rectal tissue is delicate and easily damaged, which can give the virus direct access to the bloodstream. However, such tissue damage is not necessary for infection to occur: the rectal tissue itself is rich in cells which are directly susceptible to infection.
The insertive partner is also at risk of infection, as there are high levels of HIV in rectal secretions, as well as blood from the rectal tissues . This creates a risk of transmission to the insertive partner through the tissue in the urethra and on the head of the penis particularly underneath the foreskin.
Several systematic reviews of studies have calculated that condomless receptive anal intercourse posed approximately ten to twelve times greater risk of infection than insertive anal intercourse.
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Is There A Connection Between Hiv And Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Yes. Having a sexually transmitted disease can increase the risk of getting or spreading HIV.
If you are HIV-negative but have an STD, you are at least 2 to 5 times as likely to get HIV if you have unprotected sex with someone who has HIV. There are two ways that having an STD can increase the likelihood of getting HIV. If the STD causes irritation of the skin , breaks or sores may make it easier for HIV to enter the body during sexual contact. Even STDs that cause no breaks or open sores can increase your risk by causing inflammation that increases the number of cells that can serve as targets for HIV.
If you are HIV-positive and also infected with another STD, you are 3 to 5 times as likely as other HIV-infected people to spread HIV through sexual contact. This appears to happen because there is an increased concentration of HIV in the semen and genital fluids of HIV-positive people who also are infected with another STD.
CDC recommends sexually active gay and bisexual men test for:
- Hepatitis B and C.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea of the rectum if youve had receptive anal sex, or been a bottom in the past year.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea of the penis if you have had insertive anal or oral sex in the past year.
- Gonorrhea of the throat if youve performed oral sex in the past year.
Sometimes your health care provider may suggest a herpes test.
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Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
There is often a lot of confusion over the difference between HIV and AIDS. People often use the terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. People who have AIDS are HIV positive, but not everyone who has HIV has AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of HIV infection, after it has progressed for many years. Rather than being a separate disease, AIDS is when a person can no longer fight off infections. If a persons CD4 count is below 200, they receive an AIDS diagnosis.
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Is Deep Kissing A Route Of Hiv Transmission
Deep or open-mouthed kissing is a very low risk activity in terms of HIV transmission. HIV is only present in saliva in very minute amounts, insufficient to cause infection with HIV. There has been only one documented case of someone becoming infected with HIV through kissing a result of exposure to infected blood during open-mouthed kissing. If you or your partner have blood in your mouth, you should avoid kissing until the bleeding stops.
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You’re More Likely To Get Hiv If Your Partner Has Hiv And An Std
People with both HIV and an STD have more HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid. This makes it easier for a person with an STD or HIV to give the virus to others when having sex without a condom.
Remember, many people who have HIV don’t know it. It can take many years for symptoms to show up. That is why it is so important to use condoms during sex, or not to have sex at all.
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Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
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 .
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Breaking The Stigma: 13 Essential Facts About Hiv/aids
Lets change the conversation about HIV and AIDS by knowing the difference between fact and fiction.
In 1981, a group of researchers and scientists published a report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report about cases of an uncommon type of pneumonia in gay men. Whether the researchers of that MMWR study realized it or notthe AIDS crisis had begun.
Since the epidemic started, more than 700,000 people have died from AIDS-related illnesses in the United States. The epidemic has also had a worldwide impactmore than 38 million people had the condition in 2019, reports UNAIDS. For people who have access to the treatments, HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. In fact, treatments can help people live long, healthy lives.
It has been four decades since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, and while major strides have been made, stigma and misinformation remain.
Here are the most essential HIV/AIDS facts that everyone should know.
HIV facts, explained HIV is a virus that destroys the bodys CD4 cells or T cells, which usually help fight off infections and diseases. If HIV goes undiagnosed, the number of T cells will decrease.
The body cant get rid of this virus, so once you have HIV, you have it for life. HIV develops in stages from the time of infection, but if treated with the proper medications, a person can live healthily for many years with HIV.
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.
For Latex Male Condoms:
- Put on the condom after the penis is hard. If the penis is not circumcised, pull back the foreskin before putting on the condom.
- Pinch the tip of the condom to leave a little space at the top to catch semen. Unroll the condom all the way down the penis. Add a little bit of water-based lubricant to the outside of the condom.
- After ejaculation, hold the rim of the condom and pull out the penis while it is still hard, so that no semen spills out.
- Use a new condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
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Myths About Hiv And Aids
- There are lots of myths around, but the facts of how you can get HIV, and how you can protect yourself, are very simple.
- One of the most common myths people living with HIV hear is that they can be cured. Theres no cure yet for HIV, but antiretroviral treatment works and will keep someone living with HIV healthy.
HIV can only be passed on from one person to another via the following bodily fluids:
Hospital Workers And Hiv
Hospital workers can become infected with HIV if they accidentally prick themselves with a needle or other sharp instrument contaminated with HIV. However, only a very small number of hospital workers around the world have become infected with HIV in this way.
Preventive treatment, which may reduce the chance of HIV getting into the bloodstream, is available for healthcare workers who have accidentally pricked themselves with a needle or other sharp instrument contaminated with HIV. This is known as post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. The health of healthcare workers in this situation is monitored closely.
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Estimating The Risk Per Exposure
A satisfactory answer to the question, How high is the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex? has been notoriously elusive. Collecting reliable data is challenging for several reasons:
- Very few people report oral sex as their sole risk.
- Self-reported data on sexual behaviour are hard to collect accurately, with participants failing to report condomless anal or vaginal sex they have had.
- If a person practises any other form of unprotected intercourse in addition to unprotected oral sex, any resulting HIV infection is usually attributed to the higher risk behaviour.
- Studies have frequently grouped all oral sex practices together, often not distinguishing receptive from insertive roles, whether ejaculation occurred in the mouth, etc.
Many reports of oral transmission are in the form of isolated and anecdotal reports, rather than from observational cohorts or other studies with more rigorous follow-up.
Most cohort studies following men who only practiced oral sex, or serodiscordant couples, have tended to show very low levels of risk, in many cases approaching zero. A few studies have given higher estimates which are difficult to reconcile with the others.
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.
- Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
- 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.
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Hiv Treatment As Prevention
People with HIV can take ART to lower their chance of transmitting HIV to others.
ART reduces the quantity of HIV in the body, or viral load, and keeps it at a low level.
The term viral load refers to the number of HIV copies per milliliter of blood.
Healthcare professionals define successful viral suppression as having a viral load of less than of HIV per milliliter of blood. Achieving and maintaining viral suppression significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Other ways to prevent HIV transmission include:
- using a condom or other barrier method during sex
- reducing the number of sexual partners
- getting vaccinated against other STIs, such as HPV and hepatitis B
- avoiding using injectable drugs, if possible
- if using injectable drugs, avoiding sharing needles and syringes
- following all workplace safety protocols
People can speak with a doctor to learn more about their individual risk of contracting HIV.
Anyone concerned about HIV exposure should contact a healthcare professional or a local emergency room to get testedand receive PEP.
Hiv And Stds Are Spread In The Same Ways
You can get HIV or an STD by having sex without a condom with a person who is already infected. HIV and some STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby while she is pregnant, during birth or through breast feeding. HIV and some STDs can also be spread by sharing drug “works” with someone who has HIV or an STD.