How Long Can Hiv Live Outside Of The Body
Fear of infection with human immunodeficiency virus sometimes goes beyond the fear of sexual transmission. In fact, some people believe you can get HIV from a surface that has HIV-infected blood or semen on it.
These fears aren’t supported by scientific evidence. HIV needs certain unlikely conditions to survive outside of the human body.
This article looks at the HIV virus and how long it can survive outside the body. It also looks at whether you can get HIV from this type of exposure.
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Prevention Of Hiv Transmission Through Blood
Effective technology is available to make blood and blood products safe for use. The surest means of making blood safe against HIV is by screening the blood for HIV antibodies. By this means, it has been possible to reduce HIV transmission through blood to a very low level in the developed countries. However, in many developing countries, including a few in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, lack of financial resources is still the main stumbling block to universal screening of blood. Persistent efforts are being made in these countries to improve the coverage.
Any risk of HIV transmission through blood, however small it may be, must be avoided as far as possible. In addition to routine screening for HIV antibodies, other measures should be taken to improve the blood safety. These measures include proper selection of blood donors, appropriate use of blood and use of sensitive HIV tests.
Professional or paid donors are known to be associated with sexual promiscuity or drug abuse and must be avoided. Similarly, replacement or patient-recruited donors should also be avoided because they have higher HIV seropositivity rates than voluntary donors. The rate among patient-recruited donors in a Kenyan hospital was reported to be three times higher than among voluntary donors . Emphasis, therefore, should be on recruitment of nonremunerated voluntary donors. Sustained efforts including campaigns to promote voluntary donations will be required.
Mother To Child Transmission
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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Crisk Of Hiv Transmission From Blood Transfusion
The risk of receiving a blood transfusion containing depends on a number of factors, including the prevalence of HIV viremia in the donor population, the likelihood of donation during the preantibody phase of viremia, the sensitivity of the screening test to detect HIV antibody when antibody is in fact present, and the number of units of blood received.
The risk that a donated unit of blood contains can be expressed as:
D = PL + P.
The first part of the expression to the right of the equals sign, PL, represents the portion of risk due to blood donation during the preantibody phase of infection. The remainder of the equation, P , represents the portion of risk due to donors with antibody whose blood escapes detection by the screening test.
The pertinent concern from the vantage point of a blood recipient is the following: Given the number of units transfused, what is the risk that one or more units contain ? This is approached by first asking the computationally simpler, related question: What is the likelihood that none of the transfused units contains HIV?
If n units are transfused, the likelihood that none contains virus can be expressed as:
C = n.
Then the risk, R, of exposure to in an individual receiving transfused blood is:
R = 1 – C.
Assumptions in the Estimation of Risk of HIV Transmission from Blood Transfusion.
Following are comments on the variables entering the equations:
Risk of Exposure to HIV from Blood Transfusion .
Preparing And Storing A Dried Blood Spot For An Hiv Test
Blood from a finger- or ear-lobe stick can be used to make DBS. Although finger-stick is the most typical method, DBS can also be obtained by using blood collected in a tube with an anticoagulant. DBS have the advantage of being easy to transport, without the need for a cold chain.
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Getting Your Hiv Test Results
Most HIV test results are available within a week.
If the test result is negative, you may receive your results within a few days.
If the initial test result is positive, then additional testing to confirm the result needs to be performed in a reference laboratory and this can take up to a week to get a result.
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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Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
Sharing Injection Drug Equipment
- having other types of sexually transmitted infections
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Get Tested Regularly If You Are At Greater Risk Of Hiv
If you are at greater risk of HIV get tested regularly.
Gay, bisexual, trans and other men who have sex with men should get tested every 3 months . This may vary depending on how many sexual partners you have during the year.
Talk with your doctor or sexual health specialist for advice. They can also provide information about how to reduce your risk for HIV and other STIs.
How To Practice Safe Sex
Using condoms regularly and correctly is the best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms act as barriers against semen and vaginal fluids. Always use latex condoms never use lambskin or homemade condoms, which offer little to no protection.
Still, even sex with a condom is not 100 percent risk-free. Misuse and breakage can be problems. People who are sexually active should consider getting HIV tests along with other STI testing. This can help each person understand the risk of transmitting or contracting the virus.
If one person has HIV and the other doesnt, the CDC reports that using condoms alone may lower the risk of contracting the virus by 80 percent.
For people who do not have HIV who have a sexual partner living with HIV, the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis can help reduce the risk of transmission through sex. When used daily along with other preventive measures, PrEP can reduce the risk of transmission by as much as 92 percent, according to the
. Combining condoms with antiretroviral therapy can provide even more protection. Possible exposure may also be remedied with post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.
According to the , this approach includes a combination of:
- HIV testing
- 28-day course of antiretroviral therapy for HIV
- follow-up care
Its important to note that antiretroviral therapy as a part of PEP treatment for HIV is most effective when started within 72 hours of exposure to HIV.
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Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. If taken as prescribed, HIV medicine can reduce a persons HIV viral load very low level, which keeps the immune system working and prevents illness. This is called viral suppression, defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
HIV medicine can also make the viral load so low that a standard lab test cant detect it. This is called having an undetectable level viral load. Almost everyone who takes HIV medicine as prescribed can achieve an undetectable viral load, usually within 6 months after starting treatment.
As noted above, people with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIVto their HIV-negative partnersthrough sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only if the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine as prescribed and visit their health care provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
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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.
Reducing Hiv Risks From Chemsex And Drug Use
- Inject drugs.
- Forget to take your HIV medications.
- Are taking PreP it can be less effective if it is mixed with other drugs.
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How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs.
Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
This process continues until eventually the number of CD4 cells, also called your CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you’ll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
How Many Cases Of Hiv Have Resulted From Occupational Needlestick Injuries
In the US, there were a total of 58 cases of confirmed occupational transmission of HIV to healthcare workers up to 2013, with only one since 1999. In the UK, there have only ever been five definite cases of HIV infection following a needlestick injury in a healthcare setting, and none reported in the past 20 years. The number of cases of HIV acquisition following an accidental needlestick injury globally is thought to be around 100 people in total.
Between 2004 and 2013, a total of 1478 healthcare workers were reported as having been exposed to patient blood containing HIV in the UK. Three-quarters of these took PEP, and almost all did so within 24 hours, with no HIV infections as a result.
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Path To Improved Health
There are many ways to prevent occupational exposure to HIV. To start, health care workers should treat all body fluids the same way. You should assume they are infected and take precautions:
- Use protective covering, such as gloves and goggles. You always should do this when dealing with blood and body fluids.
- Wash your hands and other skin areas right after contact with blood and body fluids.
- Be careful when handling and disposing of needles and sharp instruments.
- Use available safety devices to prevent needle stick injuries.
- Be aware of your employers post-exposure processes.
If an exposure does occur, follow these basic steps:
- For a skin puncture, induce bleeding at the wound site. Do this by applying gentle pressure around the wound as you wash the area with soap and water.
- For a skin or mucous splash, rinse the area well with water.
- Get the infected persons information. This includes name, address, phone number, and HIV status. If they are a patient, get their doctors contact information.
- Notify your supervisor and coworkers. If your place of work has other procedures in place, follow those .
- Seek immediate medical care. Go to your employee health unit, emergency department, or personal doctor.
Once you are with medical professionals, they will assess the exposure. If you have a skin puncture or cut, you may also need a tetanus toxoid booster. The following are some questions a doctor may ask about the exposure.
Assessing The Risk Of Hiv Infection
Under certain conditions, HIV can survive outside of the body for hours or even days. The conditions have to be just right, though.
To survive, HIV needs the right:
- Humidity. This measures how much moisture there is in the environment.
- UV exposure. This is exposure to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.
- pH balance. This measures how acidic the environment is.
This is a very unusual set of conditions. Still, it is possible.
If HIV does survive outside the body, how dangerous is it? Is a person who touches or comes into casual contact with infected blood or semen at risk of infection? The answer to that question is almost universally “no.”
To understand this. you need to know the difference between perceived risk and documented risk.
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