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
Living Together As A Serodiscordant Couple
The first week was very bad for us, Godfrey recalls. The counsellor came to visit us the very next day. The counsellor kept coming, and the couple decided to stay together. They continued to have a sexual relationship, using condoms from a nearby clinic. Godfrey started taking antiretroviral treatment in 2002. Pauline has remained HIV-negative.
Godfrey Mtongas advice to everyone is to get tested. If you are positive, love each other and take your medicine at the right time. We have lived with our status as a discordant couple for the past 18 years because we support each other.
Some countriessuch as Kenya, Rwanda, Thailand, Zambia and othershave already introduced HIV testing and counselling for couples with a view to helping them support one another. Couples testing can be provided as part of pregnancy care or other health services, in peoples homes and as part of outreach testing in communities, as well as in voluntary testing and counselling sites.
If The Test Is Negative Does That Mean I Dont Have Hiv
Most HIV tests look for antibodies. In most people, those antibodies take at least 3 weeks to develop. Sometimes they take 12 weeks to appear.
If your test comes back negative, thatâs good news. But itâs still possible you have the virus and it hasnât yet shown up. You should take extra steps to protect yourself and others and have a doctor test you again in 3 months to make sure.
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Ensure A Partner Is Managing Their Hiv
HIV is a chronic condition treated with antiretroviral therapy. Antiretroviral medications control the virus by lowering the amount of HIV found in the blood, which is also known as the viral load. These medications also lower the amount of the virus in other bodily fluids such as semen, anal or rectal secretions, and vaginal fluids.
Managing HIV requires close attention. Medications must be taken as directed by a healthcare provider. Additionally, managing HIV means going to a healthcare provider as often as recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , someone living with HIV with an undetectable viral load wont transmit HIV to others. They define an undetectable viral load as fewer than 200 copies per milliliter of blood.
The support that someone without HIV can offer a partner living with HIV can positively affect how the HIV-positive partner manages their health. A study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes that if same-sex couples were working together to reach a goal, the person living with HIV was more likely to stay on track with HIV care in all aspects.
This support can also strengthen other relationship dynamics.
Dont Breastfeed Your Baby
- Do not breastfeed your baby, even if you have an undetectable viral load. Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding but doesnt eliminate the risk.
- The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
You should also have a pelvic examination and get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases during your pregnancy.
If I have an undetectable viral load, do my partner and I need to use anything else to prevent sexual transmission of HIV?
Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission during sex. But there are situations when either partner may want to use additional prevention options.
- Using condoms can help prevent some other STDs.
- Using condoms or having your partner take PrEP can provide added peace of mind.
- Also consider using additional prevention options if you
- Are unsure, for any reason, that you have an undetectable viral load
- Have a high viral load
- Have trouble taking HIV medicine regularly
- Missed some doses since your last viral load test or
- Have stopped taking HIV medicine or may do so in the future.
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What If I Test Positive
Despite lots of research, thereâs still no cure for HIV. But treatments can help manage it. People with HIV are now living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
Your doctor will help you decide which antiretroviral medicines to take. Youâll need to take these medicines every day.
Itâs also important that you tell anyone youâve had sex or shared needles with besides your HIV-positive partner about your HIV status. Theyâll need testing, too.
CDC: âHIV Transmission,â âHow Do I Know If I Have HIV,â âPEP,â âWhat Can Decrease HIV Risk?â âHIV Risk and Prevention.â
International Journal of Preventive Medicine: âHIV/AIDS Counseling Skills and Strategies: Can Testing and Counseling Curb the Epidemic?â
HIV.gov: âWhat is PEP?â âTalking About Your HIV Status.â
World Health Organization: âLiving with HIV when one partner is positive and the other is negative.â
UNAIDS: âUndetectable = untransmittable.â
Protecting Yourself When Your Partner Is Hiv Positive
Couples in which one person has HIV, and one does not are called serodiscordant couples. These couples face specific challenges such as preventing transmission of the virus to the HIV-negative partner and to their children. Antiretroviral therapy can help keep levels of the virus low in HIV-positive partners.
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Reducing Hiv Transmission During Labour
Ways to reduce HIV transmission during birth include:
- Avoiding procedures in labour that may scratch or cut the babys skin, wherever possible .
- Giving antiretroviral medications to the newborn for around 4 weeks after birth.
Caesarean delivery is recommended if a woman:
- Has a detectable viral load, .
- Is not taking antiretroviral treatment.
- Experiences obstetric delivery complications .
- Has other medical illness complications.
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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Getting Pregnant And Having Children With An Hiv
According to the British government organization AIDSMap, HIV-positive women can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, without passing HIV to their child. But this takes careful planning, and extra steps are necessary to reduce the risk. Talk to your doctor if youre planning to become pregnant, since your best options may be affected by whether youre on ART, whether your health is generally good, and which person in the relationship has HIV.
Other options for couples affected by HIV include:
Should I Get Tested For Hiv Regularly
Yes, you should get tested for HIV at regular intervals, according to your doctors recommendation. Depending on your situation, this could be as often as every 3 months or as infrequently as once a year.
Generally, Wohlfeiler recommends being tested every 3 to 6 months if youre having sex outside your relationship, or once a year if your relationship is monogamous. HIV screening involves a simple blood draw at a regularly scheduled lab or doctors appointment.
For someone who has an HIV-positive partner, getting tested regularly is just good preventative healthcare, Gandhi notes, even though your risk of getting HIV from your partner is essentially zero if their viral load remains undetectable.
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How Can I Help My Hiv+ Partner
Thereâs a ton of literature out there and many professionals that can speak to you at length about the ways to support someone who is dealing with being HIV positive. Iâm not going to go into all of them. Instead, Iâll just say that the number one way to help someone who has just found out they were diagnosed with HIV is to support them â however they want. Ask them. If they donât know, give them the space to let them figure it out, just as you would any other challenge they go through.
Something you can do more pragmatically is help them get into treatment . Research has found that starting antiretroviral therapy immediately after youâre diagnosed with HIV is extremely helpful for long-term health. You can also help them set up a reminder system so they remember to take their medication, because itâs important that they take their antiretrovirals as directed â otherwise their viral load count can rise, they can become resistant to the medications theyâre on, and their health can decline.
What Are The Chances Of Becoming Infected If He Doesnt Ejaculate Inside Me
While research suggests that high concentrations of HIV can sometimes be detected in precum, it is difficult to judge whether HIV is present in sufficient quantities for infection to occur. To guard against the possibility of infection with HIV or any other STI it is best to practice safer sex by using condoms.
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How To Become Pregnant When One Partner Is Hiv Positive And The Other Is Hiv Negative
There is good news for couples in this situation.
Recent large studies, notably The HIV Prevention Trials Network Study 052 and the PARTNER study showed no transmissions from anyone on ART with undetectable viral load.
Successful ART is as effective as consistent condom use in limiting transmission and this is recommended for safe conception in the UK. Importantly, this is provided:
- Neither partner has another STI.
- The HIV positive partner has a viral load below 50 copies/mL for over 6 months.
- The HIV positive partner has regular viral load testing .
Doctors in the UK are recommended to discuss the impact of ART on transmission with all HIV positive people.
Timed intercourse, when the women is most fertile, is recommended for conception in couples that generally prefer to use condoms as well as ART. Occasionally PrEP might be recommended for the negative partner.
Note: This guide is mostly for HIV positive women but this advice could also be for HIV negative women with HIV positive partners.
When Your Partner Is Hiv Negative
Finding out that you have HIV doesnt mean an end to relationships with HIV negative partners. These relationships are sometimes called serodiscordant.
Whether you were diagnosed with HIV during a relationship, or you knew you were HIV positive when the relationship started, its important for your partner to know their status too.
Remember that if youre on treatment and have an undetectable viral load, you can’t pass on HIV.
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Ner Services Programs Reduce Hiv Transmission By Helping Your Patients Inform Partners Of Their Hiv Status
Health Care Provider Role in Initiating Partner Services
While you are not expected to take on the role of partner notification yourself, it is very helpful for you to educate your patients about Partner Services and its importance in preventing HIV transmission.
For Patients Being Tested for HIV/STDs
- Talk with your patients about Partner Services and let them know that if they test positive for a reportable disease, they may be contacted by someone from the health department.
- Discuss how Partner Services can help your patients and their sexual or drug injection partners through early access to testing, treatment, and other services.
- Emphasize the importance of participating in the Partner Services process as a way to help stop the transmission of HIV/STDs.
- Conduct brief discussions with your patients on how to reduce high-risk sexual and drug-use behaviors.
For People Newly Diagnosed With HIV
If you are seeing a patient for the first time, speak with him or her about Partner Services to determine if partner notification was previously addressed. If not, repeat the same process listed above.
For Patients With HIV
For patients who present with an STD or inform you of high-risk behavior , consider the following:
How Can You Get Hiv
HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus:
- vaginal fluids
For you to get HIV, these bodily fluids need to get into your blood through a mucous membrane , via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin .
There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another.
Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.
A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.
HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.
The main ways you can get HIV are:
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Understanding A Positive Result
What does a positive result mean?
If you use any type of antibody test and have a positive result, you will need another test to confirm your results.
- If you test in a community testing program or take a self-test and its positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing.
- If your test is done in a health care setting or a lab and its positive, the lab will conduct the follow-up testing, usually on the same blood sample as the first test.
If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you have HIV .
It is important that you start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy or ART is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are. HIV medicine works by lowering the amount of virus in your body to very low levels. HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it . HIV medicine slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. If you take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can stay healthy for many years. Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmitting the virus to others. For example, if you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
Getting The Test Result
You’ll usually be told your results in person. The doctor, nurse or health adviser will do another HIV test to confirm the result, assess your current health and refer you to specialist HIV services.
They’ll also talk to you about how you feel and help you think about where you can get support.
The doctor, nurse or health adviser will also talk about safer sex and the importance of using a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex to avoid passing the virus on to a sexual partner.
It’s not unusual to feel shocked and unable to take everything in.
Do not feel you have to remember everything straight away.
You should be given written information, and you can always ask questions of your medical team, a helpline or 1 of the sources of support listed on this page.
Find out as much as you can about HIV, and its treatments and their side effects.
It’ll help you understand the information you’re told about your condition, and help you ask the right questions of the team who provide your care.
Do not rely on information you have heard in the past.
Up-to-date, accurate information is available from national services such as:
Accepting that you’re HIV positive can be the first step in getting on with your life.
“Be honest with yourself,” advises Angela Reynolds from the Terrence Higgins Trust .
“You’ll have this for the rest of your life. But remember that although HIV is not curable, it is treatable.”
- THT: 0808 802 1221
- The Sexual Healthline: 0300 123 7123
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What Does A Positive Hiv Test Result Mean
If you have a positive HIV test result, a follow-up test will be conducted. If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you are HIV-positive.
If you had a rapid screening test, the testing site will arrange a follow-up test to make sure the screening test result was correct. If you used a self-testing kit at home, a positive HIV test result must always be confirmed by additional HIV testing performed in a health care setting. If your blood was tested in a lab, the lab will conduct a follow-up test on the same sample.
If your follow-up test result confirms you are infected with HIV, the next thing is to take steps to protect your health and prevent transmission to others. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy . ART is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day. ART can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to your sex partner if taken the right way, every day. Your health care provider will help you decide what HIV medicines to take.
If you have health insurance, your insurer is required to cover some medicines used to treat HIV. If you dont have health insurance, or you need help because your insurance doesnt pay for the treatment you need, there are Federal resources that may help you.
To lower your risk of transmitting HIV,