How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Hiv
- Get tested for HIV. Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex. Use this testing locator from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find an HIV testing location near you.
- Choose less risky sexual behaviors. HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or without taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV.
- Use condoms every time you have sex. Read this fact sheet from CDC on how to use condoms correctly.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with poorly controlled HIV or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease . Both of these factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
- Get tested and treated for STDs. Insist that your partners get tested and treated, too. Having an STD can increase your risk of getting HIV or spreading it to others.
- Talk to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis . PrEP is an HIV prevention option for people who don’t have HIV but who are at risk of getting HIV. PrEP involves taking a specific HIV medicine every day to reduce the risk of getting HIV through sex or injection drug use. For more information, read the ClinicalInfo fact sheet on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis .
- Don’t inject drugs. But if you do, use only sterile drug injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others.
Stay Away From Illegal Drugs
Youâre at high risk for HIV if you share needles or syringes with others. The safest thing to do is to not share needles. Use only new, sterile needles. Some drugstores even sell them without a prescription. If you canât get fresh needles, you can clean used needles with bleach, but you still have a chance of getting HIV from them. Though injected illegal drugs are the most dangerous, any type of recreational drug use can raise your risk. This is because they lower your inhibitions and make it more likely youâll have unprotected sex. This raises your chances of getting HIV. If you do use drugs, always carry condoms.
How Do You Know If You Have Hiv
HIV often has no symptoms, so the only way to know whether or not you have HIV is to get tested.
If you dont know your HIV status, get an HIV test. If your test is positive, you can begin taking HIV treatment that will help you stay healthy and prevent passing HIV to others. If your test is negative, you have lots of prevention strategies to choose from to help you stay negative.
When you get tested for HIV, you can also get tested for sexually transmitted infections and other infections such as hepatitis C. Talk to a healthcare provider about how often you should test.
You can get an HIV test from your family doctor or find another place to get a test in your area by checking HIV411.ca.
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How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Hiv To Anyone During Sex
If you find out that you have HIV, try to stay calm. People living with HIV can have normal, healthy relationships and sex lives. But its important to take precautions to help your partner stay HIV-free.
There are a few ways that you can avoid giving HIV to other people:
Always use condoms when you have vaginal and anal sex.
Start treatment for HIV as soon as possible, and keep taking your HIV medicine. When you take it correctly, HIV treatment can lower or even stop your chances of spreading the virus to your sexual partners .
Theres a daily pill your partner can take to lower the risk of getting HIV, called PrEP.
Dont share needles for shooting drugs, piercings, or tattoos.
Get tested and treated for other STDs besides HIV regularly. Having other STDs makes it easier for you to spread HIV to others.
If you test positive for HIV, its important to tell your sexual partners about it so they can be tested, too. Even if youre really careful to not spread HIV, be honest with your future partners about your status so you can both be informed and help each other stay healthy. Read more about talking with your partners about HIV.
Dont Inject Drugs But If You Do Dont Share Equipment
Anytime you share a needle with someone, whether youre injecting steroids, hormones, or drugs, youre at risk of HIV and other blood infections. And its not just the needle and syringe that can transmit the virus you can also get HIV by sharing the water thats used to clean the equipment or reusing filters and other containers. Thats because the equipment or water could contain blood and, therefore, the virus itself.
The best thing you can do if you use drugs is to seek treatment. For example, if you use heroin, joining a methadone program could help you manage your addiction without the use of needles, lowering your risk of HIV.
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How Can I Prevent Hiv Transmission And Stds During Anal Sex
Unprotected anal sex with a person who has HIV or another STD, or whose HIV or STD status you do not know, is the highest-risk sexual activity for both men and women. The walls of the anus and rectum are thin and have many blood vessels than can be injured during anal sex. Injured tissue in the anus and rectum can expose you to HIV and other STDs. Male latex condoms used with a water-based lubricant reduces the chance of tissue and skin tearing and lowers the risk of transmitting disease during anal sex. However, even with lubrication, male condoms fail more often during anal sex than during vaginal or oral sex. Female condoms should not be used for anal sex, as they do not provide adequate protection. Because use of the female condom during anal sex requires removal of the inner ring, the female condom is unlikely to stay in place during anal intercourse.
Who Prep Is For
PrEP is recommended for any person who may come into contact with HIV and is at-risk of transmission. The Center for Disease Control recommends you should consider taking PrEP if you meet any of the following criteria- which are considered risk factors of HIV transmission:
- Have had a sexual partner within the last six months who is HIV-positive or whose HIV status is unknown.
- Have had sex without proper use of a condom or had a condom break during sex.
- Have had sex with a partner who was diagnosed with an STD within the past six months.
- Have injected drugs or shared needles, syringes, or other types of equipment with a partner who is HIV-positive.
- Considering getting pregnant with a partner with HIV.
Currently, there are two types of PrEP that are FDA-approved for HIV prevention: Truvada and Descovy.
- Truvada is approved for HIV prevention in adults and adolescents of all genders.
- Descovy is currently only available for cisgender males and transgender females.
Both of these medications have been deemed to be equally effective, but they do exhibit varying side effects. Ultimately, it is up to you and your doctor to determine which PrEP medication is the best choice for you.
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How Can I Prevent Hiv Transmission And Stds During Oral Sex
Although oral sex presents less of a risk for HIV and some STDs than vaginal or anal sex, the risk still exists. Herpes is commonly passed between genitals and the mouth, and you can get a bacterial infection in your mouth or throat from an STD. The risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is low, but people have been infected this way. Oral sex can be made safer by using a latex barrier. For oral sex performed on a man, a non-lubricated condom is recommended. For oral sex performed on a woman, a dental dam , a non-lubricated condom that is cut open or a plastic wrap can be used to cover the vagina. Oral-anal sex is a high-risk activity that may be made safer by using a dental dam.
Use Condoms And Dental Dams
Barrier methods, including condoms and dental dams, remain a tried-and-true method of preventing HIV transmission between sex partners, because they create a physical barrier that prevents the exchange of sexual fluid.
Plus, they have another added bonus: They prevent the transmission of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and other STIs.
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How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost
Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.
What We Know About Pep
PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV. PEP is safe but may cause side effects like nausea in some people. These side effects can be treated and arent life threatening.
More Information In 1996, the US Public Health Service released recommendations on the use of PEP among health care personnel exposed to HIV by getting stuck with a needle that had been used with an HIV-positive patient. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for using PEP to prevent HIV infection among people who are exposed to HIV through sex or drug use.
Your health care provider will test you for HIV before prescribing PEP to make sure you dont already have it and may test you for up to 6 months after you begin taking PEP to be sure you stay HIV-negative.
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Seven Ways To Prevent Hiv
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You likely know about tried and true methods to help you prevent getting HIV, such as using condoms when having sex and new equipment when using drugs. But did you know that there are also newer approaches like using HIV medications to prevent HIV? With so many choices, its not always easy to know which prevention method to use and when.
This resource can help you decide which HIV prevention method will work best for you.
How Is Hiv Treated
Australians can live well with HIV. Treatments have changed over time, dramatically improving the quality and length of life for someone who is HIV positive.
It is also important to have a strong support network. Evidence suggests that involving others can improve your mental health and wellbeing and help you maintain treatment.
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What We Know About Male Condoms
Condoms are very effective at reducing risk for getting or transmitting HIV if you use them the right way every time you have sex. Latex condoms provide the best protection against HIV. Polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms are good options for people with latex allergies, but plastic ones break more often than latex ones. Natural membrane condoms have small holes in them, so they don’t block HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases .
Theoretically, condoms can be highly effective for preventing HIV if you use them the right way every time you have sex. But in the real world, condoms sometimes break or slip, and are less effective for preventing HIV. Studies show that for people who report using male condoms the right way every time, male condoms are about 63% effective for preventing HIV through insertive anal sex , 72% effective for preventing HIV through receptive anal sex and 80% effective for preventing HIV through vaginal sex.
Condoms can also help prevent other STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV , genital herpes, and syphilis.
Be Aware Of Emergency Pep
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV and youre not taking PrEP, there is another way to protect yourselfbut you need to act fast.
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It is essentially a “morning after pill” for HIV.
If you had condomless sex, were sexually assaulted, or shared needles or syringes with someone who might have HIV, you can visit a health care provider, clinic, or the nearest emergency room and ask for PEP, and it should prevent the infection from spreading through your body.
The snag with PEP is that you need to start taking it within three days of the potential exposure for it to be effective. Once you start a course of PEP, youll continue taking it every day for one month.
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How Much Does Hiv Prevention Medication Cost
The cost of a 30-day supply of PrEP is around $2,000. The government is working to make this medication more affordable and even free for people who are at risk of HIV transmission.
Check to see if PrEP is covered by your health insurance provider. Most health insurance companies do cover the costs of PrEP medication. A law was recently passed that provides anyone with private health insurance complete coverage for PrEP at no cost. PrEP is also covered by Medicaid and Medicare.
If you do not have insurance or it does not cover the complete cost, you can apply for financial assistance from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
You may also qualify for Gileads Advancing Access Program based on your income, and there is an Advancing Access Co-Pay Coupon available to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
Reducing Perinatal Transmission In Resource
Efforts in resource-limited settings to introduce antiretroviral agents for perinatal prevention have resulted in a marked decrease in perinatal HIV transmission. Although numerous challenges remain, 7 out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV worldwide receive antiretroviral drugs, according to the World Health Organization . NIAID-funded studies have helped identify antiretroviral drug regimens that are effective, affordable, and relatively easy to administer in resource-limited settings.
The NIAID-funded Six-Week Extended Nevirapine studies, conducted in Ethiopia, India, and Uganda, found that giving uninfected infants born to mothers living with HIV a regimen of nevirapine for the first six weeks of life cut the rate of HIV transmission by breastfeeding by almost half when compared with a single dose of nevirapine given at birth. Moreover, at six months, the risk of postnatal HIV infection or death for babies who received nevirapine for six weeks was nearly one-third less than that for infants given only a single dose. The PEPI-Malawi study, sponsored by NIHs National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and CDC, found that giving nevirapine daily to breastfeeding infants from 7 days to 14 weeks of age cut the rate of HIV transmission by half for up to nine months.
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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.
Effective Ways To Prevent Hiv/aids
The human immunodeficiency virus destroys immune cells which fight infection. This makes it difficult for your body to fight off infections and certain kinds of cancer. Without proper treatment, an HIV infection can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, a stage where your immune system is seriously damaged and you get a number of severe illnesses known as opportunistic infections.1
HIV spreads through contact with body fluids like blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, or breast milk from an infected person. In the United States, this virus is mostly spread by having sex with or sharing syringes or other injection equipment with someone who is infected. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during the course of the pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or during childbirth.2 Although the number of people being infected with HIV has been declining, it still remains a cause of concern with thousands of new cases being diagnosed every year.3 But take heart, there are things you can do to protect yourself from this dangerous infection.
Here are some ways to keep yourself safe.
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Identifying Optimal Strategies To Prevent Perinatal Transmission
In 2010, NIAID helped launch the PROMISE study, a multinational clinical trial that aims to determine the optimal antiretroviral regimen for reducing HIV transmission during pregnancy and breastfeeding and preserving the health of both mother and child. The study is being conducted in both high- and low-resource countries.
In late 2014, NIAID announced interim results from the PROMISE study. The findings strongly support the recommendation by WHO and most countries to provide a three-drug anti-HIV regimen to all pregnant women with HIV infection.
PROMISE compared a regimen of zidovudine given as early as 14 weeks into the pregnancy, a single dose of nevirapine during labor, and two weeks of tenofovir and emtricitabine after delivery with giving women one of two triple antiretroviral drug regimens . Only 0.5 to 0.6 percent of infants whose mothers received the triple-drug combinations in Option B/B+ became infected with HIV, while 1.8 percent of infants whose mothers received Option A became infected.
The PROMISE study is ongoing, and NIAID continues to support and conduct research to identify the best ways to prevent perinatal HIV transmission while assuring the benefits of antiretroviral therapy for mother and baby.