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How To Reduce The Risk Of Hiv

How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Hiv To Anyone During Sex

Reduce your risk of HIV

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.

Use Clean Needles And Avoid Sharing Needles

HIV can be transmitted by sharing needles while using intravenous drugs and through accidental needlesticks in a medical setting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that sharing needles results in the transmission of HIV 63 out of every 10,000 times. For accidental pricks, they estimate that 23 out of every 10,000 incidents result in transmission . Theres also a risk of transmission with tattoo needles if theyre not sterilized properly between customers.

How Do I Avoid Getting Hiv During Sex

HIV is spread through contact with blood or sexual fluids , usually during vaginal and anal sex. So the only 100% certain way to avoid HIV is to not have vaginal or anal sex.

But most people do have sex at some point in their lives, so learning about HIV prevention and knowing how to have safer sex is important. Using condoms REALLY lowers your risk of getting HIV. If youre going to have sex, using condoms every single time is the best way to protect yourself from HIV. Theres also a daily pill you can take called PrEP that can help prevent HIV. Your doctor or nurse can tell you if PrEP is right for you.

Some sexual activities are safer than others when it comes to getting HIV. These activities are no risk theyve never caused a reported case of HIV:

  • masturbating

  • having oral sex with a condom or dental dam

  • using clean sex toys

These activities are lower risk theyve only caused a few reported cases of HIV :

  • “French or deep kissing

  • vaginal sex with a condom and/or PrEP

  • anal sex with a condom and/or PrEP

  • oral sex without a condom or dental dam

These activities are high risk millions of people get HIV this way:

  • vaginal sex without a condom or PrEP

  • anal sex without a condom or PrEP

Theres no vaccine that protects against HIV, but lots of people are working on making one. And there are medicines that can help prevent HIV.

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For Intravenous Drugs Or Other Encounters With Needles

Sharing needles with other people or using unsterilized needles to take illegal or IV drugs can increase your chance of contracting HIV and other conditions like hepatitis.

Here are a few methods to lower your chance of contracting HIV if you inject needles into yourself.

7. Dont share needles

Never share needles with another person. You can contract HIV even doing this just one time.

8. Use sterilized needles

You should only inject yourself with sterilized needles. There are helpful ways to make sure your needles are clean. Make sure your needles are:

  • new
  • from reputable sources like a pharmacies or medical suppliers
  • sanitized with bleach

What If I Am Already Infected

Sexually Transmitted Infections

If you already have HIV infection, you can lower the risk of giving the virus to others. Here are some things you can do:

Take your HIV drugs the right way so that they will keep working.

  • Consider not having any sex.

  • If you want to continue having sex, talk honestly with your partner about your HIV status. Ask about his or her HIV status.

  • Keep using condoms with your partner, even if you both have HIV. Use a condom every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

  • If you are a drug user, do not share needles and other drug works.

  • Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant.

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    • Hospitals adhere to strict infection guidelines to prevent the spread of all infections, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
    • The risk of catching HIV from blood transfusions is extremely small – less than one chance in a million.
    • You cannot catch HIV from hospital toilets, crockery or casual contact.

    What Is Your Chance Of Getting Other Infections

    There are other infections besides HIV that can be passed through sex or from sharing equipment for using drugs. Some of the most common sexually transmitted infections are human papillomavirus , herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. You can get hepatitis B through sex and by sharing drug equipment if you havent been vaccinated against it. Hepatitis C can also be passed by sharing drug use equipment. Sexual transmission of hepatitis C is not common, but it is possible under certain circumstances.

    Some HIV prevention methods only help to prevent HIV, and some also help to prevent STIs and other infections. If you are concerned about getting an STI or other infection, you may want to use a method that helps to prevent both HIV and other infections.

    STIs and other infections often do not have symptoms, so the only way to know if you have them is to get tested. Some infections, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and hepatitis C, can be cured, while others, such as hepatitis B and herpes, cant be cured but they can be treated.

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    Get The Proper Prenatal Care Throughout Your Pregnancy

    As we mentioned above, HIV can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or birth. So, if you are pregnant and are HIV positive, get the proper prenatal care during your pregnancy and talk to your doctor to know if vaginal delivery is not a risky option for you.

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    Breast milk is also a fluid which contains HIV. Even though small amounts of it do not carry a high level of risk, HIV-positive mothers should talk to their doctor about spreading HIV to their baby via breast milk.

    There are also reports of children who got infected with HIV by eating food that was previously chewed by an infected person. So, for your babys safety, do not give your baby pre-chewed food.

    What Is Acute Hiv Infection

    Does Antiretroviral Therapy Reduce Risk of HIV Transmission During Condomless Sex?

    There are three stages of HIV infection:

    • Stage 1:Acute HIVinfection
    • Stage 2:Chronic HIV infection
    • Stage 3:AIDS

    Acute HIV infection is the first stage of the infection. Usually within two to four weeks of infection, two-thirds of those with HIV will experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may last for several days or even weeks. However, some people may experience no symptoms at all.

    In this stage, there is a large amount of HIV in your blood, which is known as the viral load. Studies have noted incredibly high viral loads during the acute stage, meaning you are more contagious at this time.

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    Uw Team Researching Device To Reduce The Risk Of Hiv Transmission

    A University of Waterloo professor and his team are in the midst of developing a device to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV.

    Emmanuel Ho, an associate professor at UWs School of Pharmacy, along with his team, is researching an intravaginal ring which is inserted into the female genital tract and delivers two different medications. This is an innovative design compared to previous ring devices as they have only been able to deliver a single medication.

    HIV is an immunodeficiency virus, meaning it will attack and severely weaken the immune system of the host. This allows for other diseases to thrive which may eventually kill the host. Therefore, medications used to stop the transmission of the virus aim to target the immune cells themselves.

    is different from other rings available since we are combining chemotherapy and gene therapy that can further enhance the blockage of HIV to its target cells. Also, the device is designed to deliver the medication only when needed in an effort for a smarter way to control the drug release, said Yannick Traore, a PhD graduate and primary author of the study.

    The device can release two types of medications because of its design. One half of the ring is hollow with small pores to allow the release of hydroxychloroquine over a 25-day period, while the other half of the ring is solid, with a pH sensitive coating which will allow the ring to release a nanomedicine gene therapy during intercourse.

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    Prep: What Is It And How Does It Reduce Hiv Risk And Infection

    Medicine has come a long way since acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was first identified in the 1980s. But while AIDS is treatable, theres still no cure for it. The best way to protect yourself from AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes it, is through prevention. In combination with safe sex and drug use practices, PrEP can prevent you from getting HIV in the first place. Heres everything you need to know about PrEP and how it can reduce your risk of HIV infection.

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    Get Tested For Stis Regularly And Treated If Needed

    Having other sexually transmitted infections may up your odds of getting HIV. Having herpes simplex virus type 2 , for example, is associated with a higher risk of contracting HIV, a systematic review of studies found. Its believed that herpes may increase your odds of HIV infection in two ways: first, by damaging epithelial tissue during outbreaks , and second by bringing more CD4 T-cells into the genital area, which can then be targeted by HIV .

    Are There Risks From Using A Condom To Prevent Hiv

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    Overall, condoms are a highly effective way to help prevent the transmission of HIV through sex. However, there are some risks associated with using condoms that its important to be aware of:

    • Breakage. As we discussed earlier, its possible for condoms to break during sex, which can lead to exposure to bodily fluids containing HIV. When using condoms, always take steps to prevent breakage.
    • Latex allergy. Latex condoms can cause an allergic reaction in people with a latex allergy. To help with this, condoms made from synthetic materials like polyurethane or polyisoprene are also available.
    • Certain STIs. While condoms can prevent HIV and many other STIs when used consistently and correctly, they may not prevent some STIs that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Examples include HPV and genital herpes.

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    Who Is At Risk Of Aids

    HIV is mainly spread through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing syringes or other equipment that involves injections. With that said, according to, there are certain risk factors associated with contracting HIV, these include:

    • Having unprotected sex
    • Certain health problems or sexually transmitted infections
    • Blood transfusions

    Its important to remember that many people with HIV infection may experience little to no symptoms making it easy for the virus to go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Early detection of HIV and the correct HIV treatment and medication is key to going on to live a healthy life, which is why regular screening of your sexual health is crucial. Testing can be done with your local healthcare provider or from home with an at-home lab test.

    LetsGetCheckeds at-home STI Tests detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The blood test for HIV involves a simple finger-prick sample and online results will be available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to provide medical advice, support, and guidance.

    You consider taking a test if:

    • You should also consider getting tested if:
    • You become sexually active
    • You have had unprotected sex
    • You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
    • You are entering into a new sexual relationship
    • You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected

    Keep Taking Your Hiv Medication To Stay Undetectable

    HIV is still in your body when your viral load is suppressed, even when it is undetectable. So, you need to keep taking your HIV medication daily as prescribed. When your viral load stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. If you stop taking HIV medication, your viral load will quickly go back up.

    If you have stopped taking your HIV medication or are having trouble taking all the doses as prescribed, talk to your health care provider as soon as possible. Your provider can help you get back on track and discuss the best strategies to prevent transmitting HIV through sex while you get your viral load undetectable again.

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    Help Make Sure Your Hiv

    If you are HIV negative and in a relationship with somebody who is HIV positive, one thing you can do is help make sure your partner is taking HIV medication. Known as ART, HIV treatment can lower the amounts of virus in the body when taken as prescribed. Eventually, the level of virus may become undetectable, meaning that it is too low for tests to detect it. Research shows that when somebody has an undetectable level of the virus, he or she has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners . Antiretroviral therapy treatment, if taken daily throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery, is also an extremely effective risk reduction for child transmission of the virus. The risk of passing HIV to your baby, if antiretroviral treatment is taken correctly, can 1% or less .

    Consider Pep If Necessary

    Preventing the Spread of HIV Through Injection Drug Use

    PrEP is taken before an encounter thats considered high-risk for contracting HIV, but post-exposure prophylaxis is taken after. PEP requires someone to take antiretroviral therapy after potentially being exposed to HIV in order to prevent becoming infected. You may want to consider talking to your healthcare provider about taking PEP if you may have been exposed to HIV through sex , you were sexually assaulted, or you shared needles. Although PEP needs to be started within 72 hours to prevent infection, the sooner its started, the better. PEP can prevent HIV infection if taken correctly, but its not 100% effective .

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    Early Symptoms In Primary Hiv

    The first noticeable stage is primary HIV infection. This stage is also called acute retroviral syndrome , or acute HIV infection. Because HIV infection at this stage usually causes flu-like symptoms, its possible for someone in this stage to think their symptoms are due to a severe flu rather than HIV. Fever is the most common symptom.

    Other symptoms include:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , primary HIV symptoms may show up two to four weeks after initial exposure. Symptoms can continue for up to several weeks. However, some people may exhibit the symptoms only for a few days.

    People with early HIV sometimes dont show any symptoms, yet they can still transmit the virus to others. This is attributed to the fast, unrestrained viral replication that occurs in the early weeks after contracting the virus.

    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids

    When first infected with HIV, a person may have:

    • fever
    • increased number of infections
    • infections that are more severe than is typical

    Without treatment, HIV can lead to a very weakened immune system and progress to AIDS. Illnesses that happen in AIDS are called AIDS-defining conditions.

    AIDS-defining conditions include:

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    Stage : The Asymptomatic Stage

    Once a person has been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, they can often start to feel better. In fact, HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years .

    However, the virus will still be active, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. HIV can still be passed on during this stage. If left untreated, over time, HIV infection will cause severe damage to the immune system.

    How Effective Are Condoms At Preventing The Sexual Transmission Of Hiv

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    Condoms are a highly effective strategy to help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV when they are used consistently and correctly. They have been well studied in laboratory tests. It has been determined that condoms made of latex, polyurethane, nitrile and polyisoprene are impermeable to HIV, meaning that HIV cannot pass through them.

    Condoms can fail to prevent an exposure to HIV if they break, slip or leak during sex. These types of mechanical condom failures are relatively rare, with studies estimating that external condoms fail between 0.4% and 6.5% of the time and that internal condoms fail between 0.1% and 5.6% of the time.

    In studies of condom breakage, slippage and leakage, it was not possible to know how many participants were using condoms correctly. However, research suggests that rates of condom failure decrease with more frequent condom use and more experiences of previous failure. This evidence all points to the conclusion that over time people learn to use condoms correctly and this reduces failure rates. However, a risk of failure is always possible, even for experienced condom users who use condoms consistently and correctly.

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