What Is Hiv And What Is Aids
HIV/AIDS are widely known as incurable sexually transmitted diseases, but you might not know the difference between these acronyms and what they stand for.
For simplicityâs sake, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
If a person takes a blood test and receives a diagnosis of HIV, then they are HIV positiveâif a person does not have HIV, then they are HIV negative. HIV causes havoc in a personâs body by weakening their immune system . HIV progressively destroys the cellular part of the immune systemâparticularly types of white blood cells called CD4 cellsâwhich, over time, makes the person become immunodeficient .
As the HIV infection develops in the body, the person will become more and more immunodeficient until they reach a point where they are classified as having Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . This is often the end stage of an HIV infection, where a personâs body is so immunodeficient that they develop infections, diseases, or cancers and are no longer able to mount a immune defense and fight them off .
There is no cure for HIV . But, if a person does become infected with HIV there are treatments available which can help keep a person healthy.
How To Prevent Hiv
Now that you know how HIV is spread, that saliva is not one of the probable routes and more details about this virus, it only remains to know the details about how to prevent HIV . To do this, we must take into account the three real transmission routes that we have discussed.
If we want to make sure we avoid the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, the first thing is, if you are a pregnant woman, you know that you are infected, you should talk to the doctors immediately to have an exhaustive control of the pregnancy so that there are no complications due to the lowering of defenses progressive. In addition, as soon as you have the little one you should never breastfeed to feed it, since breast milk can spread the virus and you will have to use powdered formula or look for a nurse.
Regarding sexual transmission, the main thing to avoid being infected is to reduce the number of sexual partners, make sure to always use a condom , get to know the other person with whom you have sexual encounters and their state of health and, of course, have tests of STDs as well as specific to detect HIV such as ELISA and PCR tests .
In case of being positive in an HIV test, it is necessary to communicate it to the couple and other people with whom they have had relationships for a long period of time, since the first stage is asymptomatic and you can have the virus without being aware of this and that it has been around for a long time.
How To Reduce The Risk
Although the risk of HIV passing to another person through oral sex is low, people can take steps to reduce it further.
For example, people with HIV can avoid ejaculating in the mouth of their sexual partner. They can do this by using a condom or withdrawing the penis before ejaculation.
A dental dam is another option. This is a small latex or silicone sheet that a person places over the vagina, anus, or mouth during sex.
Flossing or brushing the teeth can cause the gums to bleed, so it might also help to avoid this right before sexual activity.
People without HIV can take additional steps to avoid transmission, including:
- taking pre-exposure prophylaxis medication beforehand
- using condoms or dental dams correctly during all sexual activities
- avoiding lubricants with an oil base, such as Vaseline or baby oil
- taking post-exposure prophylaxis within a couple of days after the sexual contact
- getting regular sexual health checkups
People with HIV should take antiretroviral medication exactly as their doctor recommends.
In the early stages of HIV, people might experience:
- a fever
- rashes that are not itchy
- aching muscles
- swollen glands, or lymph nodes
- oral sores
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.
Can I Infect My Unborn Child If I Am Positive
Women with HIV can transmit the virus to their fetus. However, the use of special drugs, during pregnancy and at birth, can help reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
For this reason it is important that every pregnant woman takes an HIV antibody-test. Medicines that reduce the chance of infection for the child are available for all pregnant women that are HIV infected and live on St. Maarten. It does not matter if you are insured, non-insured, legal or illegal on the island. Sometimes it is advised to repeat this test later during the pregnancy. Steps to prevent HIV transmission to the baby can be taken even if very late in the pregnancy.
For additional information you can check with your doctor or Dr. van Osch at Union Road Medical Clinic. More information on HIV and pregnancy can be found here.
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Where Did Myths About Hiv Come From
The early 1980s were a scary time for people living with HIV. By the spring of 1983, scientists had identified the virus responsible for a mysterious illness called acquired immune deficiency syndrome , but they didnt understand how it passed from person to person.
Initially, some researchers speculated this new infection could be passed through casual contact or even through the air, like tuberculosis. Others theorized it might be hitching a ride with mosquitoes or other insects, like malaria.
But the damage had already been done. Myths about HIV transmission had already taken root, and these myths continue to make life difficult for the 1.1 million people living with HIV today in the United States.
Today we have a solid scientific understanding of HIV transmission. We know that HIV can only be transmitted in very limited circumstances, such as sexual contact or needle sharing. And we have a much better understanding of the way that viral loadthat is, the amount of HIV in a persons bloodstreaminfluences their chances of passing on the virus.
You can use this information to educate yourself, your friends, and your community about the real risk of HIV transmission.
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.
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Are You Concerned You May Have Contracted Hiv
We hope that by answering common questions like, Can HIV be transmitted through saliva? you now feel a lot more secure about how you can and cannot get it.
Sometimes though, you just want to be tested to know for sure.
We understand that the thought of getting an HIV test can be intimidating and frightening.
However, there are trained counselors on staff at these testing centers to help you no matter what the test results are.
to learn where to find testing centers in your area, and keep checking in with our blog for more tips on how to live a healthy and safe life.
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
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How Hiv Is Spread
The most common way that HIV is spread is through sexual intercourse, including oral and anal sex.
The virus can also be spread through sharing needles, and it can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
But steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of HIV being passed on to a baby, making transmission in this way rare in the UK.
For example, the risk of transmission can be reduced by:
- giving antiretroviral medication to a mother and her newborn baby
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Aids Phobia And Conspiracy Theorists
With that being said, there are people who still fear that infection is possible from the unlikely sources, including touching, mosquitos, shared grooming products, and, kissing. AIDS phobia, the paralyzing and unreasonable fear of HIV, plays a huge part in these beliefs. At other times, a person may prescribe to contrarian view about HIV or are simply misinformed about HIV in general.
For these individuals, counseling with a qualified professional may be needed as well as psychotherapy for those experiencing extreme anxiety or depression. Additionally, if the person is at risk of acquiring HIV or in a mixed-status relationship, doctors may want to consider prescribing HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis , a once-daily pill that can reduce the risk of HIV by more than 90%.
HIV Doctor Discussion Guide
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Other Types Of Hiv Transmission
Though less common, the virus can be transmitted through oral sex, transfusions of infected blood, and organ transplants. In rare cases, HIV can be transmitted when infected blood touches a persons open wound or comes into contact with a persons eyes.
The transmission of the virus through oral sex is less common than through any other sexual behavior. However, there still remains a risk. An HIV infected person providing oral sex can transmit the virus when blood in their mouth enters their partners body via the following ways: the lining of the vagina, urethra, anus or in open wounds and cuts. Conversely, an HIV positive person receiving oral sex may pass bodily fluids containing the virus through the mouth of the non-infected partner performing oral sex. This risk is heightened if the non-infected individual performing oral sex has wounds in the throat and/or mouth, if the HIV infected individual ejaculates in his/her partners mouth or if the person receiving oral sex has a sexually transmitted disease . Refraining from sexual behavior is the most successful method in preventing HIV. However, should an individual opt to engage in oral sex, it is strongly recommended that condoms and/or latex barriers are used.
How Could Hiv Infect The Mouth And Throat
HIV is not able to infect most cells in the mouth. Only one cell type found in the mouth is vulnerable to HIV infection .
The tissue of the mouth and oesophagus is also very thick compared with genital tissues, and fluids stay in contact with it for a very short time because swallowing clears the mouth regularly. The mouth is therefore generally regarded as an unlikely route of HIV transmission.
Saliva contains numerous factors that have been found to inhibit HIV and stomach acid is likely to inactivate HIV in the same way as other viruses .
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Can Kissing An Hiv Positive Person Cause An Hiv Infection
No, a person cannot spread HIV through kissing. Although HIV can be present in very small amounts in saliva, there are proteins and enzymes found naturally in saliva which reduce the infectiousness of HIV, making it impossible for the virus to spread through kissing.
HIV can only survive in certain body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucous and breast milk â HIV spreads through the exchange of these bodily fluids. Sexual intercourse, including oral and anal sex, without the use of a condom is the most common way that HIV spreads. HIV can also spread by sharing needles with someone who is infected with the virus, and very rarely it can be passed from an HIV positive pregnant woman to her unborn baby.
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last three days, you should contact our local sexual health clinic immediately to get PEP, that can prevent infection even after exposure, if taken within 72 hours. If you believe the exposure might have happened earlier, make sure to consider the window period before taking an HIV test.
How Long Can Hiv Survive Outside The Human Body
Generally the fragile nature of the virus prevents it from surviving for a substantial amount of time in the open air. The length of time HIV can survive outside the body is dependent on the amount of HIV present in the body fluid and the conditions the fluid is subjected to.
Note that HIV is fragile and many common substances such as hot liquid, soap, bleach, alcohol, and the gastric juices found within your stomach can destroy the virus.
Your skin is a 100% proof barrier against HIV. The virus cannot enter your skin unless there is an open bleeding wound. If you get blood on your skin, simply wash with water and soap. There is no need to scrub because this might damage the skin.
It is good practice to be careful with any blood spill, because one can never tell if the person it came from has HIV or other blood borne infections. You can safely clean such blood spills with water and Clorox.
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Oral Sex And Hiv Acquisition
Oral sex is not likely to transmit HIV under most circumstances. Many large studies have shown that a person living with HIV who takes HIV drugs and has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to their sexual partners. This includes any kind of sex, including oral sex and sex without using condoms or barriers. This reality is known in the HIV community as Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, or U=U.
When a person living with HIV is not on treatment, oral sex is still a low-risk activity for HIV. If a person is not taking HIV drugs and/or has a detectable viral load, that low chance of transmission is greater if one of the partners has bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, gum disease, genital sores, and other sexually transmitted infections or diseases .
A number of studies have tried to figure out the exact level of HIV transmission risk that oral sex poses, but this is not easy to do. When HIV is transmitted, it is difficult to tell if oral sex or another activity that poses more risk was responsible.
The chances of HIV being passed from one person to another depend on the type of contact. HIV is most easily spread or transmitted through unprotected anal sex, unprotected vaginal sex, and sharing injection drug equipment that has not been cleaned. Unprotected sex means sex in which no condoms, other barriers, or HIV treatment-as-prevention methods are used.
For HIV transmission to be possible:
Can Hiv Be Spread Through Saliva
The HIV virus is not capable of reproduction outside the human body. Therefore, despite fears that HIV could be spread through kissing or through saliva, it cant. The virus also cannot be transmitted via the following: tears, air, water, and sharing utensils. HIV is often transmitted between people through the following fluids: vaginal fluid/secretions, semen, preseminal fluid, blood and breast-milk
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Tattoos And Body Piercings
- There are no known cases in the United States of anyone getting HIV this way.
- However, it is possible to get HIV from tattooing or body piercing if the equipment used for these procedures has someone elses blood in it or if the ink is shared. This is more likely to happen when the person doing the procedure is unlicensed because of the potential for unsanitary practices such as sharing needles or ink.
- If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, be sure that the person doing the procedure is properly licensed and that they use only new or sterilized needles, ink, and other supplies.
If I Get Infected Fluid From An Hiv
No, HIV is not always passed on from someone living with HIV. There are lots of reasons why this is the case. For example, if the HIV-positive person is on effective treatment it will reduce the amount of HIV in their body. If a doctor confirms that the virus has reached undetectable levels it means there is no risk of passing it on.
If youre concerned that youve been exposed to HIV you may be eligible to take post-exposure prophylaxis , which stops the virus from becoming an infection. However its not available everywhere and has to be taken within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.
Its really important to take a HIV test every time you think you have been at risk of HIV.
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