Through Blood Transfusions Or Organ Transplants
Currently, HIV infection is rarely transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants.
Since 1985 in most developed countries, all blood collected for transfusion is tested for HIV, and when possible, some blood products are treated with heat to eliminate the risk of HIV infection. The current risk of HIV infection from a single blood transfusion is estimated to be less than 1 in about 2 million in the United States. However, in many developing countries, blood and blood products are not screened for HIV or are not screened as stringently. There, the risk remains substantial.
HIV has been transmitted when organs from infected donors were unknowingly used as transplants. HIV transmission is unlikely to occur when corneas or certain specially treated tissues are transplanted.
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.
How You Become Infected
There is HIV virus in body fluids like vaginal secretions and semen. If those fluids are present, they can enter the bloodstream of someone who doesnt have HIV through an opening such as a mouth sore or a genital ulcer.
Your chances are higher of getting HIV if you:
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Other Types Of Transmission
In the past, HIV was spread by transfusion with blood products, such as whole blood or the “factor” used by hemophiliacs. Many people acquired HIV this way. The blood supply is now much more strictly tested and controlled in most countries. The odds of acquiring HIV from receiving blood or blood factor in countries like the US, the UK, and Canada are extremely low. For example, statistics from the US show that a person is more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than they are to acquire HIV from a blood transfusion. However, not every country screens all blood donations for HIV.
It is also possible to get HIV from skin grafts or transplanted organs taken from people living with HIV. Again, the risk is considered very low, as these “bodily products” must be strictly tested in the same way as blood products. Semen donations collected by sperm banks for artificial insemination are also considered “bodily products” and rigorously tested in high-resource countries. Private semen samples that are not processed by sperm banks or similar organizations may not have been tested. It is important for anyone receiving a private donor’s sperm for artificial insemination to have the donor tested for HIV.
If you are getting breast milk from a milk bank, it is important to ask if the bank tests the milk for HIV. Also, if your baby is getting breast milk from a wet nurse, it is important to make sure that she tests negative for HIV before giving her milk to your baby.
Can You Get Hiv From A Blood Transfusion
Receiving a blood transfusion or other products made from blood is safe in the UK as all blood products have been screened for infections such as HIV since 1985.
In countries that dont have strict checks on the safety of their blood supply, receiving contaminated blood can pass the virus on. This can also happen in countries that dont screen other blood products, organs or sperm.
Giving blood has never been a risk.
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Viral Load & Medications
If someone has HIV, this does not mean that they are restricted to celibacy. Many people with HIV still continue to have safe, enjoyable sex lives without spreading the virus. Always using a condom or barrier method is an important first step to prevent the sharing of HIV containing fluids.
Antiretroviral therapy : Another way to help decrease the risk of spreading HIV is to lower a personâs viral loadâthe amount of HIV in a personâs blood. Viral loads can be lowered using medications called antiretroviral therapy . These medications can lower the HIV viral load so much that HIV may not even be detectable on a blood testâthis is called an undetectable viral load . When a person’s viral load in undetectable, they have effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to a non-infected partner . Taking these medication will help keep a person with HIV healthy while also helping prevent the spread of HIV to another person. This is not a cure, however. If medication is taken incorrectly or stopped, HIV viral loads will increase again and transmission can occur. Condoms and other barrier methods should still always be used during sex .
Lowering The Risk Of Sexual Transmission
There are several protective measures which dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission during sex. You can find out more about these on other pages.
Undetectable viral load: when people with HIV take effective treatment, the amount of HIV in their body fluids falls drastically, to the point where they cannot pass HIV on to their sexual partners. An extremely low level of HIV in body fluids is referred to as an undetectable viral load. The knowledge that this prevents transmission is often referred to ‘Undetectable equals Untransmittable’ .
PrEP: if the HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medications as pre-exposure prophylaxis , this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV. The most common form of PrEP is in a tablet, but it can also be provided as a vaginal ring or an injection.
Condoms: if male condoms or female condoms are used, this significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV.
Male circumcision: if you are circumcised, this partially lowers your risk of acquiring HIV during vaginal sex.
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What Are The Chances Of Becoming Infected With Hiv If My Partner Doesn’t Come Inside Me
Whilst research suggests that high concentrations of HIV can sometimes be detected in pre cum, 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 – sex with a condom from start to finish.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
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Am I At Higher Risk If I Have Sex With A Member Of The Same Sex
HIV is transmitted sexually regardless of your sexual preference. Note however, that worldwide there is a higher prevalence of the virus in certain groups because of their sexual practices and therefore having unsafe sex with someone from one of these groups places you at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, and people who have a sexually transmitted infection are examples of such groups.
Am I At Risk Of Becoming Infected With Hiv When Visiting The Doctor Or Dentist
Transmission of HIV in a health care setting is extremely rare. All health professionals are required to follow infection control procedures when caring for any patient. These procedures are called Universal Precautions for infection control. They are designed to protect both patients and health care professionals from the transmission of blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
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Rare Ways Hiv Is Transmitted
Activities that seldom, but can, lead to HIV transmission include:
- oral sex
There are a number of methods that reduce the risk of contracting HIV:
- use condoms or other forms of barrier protection during sexual contact
- never sharing needles for injectable drugs or medications
- get tested regularly for HIV and other STIs
If a person is living with HIV, consider the above precautions and take additional measures. Following an antiretroviral medication regimen can reduce viral load and reduce the likelihood of transmission to others.
Another way to reduce the spread of HIV is by taking pre-exposure prophylactic medications. Also, post-exposure prophylaxis can be used to prevent HIV infection if someone is exposed to the virus.
Factors Affecting Hiv Transmission
The Presence of Other STDs
The presence of other sexually transmitted diseases increases the risk for HIV transmission, because the infected person may have a much larger number of HIV-infected white blood cells present at the site of infection. The infected persons immune system may be less able to suppress or combat HIV infection. Lesions from STDs break down the protective surface of the skin or mucous membrane, which makes the infected person more vulnerable to other infections.
The presence of a co-infection with other STDs increases the risk of HIV transmission because:
- STDs like syphilis and symptomatic herpes can cause breaks in the skin, which provide direct entry for HIV.
- Inflammation from STDs, such as chlamydia, makes it easier for HIV to enter and infect the body.
- HIV is often detected in the pus or other discharge from genital ulcers of HIV-infected men and women.
- Sores can bleed easily and come into contact with vaginal, cervical, oral, urethral, and rectal tissues during sex.
- Inflammation appears to increase HIV viral shedding and the viral load in genital secretions.
Use of Non-Injecting Drugs
Gender and Equality Issues
In some cultures, females are not encouraged to learn about their bodies, sex, birth control, or sexuality topics, while some other cultures promote the value of the male having multiple sexual partners but discourage the same behavior in females. Gender inequality places women at risk for contacting HIV.
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Causes Of Hiv Infection
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk.
It’s a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.
HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
The chance of getting HIV through oral sex is very low and will be dependent on many things, such as whether you receive or give oral sex and the oral hygiene of the person giving the oral sex.
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.
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Strategies For Preventing The Transmission Of Hiv
Condoms made of latex provide good protection against HIV , but they are not foolproof. Oil-based lubricants should not be used because they may dissolve latex, reducing the condom’s effectiveness.
Other measures can help. For men, circumcision, an inexpensive, safe procedure, reduces the risk of becoming infected during vaginal intercourse with an infected woman by about half. Whether circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in other circumstances is unclear. Because circumcision provides only partial protection against HIV infection, people should also use other measures to prevent HIV infection. For example, if either partner has a sexually transmitted disease or HIV infection, it should be treated, and condoms should be used correctly and consistently.
Occupational Exposure To Bloodborne Pathogens
Occupational exposure means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infected materials that may result from the performance of an employees duties.
Exposure incident means a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or OPIM that results from the performance of an employees duties. Examples of non-intact skin at risk include skin with dermatitis, hangnails, cuts, abrasions, chafing, or acne.
Occupational groups that have been widely recognized as having potential exposure to HBV/HCV/HIV include, but are not limited to, healthcare employees, law enforcement, fire, ambulance, and other emergency response, and public service employees.
The compliance directive of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration on occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, CPL 2-2.69, may be consulted for guidance. For more information or assistance, contact a Department of Labor and Industries consultant in your area. Check the blue government section of the phone book for the office nearest you.
Test Your Learning
Blood and OPIM
Bodily fluids that have been recognized and linked to the transmission of HIV, HBV, and HCV, and to which Standard Precautions apply, are:
- Amniotic fluid
- Saliva in dental procedures
- Specimens with concentrated HIV, HBV and HCV viruses
Exposure Control Plan
Bloodborne Pathogens Training
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Can Hiv Be Contacted Through The Eyes
Theoretically, it is possible for someone to get infected with HIV through mucous membranesincluding their eye. But in reality, it just doesnt happen. Since the 1990s, possible HIV transmissions through the ocular membrane have been suspected in several occupational exposures such as lab researchers and nurses.
Do Doctors Have To Tell Patients They Have Hiv
When disclosure is appropriate or required, physicians should disclose HIV/AIDS information, which is protected health information, in accordance with its extremely confidential nature as required by city, state, and federal laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
Receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. Being bitten by a person with HIV. Contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hiv And Aids
When first infected with HIV, a person may have:
- 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:
- very fast and severe weight loss
- a lung infection called pneumocystis pneumonia
- Kaposi sarcoma
Transmission Of Hiv Infection
The transmission of HIV requires contact with a body fluid that contains the virus or cells infected with the virus. HIV can appear in nearly any body fluid, but transmission occurs mainly through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. Although tears, urine, and saliva may contain low concentrations of HIV, transmission through these fluids is extremely rare, if it occurs at all.
HIV is not transmitted by casual contact or by close, nonsexual contact at work, school, or home. No case of HIV transmission has been traced to the coughing or sneezing of an infected person or to a mosquito bite. Transmission from an infected doctor or dentist to a patient is extremely rare.
HIV is usually transmitted in the following ways:
HIV is more likely to be transmitted if skin or a mucous membrane is torn or damagedeven if minimally.
In the United States, Europe, and Australia, HIV has been transmitted mainly through men who have sex with men and the sharing of needles among people who inject drugs, but transmission through heterosexual contact accounts for about one fourth of cases. HIV transmission in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia occurs primarily between heterosexuals, and HIV infection occurs equally among men and women. In the United States, fewer than 25% of adults who have HIV infection are women. Before 1992, most American women with HIV were infected by injecting drugs with contaminated needles, but now most are infected through heterosexual contact.
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