Risk Factors In Women
The risk of HIV from unprotected vaginal sex is higher among women for a number of reasons. From a physiological standpoint, the tissues of the vagina are far more susceptible to HIV than those of the penis.
HIV is able to pass through these tissues when the immune system recognizes the invading virus and send defensive cells to “grab and drag” them through the lining to be destroyed.
Instead, HIV turns the table and attacks the very cells meant to help neutralize them. By doing so, the body helps facilitate its own infection. And, because the surface area of the vaginal epithelium is far greater than that of the male urethra, the opportunity for infection is increased, often exponentially.
Other physiological vulnerabilities include:
While the daily use of an HIV drug called pre-exposure prophylaxis can dramatically decrease the risk of HIV in an uninfected partner, there is evidence that works less well in women. Research published in 2016 suggests the level of the active drug molecule in vaginal tissue isn’t near as high as in rectal tissue.
None of this, of course, takes into account any of the social vulnerabilities that can place women at increased risk. These include sexual violence in relationships which not only steals a woman’s chance for self-protection but can result in damage to delicate vaginal tissue.
Hsv1 & Hsv2 Incubation Periods
The herpes simplex virus can cause sores to appear around the mouth, genitals, and other areas of the body. These sores are both irritating and highly infectious, and direct contact with them is one of the main methods for transmitting herpes. Because the virus can spread through kissing, skin-to-skin contact, and oral, anal, and vaginal sex, it is very common. Herpes comes in two forms: HSV-1 and HSV-2, which are sometimes known respectively as oral herpes and genital herpes, despite that neither type of herpes exclusively affects a single region. Many unknowingly carry herpes infections without issue, but there is treatment available to manage extreme cases for those who need it. It is best to wait 4-6 weeks after the potential first exposure to be tested. 9)
Probability Of Getting Hiv From One Encounter
You have much higher odds of getting HIV from a blood transfusion than from unprotected sex. Nonetheless, unprotected sex definitely comes with risk and can cause you to get HIV from just one time with an infected person. How likely is it to get HIV from one encounter? The odds of getting HIV from vaginal sex to the female are 1 in 1,250 in high-income countries and 1 in 333 in low-income countries. For men, its 1 in 2,500 in high-income countries and 1 in 263 in low-income countries.
You also have the chance of HIV infection from one encounter through anal sex. For this type of penetrative sex, there are certain factors that impact the risk. The risk is 1 in 70 for the receptive partner with ejaculation or 1 in 154 without ejaculation. For the insertive partner, the odds are 1 in 161 when uncircumcised or 1 in 909 when circumcised.
Also Check: How To Treat Hiv Patients
Putting A Number On It: The Risk From An Exposure To Hiv
This information was provided by CATIE . For more information, contact CATIE at 1-800-263-1638.
Author: James Wilton
Service providers working in HIV prevention are often asked by their patients and clients about the risk of HIV transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. What do the latest studies tell us about this risk? And how should we interpret and communicate the results?
Why Do Have To Wait This Long After Unprotected To Get Tested For Hiv
There is a variable time frame of assessment for the infection because it is caused by a viral pathogen. Viruses cannot always be detected when the individual is first exposed to them. It is only after they become active in the body that their presence can be successfully detected.
Thus, different tests can pick up the HIV strain under different time frames. Each of these tests interrogates the presence or absence of the HIV strain in a different way. This helps them ascertain whether the patient is positive or negative.
The Nucleic Acid Test studies the amount of virus in the blood sample provided to the lab. This viral load is then used to determine whether the patient is deemed to be positive or negative. This means that the virus has to be given at least a week or two to activate itself in the hosts body to increase the viral load to a point where its detectable through a NAT procedure.
Similarly, the combination test detects the antigens and antibodies produced by the immune system of the individual against the virus. This is visible only after 2 weeks of the initial exposure. Double testing is done from 2 to 6 weeks of unprotected intercourse to ensure the absence of HIV. The Rapid Antibody Test also functions in a similar way. Within 3 to 12 weeks of exposure, there are enough antibodies produced by the patient to be detectable through screening.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Find Out You Have Hiv
If You Dont Know You Or Your Partners Hiv Status
If you are negative and dont know your partners status, it is always better to assume they are HIV positive.
If you dont know your own HIV status, also assume you are HIV positive. This is so you dont put anyone at risk.
Rather than assuming your partners are negative, this will stop you taking risks that you are not happy with.
This will help you feel in control during sex. It should stop you feeling anxious or worried afterwards.
Your HIV status is only as accurate as your last test result. This needs to include any risks you took in the window period before the test. It also needs to include any risks you have taken since.
How Can I Get Tested
To get tested, you can:
- Ask your doctor to test you.
- Go to a local clinic or community health center.
- Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
- Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Read Also: Is Hiv Easy To Catch
How Can You Prevent Getting Or Transmitting Hiv Through Sex
There are several ways to prevent getting or transmitting HIV through anal or vaginal sex.
If you have HIV, the most important thing you can do to prevent transmission and stay healthy is to take your HIV medicine , every day, exactly as prescribed. People living with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners. Read more about Treatment as Prevention. There also are other options to choose from, below.
Should You Get Tested For Hiv If You Dont Think Youre At High Risk
Some people who test positive for HIV were not aware of their risk. That’s why CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and that people with certain risk factors should get tested more often .
Even if you are in a monogamous relationship , you should find out for sure whether you or your partner has HIV.
You May Like: How Long Can Hiv Lay Dormant
Who Should Consider Taking Pep
If you are HIV-negative and you think you may have been recently exposed to HIV, contact your health care provider immediately or go to an emergency room right away.
You may be prescribed PEP if you are HIV negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you
- Think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex,
- Shared needles or drug preparation equipment, OR
- Were sexually assaulted
Your health care provider or emergency room doctor will help to decide whether PEP is right for you.
PEP may also be given to a health care worker after a possible exposure to HIV at work, for example, from a needlestick injury.
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.
Read Also: Can Hiv Be Transferred Through Saliva
How Can Testing Help You
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV . People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed can live long and healthy lives. Theres also an important prevention benefit. If you take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- If you test negative, you have more prevention tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If an HIV-positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low.
How Soon Can I Get Tested For Stds After Unprotected Sex
Lets say youve recently had unprotected sex and now youre worried that you may have picked up a sexually transmitted disease . With STD rates rising higher than ever before, this is a totally valid and legitimate concern. So what do you do? Getting tested would be a very smart decision, but you may be surprised to learn that you can actually test too early.
If you feel like you could have contracted an STD, your instinct may be to get tested immediately, but this can be a huge mistake. Testing too early can cause inaccurate results, possibly leading you to believe youre STD-free when youre really not. This is because each STD has its own unique incubation period, which you must out wait in order to get accurate results. Like many things in life, timing is everything.
Also Check: How Many New Hiv Infections Per Year In Us
Should You Get Tested For Hiv
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once. If your behavior puts you at risk after you are tested, you should think about being tested again. Some people at higher risk should get tested more often.
If your last HIV test result was negative, you should get an HIV test if you answer “yes” to any of the questions below about your risk since that test:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sexanal or vaginalwith an HIV-positive partner?
- Have you had more than one sex partner?
- Have you injected drugs and shared needles or works with others?
- Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
- Have you been diagnosed with, or sought treatment for, another sexually transmitted disease?
- Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer “yes” to any of the above questions or someone whose sexual history you don’t know?
Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing .
If you’re pregnant, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for HIV and other ways to protect you and your child from getting HIV.
Making Hiv Testing Routine
You might want to test more regularly than this, for example, if you are having sex with a new partner or feel you are more at risk. Groups who are more at risk are recommended to test more regularly. Testing every 3-6 months is often advised for men who have sex with men.
Testing regularly helps keep your mind at rest, and if you test positive, it means you can start treatment quickly, protecting your health.
Recommended Reading: What Is Hiv 1 Antibody
Unprotected Sex Std Risk
There is a significant likelihood of STD transmission from a single time of unprotected sex. As you can see, protection also does not completely take away the chances of contracting STD from one encounter. Abstinence is the only way to prevent the transmission completely. Nonetheless, you have a higher risk when you dont use protection, even just from one encounter.
Its best to assume that you have chances of STD transmission every time you have sex. Take precautions to prevent the spread by using protection every time. Also, you can greatly reduce the risk if you only have sexual contact with one other person, with both of you having been tested with negative results.
The only way to know for sure if youve picked up an STD from an unprotected sexual encounter is to get tested. If the person you were with told you they have a specific STD such as herpes or gonorrhea, it makes sense to get tested for that. But since youre not truly sure what STDs the person could have, you may want to do a complete STD test to be sure about your state of health. If you discover that you do have an STD, its nothing to be ashamed of. Its simply something that could impact your health in a negative way, especially if it goes untreated. Its important to find out if you have an STD so you can be treated.
Hiv Tests Used In British Columbia
These tests measure antibodies to HIV. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system when the body is exposed to an infection. It takes time for the body to make antibodies after it is exposed to HIV, and different people make antibodies at different rates.
The window period for antibody tests is between 3 weeks and 3 months. Up to 95% of people will have antibodies after 6 weeks, and 99% of people will have antibodies after 3 months.
The point-of-care HIV test is an antibody tests offered in some locations in BC. The HIV Confirmatory Assay is an antibody test used to confirm a preliminary positive HIV result.
The 4th generation Enzyme Immunoassay Test test is a combined antigen / antibody test. The antigen, or viral protein, used to detect HIV is called p24 antigen. This p24 antigen shows up in the blood soon after a person gets HIV.
The 4th generation EIA test is the standard HIV laboratory screening test used in BC. Ninety-nine percent of these tests will be positive 6 weeks after a person gets HIV.
This test looks for the genetic material of HIV in the blood. It is also known as the “early HIV test” or “RNA test”. Ninety percent of NAATs are positive 10 to 12 days after a person gets HIV, and over 99% are positive after 6 weeks.
The RNA NAAT can be specially ordered by doctors or nurses if someone has had a recent high-risk exposure to HIV and/or they are having symptoms that are highly indicative of HIV.
Recommended Reading: Does Hiv Cause Breathing Problems
What Are Prep And Pep
- PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk. With PrEP, if you do get exposed to HIV, the medicine can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body.
- PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
Challenges In Calculating A Number
It isn’t easy for researchers to calculate the risk of transmission from an exposure to HIV through sex. To do this effectively, a group of HIV-negative individuals need to be followed over time and their exposures to HIVboth the number of times they are exposed and the types of exposureneed to be tracked.
As you can imagine, accurately tracking the number of times a person is exposed to HIV is very difficult. Researchers ask HIV-negative individuals enrolled in these studies to report how many times they have had sex in a given period of time, what type of sex they had, how often they used condoms and the HIV status of their partner. Because a person may have trouble remembering their sexual behaviour or may not want to tell the whole truth, this reporting is often inaccurate.
Furthermore, a person does not always know the HIV status of their partner. For this reason, researchers usually enroll HIV-negative individuals who are in stable relationships with an HIV-positive partner . Researchers can then conclude that any unprotected sex reported by a study participant counts as an exposure to HIV.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Hiv Oral Sex