Risk Factors Specific To Adolescents
Many factors can increase or decrease HIV risk among youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey and other CDC data have identified the following leading risk factors that can increase adolescents’ and young adults’ risk of HIV:1
- Use of alcohol or drugs before sex. This can affect decision making about whether to engage in sex or to use condoms during sex.
- Not using an HIV prevention method during sex. Using condoms or taking medicine to prevent or treat HIV are highly effective HIV prevention options.
- Sex with multiple partners. The more sexual partners a person has, the more likely they are to be exposed to HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
- Malemale sex. Young men who have sex with men, especially those who are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino, have high rates of new HIV diagnoses. Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.
Additional factors that can increase a young persons chance of getting or transmitting HIV include inadequate education about safe sex, having older sexual partners, and having another sexually transmitted disease. Youth also have low rates of use of pre-exposure prophylaxis , a medication taken to prevent getting HIV.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Hiv And Stds
- Avoid or put off having sex. If you do have sex, use a male latex or female condom every time.
- Latex male condoms and female condoms, when used the right way every time, are very effective in preventing HIV and many other STDs. Condoms may prevent the spread of other STDs like HPV or genital herpes, only when the condom covers the infected areas or sores.
- Talk with your partner about HIV and STDs.
- Don’t share drug “works”
- Get STD and HIV counseling and testing.
To find out if you might have an STD, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as you can.
Hiv Prevention Programmes For Men Who Have Sex With Men
It is evident that prevention strategies are failing to reach this group due to high HIV prevalence in communities around the world. For example, HIV infections among men who have sex with men in Asia are rising and prevalence is 5% or higher in 10 countries in the region. The countries reporting the highest prevalences among MSM are Indonesia , Malaysia and Australia . Rates among younger men who have sex with men are especially high.40
In Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, government-run HIV services for men who have sex with men are extremely limited, yet hostile legal, policy and social environments sometimes make it difficult for NGOs to fill the service gap.41
Reports from 20 countries between 2009 and 2013 show that the percentage of men who have sex with men reached by HIV prevention programmes fell from 59% to 40%. However, access varies greatly between regions and within countries. For example, men who have sex with men on a higher income are more likely to be able to afford, and therefore access, prevention initiatives than those on a low income.42
When men who have sex with men are targeted by HIV prevention campaigns they can be extremely effective. It is important that a combination of prevention programmes are available.
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Injecting Drugs And Sex Work
Although people who inject drugs constitute a key group in themselves, there is also an overlap between drug addiction and those involved in sex work. Individuals who fall into both categories are particularly vulnerable to HIV. In Central Asia, Afghanistan and Mongolia, HIV prevalence among female sex workers who also inject drugs is 20 times higher than sex workers who don’t inject drugs.18
How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV infects the immune system, causing progressive damage and eventually making it unable to fight off infections.
The virus attaches itself to immune system cells called CD4 lymphocyte cells, which protect the body against various bacteria, viruses and other germs.
Once attached, it enters the CD4 cells and uses it to make thousands of copies of itself. These copies then leave the CD4 cells, killing them in the process.
This process continues until eventually the number of CD4 cells, also called your CD4 count, drops so low that your immune system stops working.
This process may take up to 10 years, during which time you’ll feel and appear well.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
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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.
Anal Intercourse Between Men And Women
Anal intercourse between men and women has generally not received as much attention as anal intercourse between men. However, there is evidence that anal sex is practised by large numbers of sexually active adults. In 2010, 11% of women and 13% of men in the United Kingdom report having anal intercourse in the past year, with younger generations being more likely to report it .
Unprotected heterosexual anal sex probably plays an important role in HIV transmission among heterosexuals, although reliable estimates are lacking .
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Stigma Discrimination And Violence
Gender norms in many cultures sanction the ill-treatment of men who have sex with men. As a result, a large proportion of men who have sex with men worldwide have reported experiencing violence due to their sexual orientation. This is especially evident in particularly machismo cultures and patriarchal societies.99
In some areas, public officials, police and healthcare workers are committing these offences. The fear of being identified as homosexual deters many men from accessing HIV services, avoiding healthcare check-ups and treatment in order to keep their orientation secret.100101
Evidence is also emerging that, in some settings, a high proportion of men who have sex with men are also experiencing intimate partner violence . A UK study among men who have sex with men involved in a trial for PrEP found around 45% had been a victim of IPV and around 20% had been a perpetrator.102
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
Within a few weeks of getting HIV, some people get flu-like symptoms that last for a week or two, but others have no symptoms at all. After initial infection, people may not have any symptoms for years. HIV can be controlled with the right medical treatment and care. However, if its left untreated, it may develop into AIDS .
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Young Womens Lack Of Access To Healthcare
In many settings, where SRH and HIV services exist, they are primarily for married women with and do not meet the specific needs of unmarried young women and adolescent girls. Healthcare providers often lack the training and skills to deliver youth-friendly services and do not fully understand laws around the age of consent.20
In 45 countries, organisations cannot legally provide SRH and HIV services to people under 18 without parental consent.21 In some countries, doing this is an offence linked to encouraging prostitution or the trafficking of minors.22 Some national laws also require healthcare providers to report underage sex or activities such as drug use among adolescents.23
Closely related to this is the finding, taken from evidence gathered in 28 sub-Saharan Africa countries, that 52% of adolescent girls and young women in rural areas and 47% in urban areas are unable to make decisions about their own health.24
As a result of age restrictions, in Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal, over 70% of unmarried sexually active girls aged 15 to 19 have not had their contraception needs met.25 This is despite the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa around half of young women living in rural areas and around 40% of young women living in urban areas will have been pregnant by the time they reach 18.26
Barriers Faced By Young People Who Inject Drugs
Although data for people who inject drugs is available, it is unknown how many young people inject drugs, or what the HIV prevalence among this group is. One report has suggested that 3% of young people who inject drugs are living with HIV.40
Young people are also likely to show more high-risk behaviour such as sharing needles or getting needles from unofficial places.41
HIV prevention programmes typically overlook young people at risk of injecting drug use few reach out to vulnerable youth to prevent them from starting to inject or help them to end their addiction if they have already started. Moreover, prevention programmes do not specifically address the issues that vulnerable young people face, such as peer pressure, unstable family homes or exclusion from school. Some HIV prevention initiatives like OST may even deter young people because they require registration, parental consent or impose age restrictions.4243
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You’re More Likely To Get Hiv If Your Partner Has Hiv And An Std
People with both HIV and an STD have more HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid. This makes it easier for a person with an STD or HIV to give the virus to others when having sex without a condom.
Remember, many people who have HIV don’t know it. It can take many years for symptoms to show up. That is why it is so important to use condoms during sex, or not to have sex at all.
No 6 Having Oral Sex: Negligible
The odds of contracting HIV during oral sex are slim to none. Thats because the virus isnt transmitted through saliva, tears, or sweat unless its also mixed with blood. If an HIV-positive man ejaculates in his partners mouth, however and, for example, the partner has an open sore or bleeding gums experts say that it might theoretically be possible to pass along the virus.
- Reduce the risk. Using a condom or dental dam can help lower the risk of transmitting not only HIV but other STDs, including syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. People can also reduce their risk by having their HIV-positive partner ejaculate into a condom or by removing their mouth from the penis before ejaculation.
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Men Who Have Sex With Men Hiv And Aids
- There are biological, behavioural, legal, and social and cultural factors which put men who have sex with men 27 times more at risk of HIV compared with the general population.
- Many countries have made significant progress in recognising the rights of LGBTQ people, while in other countries punitive laws and homophobia create additional barriers for men who have sex with men when accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment services.
- Despite growing evidence of the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing new infections among men who have sex with men, access remains limited.
- Globally, more funding is required to support targeted HIV prevention, testing and treatment programmes for men who have sex with men.
Explore this page to find out more about what factors put men who have sex with men at risk of HIV, prevention programmes, testing initiatives, using technology, access to antiretroviral treatment, barriers to prevention and the way forward for men who have sex with men.
Globally, gay men and other men who have sex with men are 27 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population.1 New diagnoses among this group are increasing in some regions – with a 17% rise in Western and Central Europe and a rise of 8% in North America between 2010 and 2014.2
How Can A Woman Reduce Her Chances Of Contracting Hiv
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV. The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention , using a male or female condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Using condoms for oral sex will reduce your risk for other STDs as well. It also is important not to douche, since douching removes some of the normal vaginal bacteria that can protect you from infection.
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Latino And Hispanic Msm
Latino and Hispanic MSM are also disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2017, the CDC found that 26% of all new diagnoses were from Latino and Hispanic communities, and 20% of all new HIV infections were Latino and Hispanic MSM.
There are a few reasons why this might be the case, notes the CDC. For one, some Hispanic and/or Latino people may not use HIV-prevention services, get tested, or seek treatment if they have HIV, due to fear of disclosing their immigration status. Additionally, Hispanic and Latino groups tend to have high levels of mistrust in the healthcare system, which can result in fewer clinical visits and poorer adherence to preventative HIV medication.
Is There Any Treatment Of A Cure For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV will need lifelong treatment. The best treatments right now are combinations of prescription drugs. These medications include antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors and other drugs that help people who are living with HIV stay healthy. People living with HIV also can stay healthy by doing things like eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Needles
HIV isnt transmitted only through sexual contact. Sharing needles also puts a person at higher risk of contracting HIV.
When a needle is injected into a persons body, it breaks the skin barrier. If the needle has already been injected into another person, it can carry traces of their blood, along with any infections they have. The contaminated needle can introduce these infections into the second persons body.
Researchers dont know if having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, but its reasonable to assume it may provide some risk reduction.
HIV can affect anyone. Whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. But due to socioeconomic factors, some demographic groups have higher HIV transmission rates and generally are more affected by HIV.
According to the CDC , the general demographic traits most affected by HIV are:
Transgender women are also highly impacted by HIV transmissions as a population, reports the CDC .
These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV, but they arent inherently at greater risk of contracting HIV. An individuals personal risk depends on their behaviors, not on their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or any other demographic factor.
What Factors Put Women At Risk For Hiv
HIV is spread through blood, pre-seminal fluids, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk. In the United States, the main risk factors for HIV transmission are the following:
- Having anal or vaginal sex with a person who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting HIV, because the rectums lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with a person who has HIV.
In women, several factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission. For example, during vaginal or anal sex, a woman has a greater risk for getting HIV because, in general, receptive sex is riskier than insertive sex. Age-related thinning and dryness of the vagina may also increase the risk of HIV in older women, because these can cause a tear in the vagina during sex and lead to HIV transmission. A woman’s risk of HIV can also increase if her partner engages in high-risk behaviors, such as injection drug use or having sex with other partners without using condoms.
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