Women Who Inject Drugs
In many cases, women are more susceptible to HIV infection because of gender-based violence . Women may be pressured to share needles and engage in high-risk sexual activities. Women , are also more likely to conceal their drug-taking behaviour because of societal discrimination, and the threat of losing custody of their children. This discourages them from accessing medical care and HIV services.19 Other studies have shown that women who inject drugs are more likely to experience sexual violence from police and law enforcement agencies.20 In 2013, global HIV prevalence among women who inject drugs was 13%, compared to 9% among men who inject drugs.21
How Is An Hiv Test Performed
Before taking an HIV test:
- Ask the clinic what privacy rules it follows.
- Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about HIV, AIDS, or the HIV test.
To do the HIV test, a small sample of blood is taken from your arm. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for HIV.
Home testing is available. The sample can be obtained via oral secretions , or a blood sample from a finger-stick test strip that is then mailed to a laboratory for screening. Positive results must be confirmed by your doctor before a diagnosis of HIV infection can be established.
Some clinics perform HIV tests without ever taking your name . You must go back to the clinic to get your results. A positive test means you have HIV. A negative test means no signs of HIV were found in your blood.
If your test comes back positive, your healthcare provider is likely to recommend other tests to assess your health. These may include a complete blood count , along with:
- Viral hepatitis screening.
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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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
What Needs To Happen
With injecting drug use accounting for a very significant proportion of people living with HIV, a combination of accessible HIV prevention approaches are needed to reduce HIV transmission among people who inject drugs.53 Better monitoring of this key affected population would also help inform effective HIV prevention responses tailored at the group, particularly young people who inject drugs.
Harm reduction measures including NSPs and OST should be implemented more widely and scaled up where they do exist. NSPs are one of the most effective ways to reduce harm and prevent HIV transmission. They allow people to access social and psychological support to overcome their drug addiction, drug treatment and other health services, alongside clean needles.
Furthermore, stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs needs to be tackled so they can access treatment freely without fear, and reduce the risk of being exposed to HIV. This would also lessen the chance of HIV transmission to other population groups through sex work and unprotected sex in general.
The âwar on drugsâ and criminalisation of people who inject drugs is pushing them away from services that could improve their health and that of the wider public. Countries need to reconsider any punitive laws and measures, such as detention centres and drug-registers that are very prominent barriers to addressing HIV among people who inject drugs.
behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.
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Barriers To Hiv Prevention For People Who Inject Drugs
The illegal nature of injecting drugs can create barriers to accessing adequate HIV prevention, testing and treatment services, making people who inject drugs more vulnerable to HIV.
Without adequate access to these services, there is a high risk that HIV will also be transmitted to sexual partners.31 The crossover of drug use with sex work means that HIV is more likely to be transmitted to other at-risk populations and their partners.
Laws Addressing Gender Inequality And Violence Against Women
Laws and policies that promote gender equality create an environment that increases the likelihood of success and sustainability of efforts to reduce violence against women and their vulnerability to HIV.120121
As of 2016, 74% of countries legislated against intimate partner violence against women. Around 72% had laws relating to physical violence, 56% had laws relating to sexual violence, 71% had laws relating to psychological control and 46% addressed economic control. However, 20% of countries did not recognise rape as a crime in cases where the perpetrator is married, or intends to marry, the victim.122 For more information see our page.
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What About Blood Or Breast Milk
HIV is sometimes passed on from mother to child during pregnancy. It can also happen during birth or when breastfeeding. However, the risk of this can be reduced, providing that the mother has received a diagnosis. Pregnant women who take HIV medication can reduce the risk of infecting their child. They may also have a C-section instead of a natural birth. HIV medication is also given to babies for several weeks after birth. In countries where safe drinking water is accessible, formula milk is recommended.
There are also other ways HIV could be contracted through contact with positive blood. These include health workers accidentally being exposed to infected fluids and blood transfusions. However, both of these are very unlikely, especially in developed countries. There are some countries where the risk of infection from a blood transfusion is higher for example, some countries in Africa or the former Soviet Union.
What Behaviors Are The Most Risky For Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Since there is a fairly high number of people who have HIV and dont know it, you should be tested for HIV so you know your status. Being intoxicated is risky because you are more likely to engage in risky sex if you are drunk or high. In terms of sex acts, anal sex and vaginal intercourse are the most risky behaviors.
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Use A Barrier Method During Sex
Condoms and other barrier methods can protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections .
If you have HIV or another STI, getting treatment and using a condom or other barrier method every time you have sex can reduce the risk of transmission.
If you dont have an STI, you can protect yourself from acquiring an STI by using a condom or other barrier method every time you have sex.
Also, its important to buy the right size condom for you and to use it properly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv
Some people get flu-like symptoms a month or two after they have been infected. This is called the acute stage. These symptoms often go away within a week to a month.
You can have HIV for many years before feeling ill. This is called clinical latency or the chronic stage.
AIDS is the most severe stage of HIV infection. In this stage, the immune system has been weakened by the HIV virus and is less able to fight off infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that could generally be fought off by a healthy immune system. In order to be diagnosed with AIDS, you have to have fewer than 200 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter of blood , OR you must have developed what are called opportunistic infections or certain cancers. You can develop AIDS even if your CD4 count is not 200 or lower.
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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.
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.
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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 Gay Men Have An Increased Risk Of Hiv
In the United States, gay men are at a disproportionately high risk of getting HIV and AIDS. In 2016, 68% of all HIV infections in the U.S. affected men who have sex with men. The risk is even higher for gay black men. Why are gay men more likely to get HIV?
There are several reasons why gay and bisexual men are at higher risk of HIV than their straight counterparts. Some of the reasons are based on certain types of sex that result in greater risk of infection due to how HIV is biologically transmitted. Other reasons reflect social realities about how men who have sex with men live in the world and are treated by society.
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How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Sex
HIV can be transmitted through semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and anal secretions. When a person doesnt use a condom during sex, its easier for semen, vaginal fluids, blood, and anal secretions to enter their body either being absorbed across the mucous membrane of the vagina or anus or entering the bloodstream directly.
Anal sex is a known risk factor for contracting HIV if other prevention methods are absent, especially for the receptive partner whose anus is being penetrated by the penis.
Vaginal sex can also lead to HIV transmission if other prevention methods are absent, especially for the receptive partner whose vagina is being penetrated by the penis.
Both anal and vaginal sex can also carry a risk of HIV transmission for the insertive partner .
Oral sex is thought to be very low risk. Rimming is also thought to very low risk.
Why Is Attending Drug Rehab Crucial For People With Hiv
Drug and alcohol abuse will weaken an otherwise healthy persons immune system. Drug abuse and excessive, chronic drinking can harm different bodily systems and lead to cancers, infections, and other diseases. Also, the life of a drug addict is disorganized and chaotic.
HIV significantly weakens immunity and destroys infection-fighting T-cells in the body. Antiretroviral drugs must be regimented and taken on strict schedules to maximize their effectiveness. Drug rehab is crucial for people with HIV because it will help them to lead a healthier, more organized lifestyle, halting the progression of the disease and prolonging their lives. Getting people with HIV into drug rehab will also stop the spread of infection throughout the drug community.
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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.
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.
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Msm Between The Ages Of 13 And 34
Age also plays a significant role when it comes to whos more likely to contract the virus. In particular, younger men are more susceptible. If fact, nearly two-thirds of all new HIV diagnoses among MSM are between the ages of 13 and 34.
There a few reasons why this is the case, notes the CDC. For one, theres a lack of education among younger queer men when it comes to condom use, so they tend to use condoms less frequently. Additionally, like many sexually active teens and young adults, young queer men tend to engage in riskier sexual behavior, often as a result of substance abuse.
How Can To Help Stop The Spread Of Hiv
To lower the risk of getting HIV and other STIs:
- Those who are HIV-negative should consider PrEP. If a possible HIV exposure occurs, PEP may provide emergency protection.
- Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
- Get tested and treated for STIs and follow healthcare providers recommended screening schedule.
- Before having sex with someone, ask them to get tested for HIV and STIs.
- Those who inject drugs should get clean needles from a needle exchange.
- Avoid sharing needles for drugs and tattoos.
Talk to a healthcare provider about PrEP if a sexual partner has HIV with a detectable viral load or theres another known risk of contracting the virus. Heres a search tool for finding healthcare providers who prescribe PrEP.
Anyone who thinks they might have contracted HIV needs to get tested immediately. Early treatment can help manage the symptoms, lower the risk of complications, lower the risk of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner, and help people to live a long and healthy life.
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