This post is about HIV transmission - not treatment or testing. There has been a lot of misinformation in my comments section about how HIV is transmitted and why certain people are infected while others aren't.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a large virus that weakens the immune system and causes full blown AIDS if left untreated.
HIV progresses to full blown AIDS if the patient is not taking antiviral medications and is infected with an opportunistic disease, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, or other infections specific to AIDS.
AIDS can be fatal if left untreated.
HIV is NOT transmitted by saliva, sweat, tears, closed-mouth kissing, insects, pets, sharing food, drinks, or sitting on public toilets.
Gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM) are the highest risk for new HIV diagnosis in America.
The second highest risk category is Black females.
Also, transgender people who were born men are among the highest risk category. If you are a male or female who regularly practices unsafe sex, you are at risk for HIV transmission.
Get tested if you are sexually active and you are in a high or low risk category.
Other HIV risk factors include
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is a bloodborne pathogen that requires access into the blood stream where it replicates (makes copies of itself). The HIV virus needs to make copies of itself in order to survive. It can only replicate in the bloodstream.
Anal sex with or without a condom is the easiest form of transmission. Being a receptive partner (the "bottom") carries a much higher risk than being the insertive partner (the "top").
Friction causes microscopic tears in the anal mucosa (lining) that are too small for the naked eye to see - but large enough for the virus to get through to the bloodstream. This is why anal sex remains the #1 mode of HIV transmission.
Sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration is also a risk factor - IF the woman has an open sore or a microscopic tear in her vagina.
The vagina was designed for penetration. It is well lubricated and durable. The vaginal walls are slippery, elastic and strong.
When the HIV virus enters the vagina, there is no path into the bloodstream unless the woman has an open sore or microscopic tear in her mucous membrane. If there is no presence of blood it does not mean there is not a tear in the mucous membrane.
The vagina does not tear easily during normal sexual intercourse.
Think of a woman giving birth to a 10 lb. baby the size of a watermelon. That gives you an idea of how strong the vaginal walls are.
For instance, if a HIV-positive man uses his fingers or a sex toy during foreplay, his fingernail can cause a tear in her skin. He can transmit the virus to her during sexual intercourse.
Even though vaginal intercourse is less risky, women who have sexual intercourse with men should always practice safe sex.
Men who have anal sex with men (MSM) and women who have anal sex with men (WASM) are in the highest risk categories for HIV transmission and should always practice safe sex.
Can I get infected with the HIV virus through oral sex?
HIV transmission via oral sex is extremely low risk, but it is possible if the sex partner has an open sore in his or her mouth and the HIV-positive man ejaculates into the mouth.
Can I get infected by kissing?
No. Studies prove the HIV virus is NOT transmitted via the exchange of saliva.
Can I get infected if someone sticks me with a HIV-infected syringe?
Your HIV risk is high if you share dirty drug needles with a HIV-infected person. Whether someone can maliciously infect you with a syringe of days old HIV-infected blood depends on a variety of factors. Blood begins to clot (gel) within seconds after it is drawn. Some studies show the HIV virus can live in dried blood for up to 42 days. But those studies were conducted under laboratory conditions. Get tested if you are stuck with a dirty needle.
Am I safe if I'm a female who has sex with another female?
Studies show lesbians have extremely low to no risk of HIV infection between partners. If you're not sure about her HIV status, don't sleep with her.
Can I be infected if I have sex with someone with a low viral load?
Your risk of HIV transmission is lower if the HIV-positive person has a low or undetectable HIV viral load. But you should not take that risk with anyone. Always practice safe sex!
Can I get HIV if he doesn't ejaculate?
Yes. Penetration is enough to exchange seminal fluid (pre-cum) even if he doesn't appear to ejaculate.
Can HIV live outside of the body, such as on hard surfaces?
No. The HIV virus can not live outside the bloodstream for very long. HIV needs to replicate itself (make copies of itself) to survive. The virus cannot replicate itself outside the bloodstream. The HIV virus begins to die after 15 minutes.
This has been your Medical Minute.
More Info On the Web
HIV/AIDS Transmission - Healthline.com
Who Is at Risk for HIV? - HIV.gov
HIV Transmission: The Basics - CDC.gov
Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. Sandrarose.com and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.
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