The AIDS pandemic has been a battle fought since the late 80s. Though the race continues to find a cure, there is more importance placed on finding out one’s status. The emergence of antiretroviral drugs and drugs that help those who may be pre-exposed have been great leaps to a longer life for many.
Nonetheless, here are 5 things you need to know about contracting HIV/AIDS:
1.Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV such as Prep.
For the HIV-negative partner, receptive anal sex (bottoming) is the highest-risk sexual behavior, but you can also get HIV from insertive anal sex (topping).
Either partner can get HIV through vaginal sex, though it is less risky for getting HIV than receptive anal sex.
Sharing needles or syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (works) used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV. HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors.
2.From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Although the risk can be high if a mother is living with HIV and not taking medicine, recommendations to test all pregnant women for HIV and start HIV treatment immediately have lowered the number of babies who are born with HIV.
3.By being stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or another sharp object. This is a risk mainly for healthcare workers.
4.Oral sex is another way one can contract AIDS. In general, there’s little to no risk of getting HIV from oral sex. Deep, open-mouth kissing can also lead to contraction of the disease. If both partners have sores or bleeding gums and blood from the HIV-positive partner gets into the bloodstream of the HIV-negative partner. HIV is not spread through saliva.
5.Receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This was more common in the early years of HIV, but now the risk is extremely small because of rigorous testing of the US blood supply and donated organs and tissues.
For more information visit HIV.gov.