Border Free Health

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How Can You Get HIV?

Over 1.2 million Americans 13 years and older are living with HIV. It is a problem that continually affects the health of millions of people, not just in the United States, but also in the rest of the world. Given its contagious nature, the number of HIV-positive patients continues to grow each year.

Due to the lack of awareness, many people still wonder how it is transmits from one person to another. This article, will enumerate the most common and less common ways of transmission.

So, coming to the main topic…

How Can You Get HIV?

The two most common ways of HIV transmission are through anal or vaginal sexual intercourse and needle-sharing. HIV-negative people can contract the disease when they directly contact an infected person’s contaminated blood, vaginal fluid, breast milk and semen.

HIV transmission occurs when HIV-contaminated fluids enter an HIV-negative person’s bloodstream. This process is common through cuts and sores, the mucous membrane in the rectum, mouth, vagina or tip of the penis, or a direct needle injection.

Common Ways

We will discuss specifically the most common ways how you can get It:

Having Vaginal or Anal Sex with an HIV-Positive Person. The riskiest activity of contracting HIV is having unprotected anal or vaginal sex (without using any contraceptives such as a condom). Comparably, anal sex is more dangerous than vaginal sex for HIV transmission.

Sharing drug equipment such as needles and syringes. Reusing or sharing used and contaminated syringes with others may put you at risk of getting HIV. The needle with HIV-positive blood can directly get into your bloodstream when injected.

Less Common Ways

There are a few less common ways that you can get this disease, which include:

HIV transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy: There were some instances of mother-to-baby HIV infection transmission. However, using HIV preventive medicines has minimized the chances of passing the virus from the mother to her child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. In the United States, new medical developments have reduced the transmission of HIV from mother to infant.

Exposure to HIV through sharp injury or a needlestick: This risk mainly concerns health care workers. Thankfully, the chance of getting HIV with this is very low.

HIV Drugs

People with HIV who actively take medication as prescribed can live long and healthy lives. It also lessens the risks of transmission to their partners through sex. This medication primarily includes PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis.

PrEP involves working with a healthcare provider to craft an individualized plan to take the medication to prevent HIV. Clinical trials have shown that PrEP is 99% effective at reducing the transmission of HIV. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved and recommended three medications as PrEP for HIV: Truvada, Descovy, and Apretude.

  • Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg) 
    • Preferred oral regimen for daily or on-demand dosing.
  • Descovy (Long-acting injectable cabotegravir 600 mg)
    • Alternative oral regimen used only in daily dosing for cisgender MSM and transgender women.
  • Apretude (Long-acting injectable cabotegravir 600 mg)
    • Preferred regimen for HIV, but is generally not an option during pregnancy.
  • Abamune L 600/300mg (India)
  • Atazor 300mg (India)
  • Efavir 600mg (India)

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