Sunday, July 8, 2012

Your Risk of HIV Infection

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Your Risk of HIV Infection
Certain Conditions, Circumstances, and Behaviors Can Increase Your Risk

What is your risk of HIV infection? Certain conditions, circumstances, and behaviors can increase your risk of HIV infection. There are conditions and behaviors that make it easier for HIV to be transmitted from person to person. Without taking the proper precautions or being aware of high risk behavior, your risk of HIV can increase. Some of the more common ways your risk of HIV infection increases include:

Being Coinfected With Syphilis
People with syphilis may have open sores on their genitals that provide a route for HIV to enter the body when engaging in unprotected sex.

A Guide to Syphilis

Your Sexual Partner is in the Acute Stages of HIV Infection
The acute phase of HIV infection is characterized by very high HIV activity and very high viral loads. Having unprotected sex with someone in the acute stage of HIV increases the exposure to activily replicating HIV, in turn increasing the risk of HIV transmission.

What is Acute HIV?

Either Partner Has a Weakened Immune System
The body's immune system protects us from illness, infection, and disease. Anytime that protection is weakened, the body is at increased risk of illnesses and infections, including HIV. If either partner in a sexual relationship has a weakened immune system, that person becomes more at risk for HIV.

Understand the Immune Response

When Either Partner has an Open Wound
Open wounds provide a portal of entry for HIV. In other words, any open wound or break in the skin can allow HIV to enter the body

The Presence of a Large Quantity HIV Infected Blood
Large quantities of HIV infected blood exposes the body to an increase number of active HIV, making HIV infection easier. These large quantities of infected blood can occur during sex due to mechanical trauma of the sexual structures or during delivery of an HIV+ mom's newborn baby. Sharing syringes and needles can also expose people to large quantities of HIV infected blood.

What Are The Riskiest Behaviors?

Source: AIDS Infonet Fact Sheet 152 - "How Risky is It?"; October 25, 2005.

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