HIV Infections- FAQs

Globally, around 37.7 million are infected with HIV disease. In the US, 1.2 million people (about half the population of Arkansas) are living with HIV and 13% don’t even know they have HIV and need testing. Due to a lack of awareness, they don’t get treatment on time and infect others. To talk to a specialist for Infectious disease call us on 1-347-384-5690.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a viral disease that attacks your immune system and makes it weak so that any disease can easily attack you. The virus can be transmitted through your bodily fluids like: infected blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. If not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). There is no cure for HIV infection, the only option is supportive management.  

  • According to 2019 statistics by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the US.  
  • In the US, 15,815 deaths happened due to HIV and associated complications in 2019 alone.  
  • The Northeastern US has the highest rates (number of cases of disease per 100,000 people) of people infected and living with HIV.  

FAQs  

  • How is HIV transferred/ transmitted (from one person to another)? 

People can transfer HIV when their body fluids come in contact with an infected person. For instance, 

  1. Having unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with a person who is infected with HIV. 
  2. Sharing needles or drug equipment with someone who has HIV. 
  3. A woman with HIV can pass the infection to her baby before or during birth or through breastfeeding.  
  • Can gay people get HIV? 

Anybody infected with HIV can transfer this virus, not only gay people. You will get infected by having unprotected sex with anyone (gay/ lesbian/ straight/ bisexual etc.) who has HIV.  

  • Can I get HIV while getting a Tattoo? 

No. You are not going to get HIV just by getting a Tattoo. Unless the tattoo artist used the same needle on a person infected with HIV. So, if you do go to get a tattoo, make sure the tattoo parlor practices sanitation and hygiene safety. 

  • How can you avoid getting infected with HIV? 

These are the steps you should follow: –  

  1. Always use a condom while having sex. 
  2. Always make sure to know about the medical history of a sexual partner. 
  3. Don’t have multiple sexual partners, practice monogamy. 
  4. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs before sex. They can affect your judgment and lead to bad decisions. 

Activities like kissing and hugging don’t spread HIV unless any open sores come in contact. 

  • Can a latex condom prevent HIV? 

If you use condoms correctly and consistently, they are incredibly good at stopping HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. In case of allergy to latex, plastic(polyurethane) condoms are a better option.  

  • Can you get HIV from someone sneezing or coughing in front of you, or touching a used tissue? 

No. HIV cannot pass through sweat, saliva, or tears. However, there are some important things that you should know, like: 

  1. Body Fluids that have the highest amount of HIV are Blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and other fluids that include blood. 
  2. You are not going to get infected by casual contact (like you can catch the flu). 
  3. Holding hands or touching someone’s bare skin doesn’t transfer the virus.  
  4. Sharing a drinking glass with an infected person does not spread the virus.  
  5. A Kiss has an incredibly low chance of transferring the virus unless there are any open sores in the mouth where blood is present.  
  • Can you get HIV from oral sex?  

Yes, it is possible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re giving or receiving oral sex. If the other person has HIV, you are going to have HIV. Use a latex condom and latex barrier for the mouth for protection during oral sex.  

  • Can you get HIV by doing anal sex? 

Yes. In fact, it is very risky to do anal sex with a condom. Unprotected anal sex increases the chances of getting infected with HIV. 

  • How Do I Know If I Have HIV?  

Many HIV patients do not exhibit any symptoms for many years. The only way to find out is to get tested. 

Do not wait for symptoms to appear.  

  • How Do I Get an HIV Test? 

Typically, a technician will draw blood and test it for HIV antibodies. Some rapid screening tests can provide results in as little as 20-60 minutes. 

Current blood tests can detect antibodies as well as a portion of the virus itself. These tests can give a positive result as early as three weeks after HIV exposure. 

  • How long should I wait to get tested? 

After being exposed to the virus, most people develop enough antibodies to test positive within 3 to 8 weeks. If you’ve been exposed and your HIV test was negative within the first 3 months, get another test at six months.  

However, if you suspect you are infected, see a doctor right away. They can guide you in your test.
 

  • What if I test HIV positive? 

Prompt medical attention and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay healthy. People are living longer and with a higher quality of life than ever before because of better treatments and care. In fact, HIV-infected people who start and stick to their medications can expect to live as long as people who do not have HIV. 

You must keep your doctor’s appointments, take your HIV medications exactly as prescribed, and take precautions to prevent others from contracting the virus from you.
 

  • What Happens If I Contract AIDS? 

When you become infected with HIV, your immune system weakens. The immune system is responsible for your body’s ability to fight infection and disease. 

When a person has AIDS, their immune system is so compromised that they are unable to fight off viruses or bacteria.  

While people with AIDS can die quickly, HIV infections can be treated. With the right treatment, it is possible to live a long and healthy life. 

HIV is an extremely dangerous disease with no cure at all. But you can avoid having HIV by taking Precautions. If, by any chance you got HIV, take proper medication to control the symptoms and avoid sex without any protection. At Doral Health and Wellness, we have doctors of infectious diseases who can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at info@doralhw.org if you have any queries.