Can I get HIV from sharing a drinking glass with someone living with HIV?

No, HIV can only be transmitted via unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing needles, breastfeeding and/or direct blood to blood contact with an HIV positive person.

 

Can I get HIV from hugging someone living with HIV?

Absolutely not. HIV is not transmitted via skin contact.

 

Can I get HIV from sharing food with or having it prepared by someone living with HIV?

No. HIV is not transmitted through saliva and, even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.

 

Is there any risk being around a flatmate, friend or colleague who is living with HIV?

No. HIV is not spread by day-to-day contact with other people. HIV is not spread through shaking hands, hugging, or kissing. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, a door knob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or cigarettes.

 

Is there any risk of holding hands with someone living with HIV?

Absolutely not. HIV is not transmitted via skin contact.

 

I’m never the receptive partner during anal sex, so I’m not at risk, right?

Wrong. Although unprotected receptive anal sex carries the highest risk, it is still possible to contract HIV if you are the insertive partner and you are not taking preventative measures (condoms, PrEP, U=U). HIV can still enter the body through vulnerable skin cells under the head of the penis or through the urethra. HIV can also enter through openings in the skin, ulcers, warts and sores from other STIs and infections.

 

Is there a pill that can prevent HIV?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (or PrEP) is an HIV prevention method where HIV negative people take a pill to reduce their risk of contracting HIV. - Learn more here

 

Some people say that if they are on HIV medication and have an undetectable viral load, it’s safe for them to have unprotected sex. Is this correct?

An undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in a person’s blood is no longer able to be measured in a standard blood test. For people living with HIV who are able to reach this status by taking their medication as prescribed, HIV isn’t transmitted sexually. 

>> Read more about undetectable viral load

 

If I have sex with a sex worker, am I at risk of HIV?

The rates of HIV among sex workers in New Zealand are very low compared to other countries. The risk of getting HIV from kissing or having unprotected oral sex with any person, including sex workers, is very low. It's also very low risk if you've had anal or vaginal sex with a condom. If you didn't use a condom for anal or vaginal sex then the risk is much higher and you should get tested. 

 

If I have unprotected oral sex with an HIV positive person, am I at risk?

The risk of HIV transmission via oral sex is extremely low. The enzymes in saliva act as a natural defence to HIV. The risk of contracting HIV increases if there are open sores or cuts in the mouth. Unprotected oral sex does expose you to the risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

 

If I contract another STI like gonorrhoea or syphilis, does my risk of getting HIV increase?

Yes. The presence of another STI can substantially increase the risk of contracting HIV. This is because the immune system is already considerably compromised by either local inflammation and/or weakened mucous membranes in the form of sores and ulcers.

Therefore a person is more vulnerable to both HIV acquisition and transmission. Which means regular testing for STIs is an important part ensuring you aren’t at risk of HIV.

The NZAF network

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