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Risk factors for HIV/AIDS

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AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Anyone of any age, race, sex or sexual orientation can be infected with HIV. Sex and drugs/alcohol interact in many ways to increase a person's risk of getting or giving HIV

 

Risk factors for HIV/AIDS

Unprotected sexual intercourse

  • Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with multiple partners (heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual)
  • Unprotected sex with HIV-positive partner
  • During sex, HIV can be transmitted through cuts and tears on the penis, vagina, or anus.
  • Through these cuts and tears, infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and anal fluids may enter the uninfected person's body.
  • Cuts and scrapes are more likely during anal sex, forced sex, dry sex, or when women are very young (because their cervixes are not fully developed and therefore more likely to rip or tear during intercourse).

Role of STD’s in HIV/AIDS

Increased susceptibility

STDs probably increase susceptibility to HIV infection by two different mechanisms.

  • Genital ulcers (e.g., syphilis, herpes, or chancroid) result in breaks in the genital tract lining or skin. These breaks create a portal of entry for HIV.
  • Non-ulcerative STDs (e.g., chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis) increase the concentration of cells in genital secretions that can serve as targets for HIV (e.g., CD4+ cells).

Increased infectiousness

When HIV-infected individuals are also infected with other STDs, they are more likely to have HIV in their genital secretions.

HIV in semen is as much as 10 times higher in men who are infected with both gonorrhea and HIV than in men infected only with HIV.

Unsafe drug abuse behaviors

  • Sharing or injecting drug use paraphernalia, such as needles and syringes, increases the risk of HIV transmission.
  • People who use illegal injectable drugs are also more likely to have STI/STD, which increase their risk for both contracting and transmitting HIV.
  • Mixing sex, drugs and alcohol interact in many ways to increase a person's risk of getting or giving HIV.
  • The use of these substances can increase sexual desire and enhance underlying personality characteristics, such as and sexual compulsivity.

Blood transfusion

Blood transfusion or received blood a blood clotting factors before 1985.

Mother- to- fetus/infant transmission (vertical transmission)

  • Infants are infected with HIV, either during pregnancy or delivery or through breast-feeding.
  • But if women receive treatment for HIV infection during pregnancy, the risk to their babies is significantly reduced.
  • Pregnant women who are HIV-infected and who are co-infected with genital herpes have a higher risk of transferring AIDS to their child.

Psychological risk factors

  • Psychological disorders such as hypersexuality, sexual obsession, and depression, are associated with high-risk sexual behaviors with multiple partners.
  • They are also associated with drug abuse and addiction, which can increase HIV risk through needle sharing and injection

HIV/AIDS is not transmitted by hugging, kissing, dancing or shaking hands — with someone who has HIV or AIDS.

 

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