When a person is infected with HIV, the virus infects and can kill certain cells in the immune system called T-helper cells. This weakens the immune system so that other opportunistic infections can occur. The HIV-infected person is said to have AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) when they become sick with other specific infections or when the number of T-helper cells has dropped below 200.
• People who share needles
• Men who have sex with other men
• Babies born to mothers who have HIV infection
• People who received blood transfusions or blood products before 1985
• Anyone who has sex with anyone who has or is at risk for AIDS or HIV infection
Yes. In the United States, people who get syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes often also have HIV, or are more likely to get HIV in the future.
If you get an STD, you are more likely to get HIV than someone who is STD-free. This is because the same behaviors and circumstances that may put you at risk for getting an STD also can put you at greater risk for getting HIV. In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from an STD may allow HIV to more easily enter your body. If you are sexually active, get tested for STDs and HIV regularly, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Having anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom;
Having multiple sex partners;
Having anonymous sex partners;
Having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lower inhibitions and result in greater sexual risk-taking.
The only 100% effective way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting STDs and HIV:
Choose less risky sex activities;
Use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish);
Reduce the number of people with whom you have sex;
Limit or eliminate drug and alcohol use before and during sex;
Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for STDs and HIV;
Talk to your healthcare provider and find out if either pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is a good option for you to prevent HIV infection.
It can. If you already have HIV, and then get another STD, it can put your HIV-negative partners at greater risk of getting HIV from you.
Get on and stay on treatment called antiretroviral therapy (ART). Taking HIV medicine as prescribed can make your viral load very low by reducing the amount of virus in your blood and body fluids. HIV medicine can make your viral load so low that a test can’t detect it (an undetectable viral load). If your viral load stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners.
Choose less risky sex activities.
Use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish). The risk of getting HIV also may be reduced if your partner takes PrEP after discussing this option with his or her healthcare provider and determining whether it is appropriate. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently. Since PrEP does not protect against other STDs, use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
No. It’s not enough.
If you get treated for an STD, this will help to prevent its complications, and prevent spreading STDs to your sex partners. Treatment for an STD other than HIV does not prevent the spread of HIV.
If you are diagnosed with an STD, talk to your doctor about ways to protect yourself and your partner(s) from getting reinfected with the same STD, or getting HIV.
Information retrieved from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm