Some FAQs on Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV

Is having another STI put a person at higher risk of infection when they have been exposed to HIV?

Yes, this is because the infections causing sores on your genitals such as syphilis and chancroid enhance the risks of getting infected for an individual when exposed to HIV. Besides, there are other sexually transmitted infections that increase the chances of being infected.

Is using a condom at certain times ensure any kind of protection from STIs along with HIV?

A condom must be used whenever you enjoy any kind of sexual activity with your partner for getting the best protection. There are certain cases when occasional use might be protective. When any individual has a faithful partner but enjoy some act of sex outside the relationship, using a condom for that specific act might be protective. According to experts working in a STD clinic in London, individuals who are getting exposed to different STIs such as HIV should use a condom every time otherwise, they will get limited protection only.

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Who is at greater risk of getting infected with an STI?

When exposed to different sexually transmitted infections, women are more likely to get infected than men due to several biological factors. Besides, women have greater exposure area such as the vagina and the cervix than men and small tears might happen in the vaginal tissue at the time of intercourse. This will make it an easy way for getting infected.

Is it possible to spread STIs through oral sex?

Yes, Chlamydia, gornorrhoea, hepatitis B, syphilis and herpes can be transmitted easily when you have oral sex with your partner.

Can STIs get transmitted from anal sex?

Yes, sexually transmitted infections and HIV can be transmitted through anal sex. However, when you have unsafe anal sex, chances are you carry the highest sexual risk of passing HIV to another person.

Is it possible to spread HIV through shaking hands, hugging or mosquito bites?

HIV cannot be spread from casual contact. This means when you have mouth kissing, shaking hands, sharing food, hugging, toilet seats and clothing. The virus won’t survive for a long time outside human body and mosquitoes cannot spread HIV too,

Is there any truth that condoms have been coated with HIV?

No, these rumors are absolutely false as some condoms are protected by using a wet or a powder-like material like cornstarch or spermicide however, these materials can be used for lubrication to have pleasurable intercourse.

Is enjoying sex with a virgin treat someone having an STI and HIV?

No, this kind of practice will risk infecting the person who has not had sex yet.

Does washing penis or vagina after sex lessen the risk of getting infected with an STI?

Gynaecologists of a STD clinic in Central London have said, genital hygiene is very important and is definitely a good practice. The same is applicable for washing the genitals that can further avoid STI infection. Besides, vaginal douching can enhance the risk of getting STIs for many women including pelvic inflammatory disease and HIV. If your exposure to HIV is certain, you should get yourself cured by taking antiretroviral medications and reduce the chances of HIV transmission. When your direct exposure to other STIs is known, a STI provider can treat for those STIswhen he/she had been infected.

Why is it necessary to avoid HIV infection at the time of pregnancy?

When a woman gets infected with HIV during pregnancy, the chances of HIV getting transmitted to the baby during pregnancy, delivery, and childbirth might be greatest. This is because she will have highest level of virus in her blood at that point of time. If a pregnant woman thinks that she has HIV, it is necessary for her to go for HIV testing. Several resources are there to prevent the chances of transmitting HIV to her baby at the time of pregnancy, delivery, and childbirth. It is not certain if a woman who had been exposed to HIV is more likely to get infected when she has conceived.

Is pregnancy risky for HIV infected women and their infants?

Pregnancy won’t worsen the condition of woman. HIV infection can increase some health risks of pregnancy, and even affect the health of infant. Women who already have HIV are at higher risk of developing infection and anemia after caesarean section or vaginal delivery. The risk level actually depends on various factors as woman’s health at the time of pregnancy, her nutrition, and medical attention she receives. Besides, the risks associated with these health problems will increase when HIV infection progresses ahead. Furthermore, women who are having HIV will be at greater risk of having low birthweight babies, stillbirths and preterm births.

How can condoms protect against HIV infection?

The condoms are usually 80% to 95% effective in protecting people from HIV infection when they are used properly during every kind of sexual activity. This means the use of condoms prevent almost 80% to 95% of HIV transmissions that might have occurred without condoms. For example, nearly 10,000 uninfected women whose partners are already having HIV, if each couple enjoys vaginal sex for once and have no other risk factors for infection, on average:

If all 10,000 don’t use condoms, nearly 10 women would probably get infected with HIV.

If all 10,000 used condoms in the right way, 1 or 2 women will possibly get infected through HIV.

According to doctors of a private STI testing clinic in London, the chances that an individual who has been exposed to HIV will get infected might differ to a great extent. This will depend on the stage of HIV infection of your partner whether the person exposed has been exposed to other STIs that can increase susceptibility, and male circumcision status where men are more likely to get infected. Thus, women suffer from twice the risk of infection, when exposed than men do on an average.

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