Ways of HIV transmission: how do you get infected – and how not? | BR.de

In principle, HIV can be transmitted when blood, semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with mucous membranes (vagina, penis, rectum, mouth) or with open wounds. Other body fluids such as urine, sweat, saliva or tears contain such a low concentration of viruses that infection is practically impossible.

Condoms can save lives

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Campaign of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on love, sex and protection:

Only the use of condoms offers effective protection against infection. A good way to prevent HIV infection is through safer sex. This is understood to mean all sexual behaviors in which no semen or vaginal fluid or blood can get into the partner’s body.

Medicines reliably prevent the transmission of HIV

The HIV virus does not continue to multiply in the body if those affected are treated and take medication. After a while, the viral load in the blood is reduced so much that the virus can no longer be detected in the blood. It is then no longer transferable – not even during sex. This is also confirmed by a study published on May 3, 2019 in the specialist magazine “The Lancet” has been published.

Researchers led by Alison Rodger from University College London studied 782 male homosexual couples at 75 locations in 14 European countries for an average of two years. The prerequisite for the test was that only one of the partners was infected with HIV and that the couple had sex without a condom. Only those infected with HIV who had fewer than 200 HIV viruses per milliliter in their blood could take part in the study. Overall, these couples had unprotected anal intercourse more than 76,000 times during the study period. The virus was never transmitted to the non-infected partner.

Many infected people do not know that they are HIV positive

The problem: This only applies to those infected with HIV who are on medication. However, many transmit the disease when they have newly infected themselves and are not yet aware of their infection. In Germany this was the case in 2020 Information from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) around 9,500 people. Regular AIDS tests are therefore useful. A total of 91,400 people in Germany had HIV at the end of 2020 – including the number of those not yet diagnosed. The number of new infections is estimated at around 2,000.


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