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UK survey: Half of people wrongly think you can get HIV from being bitten or spat at

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Reader comments

  1. This is why we need better sex education in and out of schools.
    Sadly certain campaign groups will fight tooth and nail to prevent this from happening, regardless of how many lives it could save.

  2. This does not surprise me at all & once again underlines the fact that the Government needs to produce a National Plan for HIV & Sexual Health, but also embark on a National HIV Awareness /Educational Campaign, which sits alongside the targeted approaches for the most at risk groups.

    The lifetime net cost of treating someone with HIV is around £250,000 – which might equate to one prime time TV advert. The Gov needs to invest in HIV prevention upfront if we are to win the battle & start to see new infection rates fall.

    So far we have seen an investment of approximately £2.4 million a year in HIV Prevention England, the ave cost of providing lifetime ARV’s to just 10 people living with HIV.

    Public Health England is taking over the responsibility for all HIV / Sexual Health prevention, how can we be sure that the Local Councils will correctly allocate funds for HIV / Sexual Health?

    More needs to be spent on prevention so that the cost of HIV to the NHS does not become unsustainable!

  3. Perhaps I’m being too careful, but as the negative partner in a serodiscordant relationship, it’s not just unprotected sex I worry about. Even if the risk is incredibly low, it’s still a risk.

    1. If your partner is taking treatment for HIV & has an undetectable viral load then the risk of infection is either impossible or extremely low, depending on the particular situation.

      The concept that people find difficult to understand is that HIV transmission is directly related to viral load & it is extremely unlikely that an HIV is transmissible at levels below 1000 copies per ml of blood. Undetectable viral load is less than 50 copies per ml of blood thus treatment as prevention does provide a good level of additional safety as well as consistent condom use.

      If you or your partner are anxious about the likely transmission risks it is worth discussing these concerns with a Health Adviser at your partner’s clinic.

      1. He’s receiving treatment and his viral load is undetectable. We do take all the necessary precautions, but despite what we know, there is always a degree of anxiety whenever I get tested.

        There was an incident where he bit my nipple so hard, it started bleeding (he got too carried away and I didn’t make a sound). Around that time (in terms of days), his gums were bleeding.

        1. I think it is always natural to get a bit anxious when anyone goes for an HIV test, so you are not alone there.

          In terms of your level of risk from your partner it is significantly lower than an individual who does not have a regular partner or who multiple partners where the status is unknown.

          Most of the new infections we see in the UK come from people with undiagnosed HIV, but I do understand the anxiety around HIV, I just wish more people would ensure they know the facts about HIV rather than rely on hearsay or the various myths that are out there.

  4. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2013, 3:04pm

    Sadly not news… but proof that the education system is failing disastrously!!

    Teach this in schools properly or continue to see the problem grow.

  5. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2013, 3:05pm

    And sadly people like you are responsible for why! The blood is on your hands.

  6. Staircase2 14 Jan 2013, 3:41pm

    I understood that needles WERE a potential route for HIV transmission (along with other blood borne viruses)

    Can someone please clarify?

    1. Staircase2 14 Jan 2013, 4:00pm

      What the fcvk you marking me down for? Answer the bloody question

      (Clue: you’re not supposed to mark people down because you don’t like them…)

    2. Matthew of GMFA 14 Jan 2013, 4:13pm

      Sharing needles (e.g. for drug use) is high risk for transmission of HIV (if it is used by someone living with HIV and then used by someone else). However, because the virus does not survive for long outside of the body, there have been no recorded cases of HIV transmission from accidental needle-stick injuries, where the needle has been left somewhere and someone has trodden on it – a story that frequently crops up in the local press.

    3. Paul Halsall 14 Jan 2013, 4:13pm

      Needles, when shared by IV drug users are a means of transmission. The virus does not live long outside the body, so I suppose “discarded” needles are not a problem. Sharing needles with some one while using drugs – heroin or crystal meth certainly is very high risk *if the other person is HIV+”.

      1. Spanner1960 15 Jan 2013, 9:13am

        If the other person is HIV+ and not on medication.
        Otherwise the risks are actually pretty minimal.

    4. Note that the article states “needle in a park” which implies that such needles would be old and discarded. HIV doesn’t survive very long outside of the body.

  7. Spanner1960 15 Jan 2013, 9:10am

    We don’t just need better sex education, we need proper education full stop.

    We are breeding a nation of people that are as thick as pigsh|t.

  8. Discarded needles I get, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t live for very long outside the body but why couldn’t someone get HIV from being bitten by someone who’s HIV positive?

    If they break the skin then you’re still getting one bodily fluid mixed with another, aren’t you? Or does it only live in blood and sexual fluids?

    1. Matthew of GMFA 17 Jan 2013, 4:26pm

      HIV is not present in saliva in sufficient quantities for HIV to be transmitted so being bitten by someone with HIV is not a transmission risk.

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