HIV Risk Factors. Who is most at risk with HIV?
There are many factors that can increase the risks of contracting or amplifying the impact of HIV once you are diagnosed positive with the virus. What can increase the risk? Here are the things you need to know.
- Viral Load. A person is more likely to spread HIV if their viral load is higher.
- The amount of HIV in a person’s blood is known as their viral load.
- Without HIV medication, the viral load is highest during the acute stage of HIV.
- The viral load can become so low from HIV medication that a test is unable to detect it (called an undetectable viral load).
- People with HIV can live longer, healthier lives if their viral load remains undetectable or are kept under viral suppression.
- Related Sexually Transmitted Infections (STDs). A person may be more susceptible to contracting or spreading HIV if you already have another STD.
- Seek treatment of previous STDs if you want to reduce your chances of contracting or spreading HIV and other STDs.
- Having an STD may not raise the risk of transmitting HIV if you achieve an undetectable viral load. However, STDs can result in additional health issues.
- Using condoms can lessen your risk of contracting or spreading STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV, which are spread through genital secretions.
- Drug use and alcohol. An individual is more prone to engage in dangerous sexual practices, such as unprotected sex if you’re under the influence of substances.
- The ability to make safe decisions is often impacted by substances and alcohol.
- Alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking, and the use of “club drugs” might impair your judgment and choices.
- Other risk factors are:
- Reusing contaminated needles, syringes, and other injecting supplies.
- Having anal or vaginal intercourse without protection.
- Having little to no knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
Who is most at risk with HIV?
While the HIV epidemic affects all Americans, some groups are disproportionately burdened and are accounted for the highest rates of HIV infections. Among the hard-hit populations are:
- Gay and bisexual men. gay couples make up 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.
- African Americans. Although they make only 14% of the country’s population, African Americans accounted for 44% of 2009’s new HIV infections.
- They make up for about 20% of new HIV infection in 2009.
- Users of injectable drugs. IDUs represent 9% of new infections in 2009.
- Transgender individuals. According to a 2008 analysis of studies on HIV among male-to-female women, 28% tested HIV positive.