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Infection Protection

STD Fundamentals. Chapter Ten

20 years, 5 months ago

9600  0
Posted on Nov 10, 2003, 10 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Choosing a sex partner who has tested negative for HIV is one of the most effective ways of protecting against contracting AIDS


Choice of Partner, Sex Act Key in HIV Risk

Choosing a sex partner who has tested negative for HIV is one of the most effective ways of protecting against contracting AIDS, but other measures can also substantially reduce HIV transmission, according to researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Beena Varghese and colleagues at the CDC quantified the risks associated with different sex acts and disease prevention tactics. They found that well-known measures, including using a condom or having lower-risk types of sex, slashed HIV risk on their own. But combining prevention efforts worked even better, particularly for gay and bisexual men.

The risk of HIV infection appears lowest when a person chooses a partner who has tested negative for HIV and has oral sex using a condom. In contrast, the risk of HIV is highest when a person receives anal sex from an HIV-positive partner without using a condom. In this scenario, the chances of contracting HIV are 5 in 1,000, according to findings published in a recent issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The researchers note that while this risk might seem low, it reflects the risk each time a person performs the act, leading to a high risk over time.

As expected, condom use alone cut HIV risk for heterosexual and homosexual men and women--by 20 times overall, the report indicates. As for individual, unprotected sex acts, being on the receiving end of oral sex carried the lowest risk, while receiving vaginal sex was high-risk, and anal sex was even more risky.

Logically, having sex with an HIV-positive partner substantially raised a person's HIV risk, but so did having sex with someone whose HIV status was unknown, as opposed to being verified as negative.

Taking just one preventive measure significantly cuts HIV risk for heterosexual men and women--to between 2 and 10 in 10 million per sex act, according to the researchers' estimates. But for gay and bisexual men, who face an increased HIV risk, two safe-sex tactics may be necessary to see such a drop in transmission risk, the investigators found.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Sexually Transmitted Diseases 2002;29:38-43.

Seaweed Gel May Protect Against AIDS Virus

A gel made from seaweed could offer women protection from the Aids virus HIV say scientists. Carraguard is made from red seaweed and is commonly used as a thickening agent in ice cream, toothpaste, and infant formula milk. Previous research has also shown that it can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and gonorrhea

New results obtained from preliminary studies in Thailand and South Africa has led scientists to believe that Carraguard may also help to prevent the spread of AIDS. Although scientists are uncertain as to how the seaweed-gel combats HIV, it is thought that the gel binds to the virus and covers it in a thick paint-like substance, thus preventing it from infecting the body. Researchers are now planning a full scale, four-year long trial of the gel involving more than 6,000 women.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by on the 2nd February 2002


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