STDs and HIV – CDC Point Sheet

People who have an STD may be at an increased risk of getting HIV. One reason is the behaviors that put someone at risk for one infection (not using condoms, multiple partners, anonymous partners) often put them at risk for other infections. Also, because STDs and HIV tend to be linked, when someone gets an STD it suggests they got it from someone who may be at risk for other STDs and HIV. Finally, a sore or inflammation from an STD may allow infection with HIV that would have been stopped by intact skin STDs can increase the risk of spreading HIV. People with HIV are more likely to shed HIV when they have urethritis or a genital ulcer. When a person with HIV gets another STD, such as gonorrhea or syphilis, it suggests that they were having sex without using condoms. If so, they may have spread HIV to their partners. Antiretroviral treatment for HIV can prevent the transmission of HIV even from persons who have other STDs.

Some STDs are more closely linked to HIV than others.

In the US, both syphilis and HIV are highly concentrated epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM)., MSM accounted for of all primary and secondary syphilis cases among males in which sex of sex partner was known, among all persons diagnosed with infectious syphilis  were also HIV infected.10 Men who get syphilis are at very high risk of being diagnosed with HIV in the future; among HIV-uninfected men who got syphilis in Florida in were newly diagnosed with HIV by  HIV is more closely linked to gonorrhea than chlamydia (which is particularly common among young women) Herpes is also commonly associated with HIV; a meta-analysis found pep hiv persons infected with HSV-are at -fold increased risk for acquiring HIV infection. Some activities can put people at increased risk for both STDs and HIV. Having anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom; Having multiple sex partners; Having anonymous sex partners; Having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lower inhibitions and result in greater sexual risk taking. Does treating STDs prevent HIV? Not by itself. Given the close link between STDs and HIV in many studies, it seems obvious that treating STDs should reduce the risk of HIV. However, most studies that have treated STDs to prevent HIV have not lowered the risk of HIV.

Screening for STDs can help assess a person’s risk for getting HIV. Treatment of STDs is important to prevent the complications of those infections, and to prevent transmission to partners, but it should not be expected to prevent spread of HIV. What can people do to reduce their risk of getting STDs and HIV?
The only  effective way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If people are sexually active, they can do the following things to lower their chances of getting STDs and HIV: Choose less risky sexual behaviors; Use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish); Reduce the number of people with whom they have sex; Limit or eliminate drug and alcohol use before and during sex; Have an honest and open talk with their healthcare provider and ask whether they should be tested for STDs and HIV. Talk with their healthcare provider and find out if either pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is a good option for them to prevent HIV infection. If someone already has HIV, and subsequently gets an STD, does that put their sex partner(s) at an increased risk for getting HIV? If the person living with HIV is taking antiretroviral treatment, then an STD does not increase the risk of transmitting HIV.However, HIV-infected persons who are not taking antiretroviral treatment may be more likely to transmit HIV when they have another STD.

The HIV-negative sex partners of people who are HIV-positive are less likely to get HIV if:

HIV-positive people use antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART reduces the amount of virus (viral load) in blood and body fluids. ART can keep HIV-positive persons healthy for many years, and greatly reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners if taken consistently. Sex partners take PrEP after discussing this option with their healthcare provider and determining whether it is appropriate.
Partners choose less risky sex activities. Partners use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish). Will treating someone for STDs prevent them from getting HIV? No. It’s not enough. Screening for STDs can help assess a person’s risk for getting HIV. Treatment of STDs is important to prevent the complications of those infections, and to prevent transmission to partners, but it should not be expected to prevent spread of HIV. Health care providers with STD consultation requests can contact the STD Clinical Consultation Network (STDCCN). This service is provided by the National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers and operates five days a week. STDCCN is convenient, simple, and free to health care providers and clinicians. More information is available at www.stdccn.orgexternal icon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *