For the last few years, adolescent women have been reported to be among the most vulnerable to HIV especially in Uganda and lately, the rate has been reported to be at 570 girls per week.
In addition to things like the fact that in Africa, women are still at a disadvantage socially unlike men in such a way that issues like early marriage, poverty, teenage pregnancies and lack of empowerment in some societies affect them, still the risk of getting HIV as a woman is higher than that of a man if all are exposed the same way.
The factors that influence transmission of HIV are number of contacts, transmission probability per contact and duration of infectiousness. This means that the people infected have a very vital role to play in this fight, perhaps even more than the NGOs, funders and the best writers we have that coin the messages against prevention. If only every infected person chose to tell the people around them that hey, I don’t want to infect you, let’s use some protection! Surely that could be a dream.
In order of higher risk, blood transfusion comes at the top. Almost 99.9 percent of the time, the person transfused with infected blood could get infected. The little chance is just left to error and miracles I guess.
Needle sharing and drug use come next in being risky, out of 10,000 exposures, 67 of them get the disease. This explains why HIV is high in those that use drugs than those that don’t, in the countries where HIV rates are not so high.
Anal sex, when the person that is free of the two engaging in it is the one whose anus is being entered comes next. This also explains why the odds ratio of a gay man is higher than that of a man that uses the vagina. Last year a South African singer Koyo Bala died of HIV combined with anal cancer. Africa’s statistics on men that have sex with men is scanty, but in other countries where it is known, the rate is high. This means also anal heterosexual sex is in this category. Out of 10,000 exposures, 50 will lead to having the disease.
Percutaneous needle stick is next. This is when someone accidentally gets pierced and their blood gets in contact with that of an HIV person. This happens mostly for medical practitioners. The risk is 30 out of 10,000 exposures.
Receptive penile vaginal intercourse is next. This is when the man has the HIV and sleeps with an uninfected woman. This also partly may explain why women generally have more HIV than men especially in Africa. It is twice the risk as that when a woman is the one with the HIV and sleeps with an HIV free man. The risk is 10 for every 10,000 exposures.
Anal intercourse when the one without HIV is inserting in the anus of the man or woman with HIV is next. This is different from the one I explained before. This time activity is taking place in the anus of the infected man or woman, and the person inserting is the free man. The risk is 6.5 for every 10, 000exposures. Ironic how the other side it’s almost 10 times more, huh!
Insertive penile vaginal intercourse is next. This is where the woman is the infected one as the man is free. It’s half the other one already talked about. Could this be why men seem to be more protected than women? This means the risk is 5 for every 10,000 exposures.
Oral sex is the least risky with the risk as 1 and 0.5 for every 10,000 exposures for receptive and insertive oral sex using a penis. (source : PMID)
So, what sex are you having and what can we all do to end the disease right here, right now. You have the answer.