The Relationships Between STDs & HIV

    A doctor studying a medical chartIf you’re like many Americans, you may not know that there’s a distinct connection between STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS). According to recent studies, those infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact. Similarly, if an HIV-infected individual is also infected with another STD, that person is more likely to transmit HIV via sexual contact than other HIV-infected persons.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is substantial biological evidence demonstrating that the presence of other STDs increases the likelihood of both transmitting and acquiring HIV, specifically:

    • Increased susceptibility. STDs appear to increase susceptibility to HIV infection by two mechanisms: Genital ulcers (e.g., syphilis, herpes or chancroid), which result in breaks in the genital tract lining or skin, creating a portal of entry for HIV, and inflammation, which are caused by genital ulcers or non-ulcerative STDs (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis), increasing the concentration of cells in genital secretions that can serve as a targets for HIV.

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