The Relationships Between STDs & HIV

    • Increased infectiousness. STDs also appear to increase the risk of an HIV-infected person transmitting the virus to his or her sex partner(s). Studies have shown that HIV-infected individuals who are also infected with other STDs are particularly likely to shed HIV in their genital secretions. For example, men who are infected with both gonorrhea and HIV are more than twice as likely to have HIV in their genital secretions than are those who are infected only with HIV. Moreover, the median concentration of HIV in semen can be as much as 10 times higher in men who are infected with both gonorrhea and HIV than in men infected only with HIV. The higher the concentration of HIV in semen or genital fluids, the more likely it is that HIV will be transmitted to a sex partner.

    Fortunately, evidence from recent studies suggests that treating STDs may reduce HIV transmission. For example, it has been found that treating STDs in HIV-infected individuals decreases both the amount of HIV in genital secretions and how frequently HIV is found in those secretions.

    Preventive measures are paramount in an effort to avoid passing on STDs and HIV. As always, abstinence is the number-one method in preventing transmission. If you are sexually active, limit the number of partners and always use condoms.

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