Causes & Risk Factors

Does STD Infection Increase HIV Risk?

August 18, 2018

Numerous STDs are not just dangerous in and of themselves; they really increase the danger of getting infected with other STDs, such as HIV. HIV-positive people with STDs are also more infectious — they’re just three to five times more likely than people with no STDs to carry HIV during sexual activity.

How Do STDs Boost HIV Risk?

STDs increase a individual’s risk of getting HIV in one or 2 manners.

  1. They could cause lesions on the skin, which makes it easier for HIV to enter the body. Some STDs that increase HIV risk in this manner include:
    • Syphilis
    • Chancroid
    • Herpes
  2. They can cause inflammation, which can be triggered by the immune system. Since HIV prefers to infect immune cells, any disorder that leads to an increase in these cells also will make it easier for a person to become infected with HIV. STDs that increase HIV risk in this way include:
    • Gonorrhea
    • Chlamydia
    • Trichomoniasis

Obviously, many STDs increase a individual’s susceptibility to HIV in the two manners. It’s thus extremely important for anybody with an STD to be treated. It can help to protect their long-term health. As can, unsurprisingly, practicing safer sex. Reliably, and correctly, using condoms for all sexual actions will greatly reduce a person’s risk of acquiring HIV.

Regular Screening Is Essential

It is really important for individuals with STDs to be medicated.

However, before a individual can be treated, they first need to be diagnosed. For that, regular screening is indispensable. Most sexually transmitted diseases are curable. With no indications, the only way to guarantee a timely diagnosis is screening. Otherwise, an infection can linger beneath the radar for several decades.

That is precisely why it is not sufficient just to go for STD testing when you have symptoms. Every sexually active adult should consider being screened for STDs on a regular basis. This not only reduces HIV risk, in addition, it lowers the possibility of STD-related infertility, an issue that doesn’t only affect women.

Assessing Overlapping Biological and Behavioral Risk

It’s worth noting that individuals who have one STD are inclined to be at risk for other STDs for behavioral and social reasons as well as biological ones. If a person has gotten an STD, there’s a good chance that they are having unprotected intercourse, which is the largest risk factor for getting an STD. There is also a fair chance that they might be a part of a sexual or community network which has a higher than average incidence of STDs. Regrettably, that last element is a huge one in STD risk. Individuals often meet sexual partners in their own social network or community. If that community has a lot of STDs, their risk of obtaining one is substantially higher compared to someone having sex at a low-risk community. That is why community-level avoidance and therapy is so essential. The hidden epidemic is bigger than individual sexual health.