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Prevention of HIV Transmission Through Blood
HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected blood. Effective HIV screening of blood products for medical use is important to stop HIV transmission through blood transfusions.
Screening all blood supplies for HIV, and heat-treating blood products where possible is standard in many countries. Although most countries have robust blood screening processes, some low-and middle income- countries have less regulated blood transfusion services and still pose a risk.
People who inject drugs
Another major way in which HIV can be transmitted through blood is when people who inject drugs (PWID) share needles and one among them is HIV-positive. Sharing needles or other drug equipment in this way can cause infections because blood can get into needles and syringes and if tha blood has HIV, the virus can be injected into the next user.
Providing people who inject drugs with a good supply of new or sterilised needles and syringes, through needle and syringe exchange programmes, is one of the main methods, grouped under the term ‘ harm reduction’, used to prevent HIV infection from injecting drug use. Methadone maintenance and other drug treatment programmes are also effective ways to eliminate the risk of HIV infection as they remove the need to inject drugs altogether.
If you are living with HIV, you can protect others from getting infected by making sure that items such as neddles and syringes, razors or toothbrushes are not shared. Sterilising equipment or items that may have blood left on them before the next user is a good way to prevent infection. Understanding how HIV can be transmitted through blood on shared equipment is crucial because it may easily lead to stigma. Avoid this by reading more about ways you can and can not get infected with HIV.