HIV Policy and DNA Registration

Army Reserve Component

Soldier Information

  1. A positive antibody test with Western Blot confirmation means that you have been exposed to HIV.  Current medical knowledge indicates that once a person has been exposed with the subsequent production of antibody, it is highly likely that he or she will continue to harbor the virus and remain infectious.  Casual contact poses little risk of transmission or infection of others.
  2. HIV infection has been documented to be transmitted in three main ways:  intimate sexual exposure (anal, vaginal, or oral); prenatal exposure (from infected mothers to their infants); and through sharing needles and syringes (transfusion of contaminated blood or sharing of needles by intravenous drug abusers).  The virus has been found in various body fluids, to include:  blood, semen, saliva, tears, and breast milk.  Therefore, personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, and other personal items that could become contaminated with blood in particular should not be shared with others.  This disease is not transmitted through blood-sucking insects.
  3. Of all HIV infections diagnosed in 2006 in the 34 states with confidential name-based HIV reporting, 36% progressed to AIDS within 12 months after HIV infection was diagnosed. AIDS was diagnosed within 12 months after the diagnosis of HIV infection for larger percentages of persons aged 35 years and older, Hispanics/Latinos, male IDUs (injection drug use), and males with HIV infection attributed to high-risk heterosexual contact.  (www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/
    2007report/commentary
    )  It does not appear that all cases of HIV infection will progress to AIDS, but information is limited.  Persons who are HIV infected will require medical follow-up at least once per year.  Should fever, weight loss, or infections develop in asymptomatic persons, immediate medical evaluation is indicated.
  4. Homosexual and bisexual males and intravenous drug abusers are at greatest risk, but there is now evidence for heterosexual transmission from male-to-female and female-to-male.  Persons who are highly promiscuous (having many different sexual partners) stand a greater chance of contracting the infection.  HIV infected persons should limit the number of sexual partners or abstain completely from intimate sexual contact.  The efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HIV is unproven, but they may reduce transmission and should be used with lubricant every time you have sex.
  5. Although no symptoms may be present now, a HIV infected person can transmit the infection to others by sexual intercourse, sharing of needles, and possibly exposure of others to saliva through oral-genital or oral-oral contact.  Open-mouth kissing is considered a very low-risk activity for the transmission of HIV.  However, prolonged open-mouth kissing could damage the mouth or lips and allow HIV to pass from an infected person to a partner and then enter the body through cuts or sores in the mouth.
  6. Sex partners of HIV infected persons should be advised to seek testing and counseling.  Persons who have shared needles with HIV infected persons should also seek medical attention.  Since patients may be hesitant about naming their sexual contacts, they should be encouraged to inform them.
  7. HIV infected women should be advised to delay pregnancy until more is known about prenatal transmission of HIV.  Breastfeeding should be discouraged to avoid postnatal transmission to an uninfected infant.
  8. HIV infected persons should not donate blood, sperm, tissues, or organs to other persons.
  9. When seeking medical or dental care, HIV infected persons should notify those responsible for care of their positive status so that appropriate evaluation and precautions are taken to prevent transmission to others.
  10. Although HIV has been transmitted between family members in a household setting, this type of transmission is very rare. These transmissions are believed to have resulted from contact between skin or mucous membranes and infected blood. To prevent even such rare occurrences, precautions should be taken in all settings "including the home" to prevent exposures to the blood of persons who are HIV infected, at risk for HIV infection, or whose infection and risk status are unknown. For example:
    • Gloves should be worn during contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, feces, or vomit.
    • Cuts, sores, or breaks on both the care giver’s and patient’s exposed skin should be covered with bandages.
    • Hands and other parts of the body should be washed immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids, and surfaces soiled with blood should be disinfected appropriately.
    • Practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing of razors and toothbrushes, should be avoided.
    • Needles and other sharp instruments should be used only when medically necessary and handled according to recommendations for health-care settings. (Do not put caps back on needles by hand or remove needles from syringes. Dispose of needles in puncture-proof containers out of the reach of children and visitors.)   (www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission)
  11. HIV infected persons should get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B Virus.