The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has brought about a global epidemic of massive proportions. Some people may need blood if they have anemia or lose blood after surgery. There are about 2.7 million new HIV diagnoses each year. Since by all accounts vampires are constantly getting it on, you’ll be putting yourself in the crosshairs of all sorts of microbes: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitises B and C. Although uncommon, you can catch several rather nasty STDs even if you never have sex: you can get HIV from sharing needles during IV drug use or blood transfusions and you can get herpes from shaking the hand of someone who scratched one of their sores. 2008 figures were 2.7 million. People who donate blood should be healthy and meet certain health-related criteria.
Half of these people are diagnosed with late stage disease that means they will need to start treatment soon. The latter isn’t behavior we encourage, however, and we’ll speak of it no more. Second … There were 6,360 new diagnoses in 2012 in the UK. People who can’t donate blood for others may still be able to donate blood for their own use. Starting treatment at the right time now means that people with HIV can expect to have a reasonably normal life expectancy. The literature is silent on this point.
I remember several evenings where I and five of my friends piled onto my bed together to conduct some intensive studies of abstinence. All reporting methods are confidential and avoid the use of names. Generally, blood can be stored for up to 42 days. The time from infection to AIDS is highly variable but on average it is 8 to 10 years without treatment. Longtime readers will recognize this as the “he’s Superman” argument, which has vexed your columnist in the past. Not as easy as it sounds, as one or the other person tends to wander sooner or later, but still a good deal if you can find it and stick with it. AIDS-defining conditions in adults Candidiasis of bronchi, trachea or lungs.
Cancers that affect organs that help maintain blood levels, such as the kidney or spleen, can also affect blood cell counts. You can’t catch HIV from kissing, from being sneezed on by someone with HIV, from sharing baths, towels or cutlery with a HIV-infected person, from swimming in a pool or sitting on a toilet seat that someone with HIV has used, or from animals or insects such as mosquitoes. For example, in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Darla, a 17th-century prostitute dying of syphilis, has her illness go dormant after she’s turned into a vampire, only to see it return with a vengeance upon being un-vamped. Also not as easy as it sounds. Lymphoma, primary, of brain. These people commonly have very low blood cell counts for 10–20 days after the transplant and may need transfusions of blood products. Fever and sweats.
For the TV adaptation, True Blood, the scriptwriters evidently felt that a Chinese strain of AIDS made a less-than-ideal plot device and replaced it with hepatitis D, an actual virus that for purposes of the show is harmless to its human carriers but lays vampires low. STDs are some of the craftiest diseases around. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, any site (pulmonary or extrapulmonary). It may also be given after bone marrow or stem cell transplants or certain operations in which blood loss is significant. Swollen glands in neck and armpits. Practitioners of bloodplay, or drinking blood, can definitely catch diseases, and aficionados advise regular blood testing, monogamy, and avoidance of risky pre-dining activities such as, believe it or not, tooth brushing or flossing, since these may cause abrasions through which a blood-borne pathogen may invade. Look before you “sleep” If you’re just too eager to get it on to stop and ask for an STD test, or if you have reason to doubt your partner’s word when they say they’re clean as the driven snow, your best choice (health-wise) is to not “sleep” with them.
CMV retinitis (with loss of vision). A cryoprecipitate transfusion may also be used if fibrinogen is lowered. There is evidence to show that 20% of HIV infections in gay men are acquired this way. Latex barriers Those latex gloves doctors use aren’t just for show – they form a non-porous barrier through which pathogens can’t pass (in either direction). What works in the operating room can work just as well in the bedroom. Salmonella septicaemia, recurrent. It is sometimes given to people with certain blood-related diseases, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), who have very low gamma globulin levels.
Loss of appetite. At this point, you might be wondering how all this latex and vinyl differs from wearing an encounter suit to bed. Well, modern barrier methods are considerably more responsive than an encounter suit, making for a much more pleasurable experience… Kaposi’s sarcoma. People who have a low red blood cell count, or anemia, may need a red blood cell transfusion. Recurrent warts or herpes. If you’re shooting for your best odds of not getting an STD, “I’ve got a condom,” should, like “I’ve tested clean”, be the launching point for a more extensive discussion.
For those about to kink, keep it clean Whatever your level of kink, from thinking vinyl pants are sexy to wanting to tie someone up and paddle them delirious, clean your props after each use. The separate article HIV and Skin Disorders outlines the many dermatological manifestations of the disease. They are usually reserved for people who have a low WBC count, called leukopenia or neutropenia, and a severe infection that doesn’t respond to antibiotics. Any sexual health clinic or GUM clinic – such as the Wolverton. On the other hand, any porous material, such as leather or rubber, will be very difficult to properly clean let alone sterilize, so keep them away from splatter zones or cover them with a disposable non-porous material (i.e., a glove or plastic wrap). If your kink extends to piercing, cutting, or blood sport in general (giving or getting), treat it just like surgery: use latex gloves, sterile implements, and clean and disinfect the skin involved before starting. In the UK, sharing rates remain higher than in the mid-1990s with almost one in three injectors in the Unlinked Anonymous survey of injecting drug users reporting direct sharing of needles and syringes in the previous four weeks.
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors (GM-CSFs) help the body make granulocytes and macrophages. Given the choice, avoid all activities which might involve blood to blood contact Most STDs are called such because their primary (often only) method of transmission are via bodily fluids such as saliva, vaginal secretions, ejaculate, and blood. Blood in particular offers a perfect living and transmission environment for most pathogens including STDs. Any time you expose your bloodstream to someone else’s blood you’re literally rolling out the red carpet for every disease they have: no one action is more dangerous. It is thought this is due to the increasing availability of drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Sometimes platelet transfusions are not needed when the platelet count is low but there are no signs of bleeding. If you do IV drugs, don’t share needles with anyone!
This solution seems pretty straightforward to me, but it’s escaped millions of people the world over. Don’t be one of them. People with haemophilia may die from liver disease and haemorrhage before the development of an AIDS-defining condition. Radiation doesn’t affect red blood cells or platelets. If you have a planned surgery coming up, some hospitals will allow you to have your own blood drawn and stored for transfusion during the surgery. Depending on your jurisdiction, a sterile synthetic blood substitute might also be available. More often the need for transfusion will arise from an accident or unforeseen illness, and your choice (if you’re conscious to make it) will be rather simple – transfusion or death.
The basis of management is described in the separate article Human Immunideficiency Virus (HIV). If you need a blood transfusion, you will have a blood test to find out your blood type and Rh factor. Choosing not to shoot heroin for the first time on a dare, would be an excellent example of using your brain. But inconsistency, which generally springs from not using your brain, can completely sabotage any of the previous choices including abstinence. I knew a girl who was “abstinent” except for giving blow jobs, for which she didn’t even use condoms because “technically blow jobs don’t count”. There are, however, still many problems. The healthcare team takes precautions before a transfusion is given to prevent a reaction to the blood product.
Many states have a waiting period for guns, why don’t you establish a waiting period for sex? While that means you can’t spontaneously go at it with someone, it also means you’ll have time use your brain instead of your hormones to decide. It also gives you time to get STD tests, make sure you have condoms, ask questions like “Who have you had sex with in the last three months?”, and even buy some nice candles to make the eventual evening more romantic. They are simpler and involve fewer tablets, whereas it used to be necessary to take 16 to 20 tablets a day. This will feel like a prick or pinch. If he’d been willing to stick to only making out, his odds would have improved significantly (clothing also makes a good “barrier method”), but he wouldn’t hear of it. There’s no cure for willful stupidity.
As I said to begin with, anything short of living in a bubble constitutes gambling. That’s life, but whether you want a reputation as an ice queen (or king) or a reputation that invites comparison with Debbie does Dallas, not having an STD prevention plan is a sucker’s bet. The blood is refrigerated, so it may feel a little cold. That way even if you end up losing, you’ll be less likely to lose big, or at the very least you won’t end up wondering how it happened.