HIV, a Virus that Lives to Kill

Very quickly transmittable

We all have already heard about HIV. People freak out over it. Some mix it up with AIDS. Others immediately associate it with unprotected sex or dirty needles. We all have some idea of what HIV is about, but it’s not enough. It is very important to be well-informed about its transmission in able to prevent it.

HIV, human immuno-deficiency virus, is mostly located in human body fluids where it reproduces itself and multiplies. Blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), breast milk, vaginal fluid and rectal mucous are the main fluids of an HIV-infected person that can transmit the virus to a non-infected person. [1] How? The infected fluids pass through another person’s mucous membrane, sores, damaged tissue or skin breaks and contaminate the body.[2]

As mentioned before, HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact and injection drug use. During unprotected sex, whether vaginal, anal or oral, the virus can be delivered into the non-infected partner’s fluids through breaks, sores, rips or membranes in the vagina, the anus, the penis and the mouth. [1]

Concerning injections, they can be very dangerous if the needles used are shared between two people or more. It is like injecting another person’s infected blood directly in our body. Our blood will become infected too for sure.

There are many other ways to transmit HIV. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are major causes. Babies can get infected because they have contact with their mom’s infected blood and other fluids during the whole pregnancy and birth processes. They can also catch HIV while drinking breast milk. [1]

Occupational exposure is another factor. Healthcare workers can easily catch HIV in their workplace because they have contact with infected fluids through needle sticks, sharp objects or cuts. A splash of infected fluid into their eyes, mouth, or into an open sore will automatically infect them. [1]

Last but not least, an organ or a blood donation is another way, a little bit rarer than the others, to transmit HIV. If the donor is infected, the virus will be transmitted because the person getting the organ transplant or blood transfusion is going to have contact with the donor fluids that will infect his own.

HIV can’t be transmitted through little daily gestures  such as shaking hands, hugging, kissing or sharing food. Also, saliva, urine, tears and sweat are not infectious fluids because, even if they contain the virus, it is very low-concentrated. Therefore, there isn’t enough HIV in order to be transmitted. [3]

[1] ''How Do You Get HIV or AIDS?'' U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 6 June 2012. Web. 22 April 2014.

[2] ''HIV Transmission. '' USA government , 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 April 2014.

[3] ''How is HIV Transmitted? '' Smart + Strong, n.d.Web. 22 April 2014.

Comment Stream