HIV Transmission Facts
HIV transmission statistics are important for the general public and crucial for people who are at risk of infection. Since HIV can infect anyone, it’s important to know every important detail about how the virus is spread. There is also the fact that there are many confusing myths. Having the right information makes it easy for you to live with the virus or with positives.
Transmission: Key Facts
The HIV virus thrives in human blood. This virus cannot survive outside the body.HIV enters the body through the mucous membrane or through the blood stream. This happens through the penis, vagina, and anus.
Once in the body, the virus fights immune system cells. Normally, these cells are supposed to fight bacteria and viruses. However the virus targets these cells leaving the body without protection. In the body, the HIV virus exists in the following:
- Blood, including menstrual blood
- Semen (this includes cum and pre-cum fluids)
- Vaginal fluids
- Rectal secretion or rectal mucosa
Main Routes Of HIV Transmission
- HIV transmission can be via unprotected vaginal and anal sex with a person who carries the virus. There are also rare cases of transmission via oral sexual activities.
- The sharing of drug injection tools such as syringes and needles that are not sterilized is a major transmission route.
- It is possible for HIV to pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
- Though under control now, HIV can pass from one person to the other through blood transfusion, infected transplants, and other medical procedures.
HIV Risk Of Infection
HIV can infect anyone. There are certain myths that HIV only affects a certain group of people. Looking at the routes of transmission, it is clear that the virus can infect just about anyone, from toddlers to senior citizens. It does not select gender or sexual orientation either. People living with HIV and following antiretroviral therapy can help in reducing the transmission rate.
Myths Of HIV Transmission
There are many myths floating around about the transmission of HIV. Let us look at some of the half truths that people tend to believe:
- You can get HIV through surface contact. Unless you and the person you come into contact with have open cuts and one of you is infected, handshakes, hugs, toilets, and utensils will not facilitate HIV transmission.
- Breathing near a person living with HIV can infect you. This is a myth and a big part of the current social stigma. HIV is not airborne; therefore, sneezing, spitting, and coughing will not lead to infection.
- Kissing will give you HIV. Well, this means that HIV transmission through kissing is unlikely. However, if both people have open wounds and one of them has HIV, transmission is possible.
- You can get HIV from insect bites. Insects do not transmit HIV since they will not be injecting blood when they bite.
- New sterilize needle and syringes will not give you HIV. Well, most people believe that if they share new needles they are safe from HIV transmission. The problem is not with the sterilized drug injection tools, it is with the act of sharing.
- You can get HIV through sharing water. HIV virus will not survive in water. This simply means that you will not get the virus through sharing a shower or through swimming pools.
Facts Of HIV Transmission
The following are the truths of HIV transmission:
- HIV can spread from a man to a woman, or woman to man through vaginal sex. The possibilities of transmission are higher if there are sores or cuts.
- Transmission through anal sex is high. This is facilitated by the fact that the anal lining tears easily
- Oral sex, though rare, can also be a route for transmission. This will mostly happen if the giver and the recipient have open sores in the mouth and genitals respectively.
- Drug abuse is a major transmission route for HIV. The risk increase with sharing of drug injection tools. If there is a HIV positive individual in the group, chances are that the virus will spread. There is also a chance for transmission in tattooing and body piercing.
- Though possible, transmission through transplants and transfusions has reduced considerably due to medical advances
- HIV can also spread through mother-to-child transmission. However, since most medical centers require all pregnant women to go through testing, this transmission has greatly reduced.
The transmission of HIV can reduce through testing so that people can know their status and take the necessary steps to prevent spreading. Having the virus is not a death sentence anymore. There is no HIV Cure. However, with proper medication, you can live a healthy life and reduce the spread of the virus.