Useful Information Of The Day: How Is HIV Transmitted

November 19, 2015 | No Comments » | Topics: TRUTH

In light of Charlie Sheen revealing that he is HIV positive, I think we could all use a refresher course on how HIV is transmitted and dispel some of the common myths and misconceptions about the disease.

HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through:

Blood contains the highest concentration of the virus, followed by semen, followed by vaginal fluids, followed by breast milk.

* Activities That Allow HIV Transmission

Sexual intercourse (vaginal and anal): In the genitals and the rectum, HIV may infect the mucous membranes directly or enter through cuts and sores caused during intercourse (many of which would be unnoticed). Vaginal and anal intercourse is a high-risk practice.

Oral sex (mouth-penis, mouth-vagina): The mouth is an inhospitable environment for HIV (in semen, vaginal fluid or blood), meaning the risk of HIV transmission through the throat, gums, and oral membranes is lower than through vaginal or anal membranes. There are however, documented cases where HIV was transmitted orally, so we can’t say that getting HIV-infected semen, vaginal fluid or blood in the mouth is without risk. However, oral sex is considered a low risk practice.

Sharing injection needles: An injection needle can pass blood directly from one person’s bloodstream to another. It is a very efficient way to transmit a blood-borne virus. Sharing needles is considered a high-risk practice.

Mother to Child: It is possible for an HIV-infected mother to pass the virus directly before or during birth, or through breast milk. Breast milk contains HIV, and while small amounts of breast milk do not pose significant threat of infection to adults, it is a viable means of transmission to infants.

The following “bodily fluids” are NOT infectious:



Myth No. 1: I can get HIV by being around people who are HIV-positive.

The evidence shows that HIV is not spread through touch, tears, sweat, or saliva. You cannot catch HIV by:

 

Myth No. 2: I don’t need to worry about becoming HIV positive — new drugs will keep me well.

Yes, antiretroviral drugs are improving and extending the lives of many people who are HIV-positive. However, many of these drugs are expensive and produce serious side effects. None yet provides a cure. Also, drug-resistant strains of HIV make treatment an increasing challenge.

 

Myth No. 3: I can get HIV from mosquitoes.

Because HIV is spread through blood, people have worried that biting or bloodsucking insects might spread HIV. Several studies, however, show no evidence to support this — even in areas with lots of mosquitoes and cases of HIV. When insects bite, they do not inject the blood of the person or animal they have last bitten. Also, HIV lives for only a short time inside an insect.

 

Myth No. 4: I’m HIV-positive — my life is over.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

 

Myth No. 5: AIDS is genocide.

In one study, as many as 30% of African-Americans and Latinos expressed the view that HIV was a government conspiracy to kill minorities. Instead, higher rates of infection in these populations may be due, in part, to a lower level of health care.

 

Myth No. 6: I’m straight and don’t use IV drugs — I won’t become HIV-positive.

Most men do become HIV-positive through sexual contact with other men. However, about 16% of men and 78% of women become HIV-positive through heterosexual contact.

 

Myth No. 7: If I’m receiving treatment, I can’t spread the HIV virus.

When HIV treatments work well, they can reduce the amount of virus in your blood to a level so low that it doesn’t show up in blood tests. Research shows, however, that the virus is still “hiding” in other areas of the body. It is still essential to practice safe sex so you won’t make someone else become HIV-positive.

 

Myth No. 8: My partner and I are both HIV positive — there’s no reason for us to practice safer sex.

Practicing safer sex — wearing condoms or using dental dams — can protect you both from becoming exposed to other (potentially drug resistant) strains of HIV.

 

Myth No. 9: I could tell if my partner was HIV-positive.

You can be HIV-positive and not have any symptoms for years. The only way for you or your partner to know if you’re HIV-positive is to get tested.

 

Myth No. 10: You can’t get HIV from oral sex.

It’s true that oral sex is less risky than some other types of sex. But you can get HIV by having oral sex with either a man or a woman who is HIV-positive. Always use a latex barrier during oral sex.

 

Information provided by WebMD

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