Get premium membership and access questions with answers, video lessons as well as revision papers.

How the human immunodeficiency virus is transmitted


Date Posted: 2/5/2019 12:27:01 PM

Posted By: Faimus  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 1012

Human immunodeficiency virus abbreviated as HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. The disease just like any other viral disease does not have a cure; although, they are drugs that can be used by HIV negative people in order to reduce their chances of contracting the virus. The HIV positive populace uses antiretroviral drugs to reduce the effects of the virus.

The signs and symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, one cannot tell that one has contracted the disease just by observing their physical appearance. In the late stages, however, the ravages of the disease are quite obvious and visible. It is thus important for everyone to take HIV tests every three months in order to be aware of their status so as to take the appropriate action. Knowledge of the various ways in which the virus is transmitted is also very important.

There are several myths on how the virus is transmitted from one person to another. These myths are one of the major causes of stigma against HIV positive persons. So, how is HIV transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted through various ways. It is important to note that HIV is present in certain body fluids and thus can only be transmitted if any of these fluids from the body of a HIV positive person comes in contact with mucous membranes, damaged tissue or are injected into the bloodstream of a HIV negative person. Mucous membranes are found in the rectum, vagina, anus and mouth. These body fluids are blood, semen, pre seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

One of the ways of transmitting the virus from a positive person to a negative person is through vaginal or anal sex without using condoms or taking medicine in order to prevent

or treat HIV. For a HIV negative partner, receptive anal sex poses the greatest risk of contracting the virus in comparison to insertive anal or vaginal sex. The other main way in which HIV can be transmitted is through sharing of needles and syringes with someone who has HIV. The virus can live on a needle up to about 48 hours depending on the temperature and other external conditions.

Other common ways in which HIV can be transmitted are; from a HIV positive mother to child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding if the mother is not receiving the required treatment. In order to reduce the number of babies born with HIV, pregnant women are tested and those found to be positive, begin their treatment immediately. Another common way is by being pierced by a HIV contaminated sharp object such a needle. Receiving blood transfusion or body organ and tissue transplants from a HIV positive person is another way. However HIV infections by this method have been reduced by the improvements in technology that enable thorough screening of blood and organs before transfusion and transplants.

Lesser common ways in which HIV can be transmitted include contact between mucous membranes or damaged tissue and HIV infected blood or blood fluids. This can occur especially in times of accidents. Another way is deep, open mouth kissing if both partners have sores or bleeding gums and if the blood of the HIV positive partner gets into the blood stream of the HIV negative partner. HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva. There are other ways in which the virus can be transmitted such as bites from a HIV positive person but these highlighted here are the most common ones.

Next: How to reduce your monthly expenditure
Previous: Effects of drug abuse among the youth