HIV is a contagious viral infection that has recorded millions of cases worldwide and is still continuing to grow in numbers. Inarguably, this virus has spread like wildfire globally. Its transmission has killed many patients from AIDS and other HIV-related complications. So, it is essential to ask: how is HIV transmitted?
Learn how HIV transmits to other people and debunk the common myths surrounding its spread.
How is HIV Transmitted?
Only direct contact with specific bodily fluids from an HIV-positive patient with a detectable viral load can spread HIV to other individuals. More specifically, it can be spread through sexual intercourse like any other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Contaminated needles can also transmit the infection into a healthy blood stream. When you use the same needle with someone infected with the virus, their blood can carry HIV and directly enter your bloodstream.
Less common ways of HIV spread could be through mother-to-infant during pregnancy or birth. Experts cannot completely rule out the possibilities of HIV transmission through oral sex, blood transfusion, and organ/tissue transplant.
The virus can thrive in rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, semen, blood, and breastmilk. Once an HIV-negative person has wounds, cuts or sores exposed to these fluids from an infected person, the virus can enter their bloodstream. With that, the healthy person can contract the virus and may exhibit common symptoms months after exposure.
How HIV Is Not Transmitted?
Common myths about HIV transmission can cause unnecessary confusion and anxiety among people. Some of you may have heard and laughed at some of these myths. For those who believed in them, we are here to debunk them and shed some lights on the facts.
How is HIV not transmitted then? You cannot get HIV through:
- Air or water – You can share the same living space or swimming pool with someone infected with HIV.
- Sneezing, coughing (Yes! HIV and coronavirus operate differently).
- Mosquito bites – Mosquitoes only inject their saliva into the human skin, and mosquito saliva does not contain HIV. Additionally, HIV cannot replicate/multiply inside a mosquito’s body and die out soon.
- Saliva, tears, sweat or urine from an HIV-positive patient
- Shaking hands and hugging
- Sharing utensils like spoon, dishes, or glasses
- Using gym equipment with an individual with HIV
- Drinking fountain
- Donating blood – You cannot donate blood if you have HIV.
Remember, the only way a person can get HIV is through direct exposure or contact with the bodily fluids of another infected individual. Hence, stay away from myths and rumors.