How is HIV transmitted? -
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How is HIV transmitted?

How is HIV transmitted?

by: Dr. Monica Agarwal
Sr. Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology - Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Still in our society, people are unaware about how transmission of HIV happens leading to increase in HIV positive cases all over.

So to clear the facts, HIV is most commonly transmitted by sexual activity, contaminated needle or syringe use, mother to child transmission & accidental needle stick injury.

Body fluids which contain and transmit HIV:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Pre seminal fluid
  • Rectal fluid
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Breast milk

When these fluids come in contact with mucus membrane or damaged tissue then transmission of virus occurs. Mucus membrane is found in mouth, rectum, vagina and penis.

Modes of transmission

  •  Having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without a condom
  • Sharing needles or syringes with positive people. HIV can remain active in a used needle for up to 45 days.
  • Mother to child transmission during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Risk is increased if the mother is not taking medication. All mothers should get tested for HIV status and start medication to lower the rate of transmission to the baby
  • Contaminated needle stick or sharp object injury to a person handling a positive patient. This is the most common mode of transmission in healthcare worker
  • Receiving blood transfusion, blood product, or organ transplant contaminated with HIV
  • Deep open mouth kissing

HIV is not spread by:

  •  Hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, social kissing
  • Saliva, tears, sweat and urine do not have HIV virus
  • Mosquito, tick or blood sucking insects do not spread HIV
  • HIV is not spread by air
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