HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is actually a virus which attacks your immune system. HIV could lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), a disease which would drastically weaken your body’s immunity and could be fatal. HIV could be transmitted from one person to another under specific circumstances. Understanding the HIV facts rather than entertaining the lingering myths would be a positive step forward towards prevention of misinformation and also HIV from spreading.
Body Fluids & HIV Transmission
Bodily fluids like saliva and tears do not spread HIV infection. HIV is usually transmitted through specific body fluids that are known to contain a high degree of HIV antibodies. Some of these fluids are semen, blood, rectal & vaginal secretions and of course breast milk. HIV is definitely transmitted when an HIV-positive person’s bodily fluids pass through open sores, cuts or mucous membranes of an HIV-negative person. Spinal cord and amniotic fluids could be containing HIV virus and could be a potential risk for healthcare professionals who seem to be exposed to them.
Anatomy & HIV Transmission
Vaginal sex is the commonest mode of transmission of HIV virus. Many cases have been reported where oral sex has been the cause of HIV transmission. However, anal sex seems to present the greatest transmission risk among sexual activities. Anal sex could cause bleeding more easily because the tissues lining the anus are fragile and could get ruptured. This could be the cause of the virus’s easy entry into the body.
HIV could be spreading from mother to her child through breastfeeding or in the uterus. If you are in any way exposed to an HIV-positive patient’s blood there could be a risk factor. Do not share needles while using intravenous drugs. Getting a tattoo could prove to be risky if contaminated instruments have been used. The existing safety regulations are generally effective enough to prevent any blood-transfusion-associated infection.
Blood Banks & Safety
In the United States, the risk of transmission of HIV infection due to a blood transfusion is extremely rare. The donated blood undergoes several safety checks and sophisticated tests to rule out any risks. Blood donations which test HIV positive are discarded safely and are not allowed to contaminate the blood supply in the USA. Today you could easily discover the presence of any antigen or an antibody in a blood sample. Today MyBioSource Elisa could be used effectively as a diagnostic tool for the detection of HIV.
Kissing & Casual Contact
Several people today are avoiding kissing and casual contact with an HIV positive person as they are scared of getting infected. In this context, you must remember that the virus is not present on the skin. So, casual contact like hugging, holding hands or even sitting close to a patient should not be an issue. Closed mouth kissing does not pose any threat. However, open-mouthed kissing could prove to be a threat as blood could be involved from mouth sores and bleeding gums. Saliva could be containing negligible quantities of viral load though that is not enough for transmitting HIV.
Transmission Misconceptions: Biting, Spitting & Scratching
Spitting and scratching are not responsible for HIV transmission. A bite cannot cause HIV transmission unless it breaks the skin and causes bleeding.
Protection: Practice Safe sex
Practice safe sex to safeguard yourself from HIV infection. Safe sex implies the use of fresh new condom each time you experience anal, vaginal and oral sex. Use water-based lubricants only. Oil-based lubricants could prove to be risky as they could be breaking down the latex and cause leaks. You should inform your partner about your HIV-positive status. Use condoms compulsorily if one of the partners is HIV-positive. The HIV-negative partner should go for regular testing preferably every six months.
Education is necessary to banish stigmas and myths. Researchers have conducted several studies and after extensive research have come up with effective treatments for HIV-infected people so that they could live longer and lead productive lives. Currently, more and more people are realizing the actual cause of HIV and the way it could spread. Continued education is certainly the key to busting myths and misconceptions about HIV transmission.