HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through certain body fluids. The main mode of transmission of HIV is as a result of exposure to infected body fluids by an uninfected individual. There are only three body fluids that have enough quantity of HIV to be infectious:
Blood: The blood of a person who is HIV infected has a very high level of HIV. This includes the monthly menstrual blood of women when having periods.
Breast Milk: The breast milk of a woman who has HIV contains enough HIV to infect the child who is drinking that milk.
Sexual Fluids: During sex, men secrete two types of fluids from their penis, the first is a clear liquid that appears during initial sexual arousal and the second is the milky fluid that a man releases during ejaculation, also known as semen. In a man infected with HIV, both of these fluids contain enough HIV to infect another person. During sex, a woman secretes vaginal fluid from her vagina. In a woman with HIV, this fluid contains enough of the virus to infect another person.
Ways By Which Infection Can Be Acquired
â€¢Sexual intercourse, vaginal, anal or oral
â€¢Transfusion of contaminated blood and blood products and
transplants of tissues and organs
â€¢Use of contaminated needles, syringes, razors, and other piercing instruments. The risk of getting HIV through a needle stick is 1 in300 if that needle had been used on a person who was infected with HIV
â€¢Mother-to-child transmission in the womb, during birth and through breastfeeding.
Other body fluids have been shown to contain HIV, but they do not contain enough of the virus to infect a person. These include saliva, tears and sweat or digestive enzymes. Therefore, it is not dangerous to come in contact with these fluids of an HIV-positive person.
HIV Is Not Transmitted By: Hugging, touching or shaking hands, sharing food or drinks, mosquito or other insect bites, sharing eating utensils or other objects, toilets or showers, coughing or sneezing, swimming pools, public phones and kissing.
There have been no documented cases of HIV transmission through kissing, but in theory, HIV could be transmitted through deep kissing (wet or French kissing), if one of the partners has blood or sores in the mouth or gums.
â€¢To be continued
This piece has been written for the purpose of HIV/AIDS education by Dr. Rotimi Adesanya, a medical practitioner and trained HIV/AIDS counsellor. Visit www.doctoradesanya.blogspot.com.