Transmission of HIV

Transmission of the HIV virus: infection, facts and myths. The HIV virus causes AIDS. It is therefore logical that many people are afraid of becoming infected with the HIV virus. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the method of infection. What are the facts and what are the myths?

What is HIV?

HIV refers to the virus that causes AIDS. Someone who is infected with the HIV virus does not necessarily have AIDS. When the virus enters the body, it starts to break down the immune system. The virus weakens the body’s immune system to such an extent that bacteria and viruses can easily cause damage in the body. A normal flu or cold can be fatal. When the immune system is weakened to such an extent, it is called AIDS. It usually takes years for the virus to break down the immune system. That is why an infected person will not notice anything for the first few years.

Myths and facts about the HIV virus

There are a lot of myths about the HIV virus: with names about how HIV is transmitted. This sometimes makes people very afraid of having contact with an infected person. This is very annoying for people who are infected: they are rejected by society because it is afraid of also becoming infected. In a number of cases, contamination is possible, but there are also many known cases in which contamination is not possible or the chance is very low.

Myths about transmitting HIV

The following situations cannot transmit HIV or the chance is very small, and can therefore be considered myths:

  • Infection through French kissing: the virus is present in very small quantities in saliva. The amount of virus in saliva is too little to infect someone.
  • Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation: there is little risk of infection due to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Although there is a small amount of the virus in saliva, this is not enough to infect anyone else. In addition, the virus is broken down in the saliva.
  • Used toothbrush: When an HIV patient has bleeding gums, some infected blood may end up on the toothbrush. However, deer virus cannot survive outside the body and will die. There is also so little blood on a toothbrush that it contains a minimal amount of virus. Too little to cause an infection.
  • Contamination through contact with urine: the HIV virus cannot be found in urine. In other body fluids. Contact with urine does not cause contamination.
  • Skin-to-skin contact: When the skin is intact, no contamination can occur. The skin does not allow infections to pass through. This means undamaged skin without wounds.
  • Contact with dried blood: Touching dried infected blood does not pose a risk of contamination. Deer virus quickly dies outside the body. Dried blood therefore only contains the dead virus.
  • Infection through coughing and sneezing: the HIV virus is not spread through coughing and sneezing. When an infected person sneezes or coughs in the direction of someone else, there is no chance of transmitting the virus. It is polite to hold your hand over your mouth or nose.
  • Contact with blood lying somewhere: the virus can remain alive outside the body for about half an hour. Anyone who touches infected blood has a very small chance of infection. The conditions for this are: the blood must be less than half an hour old, and the recipient has a wound where the infected blood has penetrated. Contamination via blood lying somewhere, for example on an old plaster, is therefore very small.
  • Contamination via the toilet seat: the chance of contamination via the toilet is also very minimal. Urine and feces do not transmit the virus, but blood, vaginal fluid and semen do. However, the virus dies very quickly outside the body. Even if the virus is still alive, the recipient will have to have a wound somewhere, and even then the chance remains very small.
  • Insects such as mosquitoes: mosquitoes transmit viruses by biting multiple times, often to different people. However, the HIV virus will not be transmitted via a mosquito: the amount of virus that the mosquito carries is far too small for this. A drop of infected blood that sticks to the mosquito will quickly dry and the virus will die. A mosquito always has a rest between two meals. Moreover, a mosquito sucks blood in such a way that infection is virtually excluded.
  • Transmission via fungi: the HIV virus is not transmitted via fungi. If an infected person has a fungal skin infection and you come into contact with it, no transmission of the HIV virus will take place.

Facts about transmitting the virus

  • Sexual intercourse: the HIOV virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse. Safe sex is therefore always recommended. The risk of contracting the virus is greatest among men. This also applies to bisexual men.
  • Oral: menstrually contaminated blood or semen that enters the mouth can cause infection, especially if there are wounds in the mouth. Since many people suffer from bleeding gums, this method is not recommended if either partner is infected.
  • Mother to child: A pregnant infected woman can infect the child. approximately 20 to 30 percent of babies are infected through the mother. A caesarean section is less likely to cause an infection than a normal delivery.
  • Contaminated needles: By using previously used contaminated needles, an infection can occur. This is common among drug users. When someone pricks themselves with a contaminated needle, the chance of contracting the HIV virus is 0.3%.
  • Blood transfusion: The virus can be transmitted through a blood transfusion with infected blood. The chance of this is high, because freshly infected blood has the greatest chance of contamination. In the Netherlands, all donor blood is screened for the virus. In certain countries, less care is taken with donor blood.

Similar Posts