Understanding HIV Transmission

by : barneygarcia

Since its medical discovery during 1980's, HIV has appeared as one of the deadliest challenges of human survival. But what does HIV actually mean? HIV is the abbreviation for the virus called Human immunodeficiency virus. It is a kind of retrovirus that causes a disease known as AIDS-Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS involves the syndromes where the immune system begins to fail and the patient becomes exposed to the risk of many life-threatening infections.

In the primary stage HIV infects major components of the human immune system and directly or indirectly destroys the cells thereof. After enough destruction has been done, the immune system starts to function poorly leading to the condition of AIDS. HIV also affects the organs like kidneys, heart and brain. It also leads to opportunistic infections and cancers.

HIV is transmitted when mucous membrane of one?s body comes to direct contact of a bodily fluid like blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid or breast milk containing HIV. Since its discovery, three main routs have been identified through which HIV can enter human body.

Sexual route:
Majority of HIV infections are cause by the unprotected sexual intercourse, annul, vaginal or oral.

Blood or blood product route:
This particular transmission route is risky for those who use intravenous drugs, hemophiliacs and recipients of blood transfusions. These days blood is thoroughly checked for HIV before transfusion. Blood products are also checked for the same purpose. But it is still of concern if you are forced to go for a blood transfusion in a region where injection equipments are not used hygienically. In most of the poorer countries this kind of unhygienic practices are still prevalent. HIV can also be transmitted through this rout, if one undergoes tattoo, body piercing or scarification procedures in substandard and uncertified environments.

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT)
This kind of transmission from the mother to the child takes place in uterus during the last weeks of pregnancy or at the time of childbirth. If the mother does not receive any treatment, the transmission rate between the mother and child is 25%. It has been seen, in the presence of treatment, particularly combined with Cesarian birth, the risk of transmission has been reduced to 1%. However, HIV can also be transmitted to the baby from the infected mother through breast feeding.

In some cases, HIV virus in small amount have been found in the saliva, tear or urine of infected patient, but these kinds of secretions have little power to transmit the disease to another person.