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What is HIV (AIDS)?
›› How Is HIV Transmitted?
How Does HIV Work?
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Main > Specialty Areas > Immunology >
HIV (AIDS)

How Is HIV Transmitted?

There are a few routes via which HIV may get into a body:

  • Unprotected sex
    (70-80 percent of all infections are attributed to it);
  • Infected injection needle sharing
    (5-10 percent);
  • Non-sterile tattoo and piercing procedures;
  • Use of other persons' shaving blades or toothbrushes with traces of blood on them;
  • Blood transfusions
    (5-10 percent; mostly not a concern in developed countries anymore since stringent monitoring measures have been instituted to screen all donated blood for HIV virus);
  • Mother to baby - it is possible for an HIV-infected mother to pass the virus to the baby during pregnancy, during birth or via breastfeeding
    (5-10 percent; however there are drugs that a pregnant HIV-infected woman can take that will substantially reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to the baby);
  • HIV is found in the blood, sperm, vaginal secretions, breast milk, but not in other bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, tears or urine. Hence there is no danger of getting the virus through casual contact such as kissing, for example. The reason for this is that in order to get infected, one needs to receive a certain concentration of the virus. The concentration of the virus in blood is high enough to make it possible to get infected from a tiny droplet of blood; however, in order to receive the same amount of HIV one would need a gallon of saliva.

    ‹‹ What is HIV (AIDS)? How Does HIV Work? ››

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