How is HIV Aids Caused?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV/AIDS is caused by the transmission and infection of the virus in the following ways:

  • HIV Transmission: HIV is primarily transmitted through contact with certain body fluids that contain the virus. These fluids include blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk. The most common modes of HIV transmission are:
    • Unprotected Sexual Intercourse: Engaging in vaginal, anal, or oral sex without the use of a condom with an HIV-infected partner or a partner of unknown HIV status can result in the transmission of the virus. Unprotected anal intercourse is considered the highest-risk sexual activity for HIV transmission.
    • Sharing Needles or Syringes: Sharing needles or syringes with an HIV-infected person during drug use, or other activities like tattooing or body piercing, can introduce the virus into the bloodstream.
    • Mother-to-Child Transmission: An HIV-infected mother can transmit the virus to her baby during childbirth, through breastfeeding, or during pregnancy if she is not receiving appropriate medical care and treatment to prevent transmission.
    • Blood Transfusions and Organ Transplants: In the past, HIV transmission occurred through contaminated blood transfusions and organ transplants. However, blood screening and testing have significantly reduced this risk in many countries.
    • Occupational Exposure: Healthcare workers and others may be at risk of HIV transmission through accidental needlesticks or contact with HIV-infected blood.
  • HIV Infection: When HIV enters the body, it primarily targets and infects certain immune cells, particularly CD4 T-cells. The virus replicates within these cells, and during this process, it can damage and ultimately destroy them. Over time, the gradual loss of CD4 T-cells weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and diseases.
  • Progression to AIDS: AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. It is diagnosed when the immune system becomes severely compromised, and the individual is susceptible to opportunistic infections and certain cancers. Not all individuals infected with HIV progress to AIDS, and with appropriate medical care, including antiretroviral therapy (ART), the progression to AIDS can be delayed or prevented.

It’s important to emphasize that HIV is not spread through casual contact, such as hugging, kissing, or sharing utensils, and it is not airborne or transmitted through routine social interactions.

Prevention measures, such as safe sex practices (using condoms), needle exchange programs, early detection and treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk individuals, are essential for reducing the transmission of HIV. HIV/AIDS is a significant global health concern, and efforts are made to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and improve access to testing and treatment to help control the spread of the virus and support those living with HIV.