How is HIV Caused?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is caused by the transmission of the virus from an infected individual to another person. The most common modes of HIV transmission include:

  1. Sexual contact: HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through the mucous membranes in the genital, rectal, or oral areas.
  2. Sharing contaminated needles: HIV can be transmitted through the sharing of needles or syringes contaminated with infected blood. This mode of transmission is particularly relevant for people who inject drugs.
  3. Mother-to-child transmission: HIV can be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. However, the risk of transmission can be significantly reduced through appropriate medical interventions, such as antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy, delivery by Caesarean section when necessary, and avoiding breastfeeding in certain situations.
  4. Blood transfusion or organ transplantation: Before the implementation of effective screening measures, HIV could be transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants using infected blood or organs. However, strict screening processes are now in place to prevent such transmission.

It’s important to note that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact, such as hugging, shaking hands, or sharing utensils with an infected person. The virus is primarily present in certain body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk.

To prevent HIV transmission, it is crucial to practice safe sex by using condoms consistently and correctly, avoid sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia, and opt for safe medical practices such as using sterile needles for injections or blood transfusions. Early detection, access to appropriate healthcare, and adherence to antiretroviral therapy can help manage HIV infection and reduce the risk of transmission.