How can you get HIV?

Yana Ryabtseva
Yana Ryabtseva
July 25, 2014
How can you get HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a group of retroviruses that are often called “slow viruses”. This name is due to their feature to manifest itself after a sufficiently long period of time from the moment of infection.

After HIV infection enters the blood, it attaches to the blood cells that are responsible for immunity. Inside the cells, the infection multiplies, and even before the body gives an immune response, it spreads throughout the body. Over time, the number of immune cells will drop to a critical limit, after which the patient will develop AIDS.

To warn yourself and your loved ones against infection, you should know the main ways of transmission of the virus. Below are some of the most common ways of contracting HIV infection.

How you can get HIV: sexual intercourse

Most become infected with HIV as a result of unprotected sex with an infected person.The virus can accumulate in the semen, especially in the presence of concomitant inflammatory diseases. In addition, HIV may be contained in vaginal secretions.

During anal intercourse, the risk of virus entering the rectal mucosa increases several times. Also, anal sex due to the high probability of injury to the rectum greatly increases the risk of virus contact with blood.

Injection method

Injecting drug users are most often infected with HIV by sharing needles and syringes. According to statistics, in 5-10% of cases of a deadly infection, the virus was transmitted through contaminated syringes when injecting drugs. For this reason, people who inject drugs are strongly advised to use only disposable syringes and needles.

Blood transfusion

You can become infected with HIV during the transfusion of blood or its components that contain cells of the virus. In 90-100% of cases of transfusion of infected blood to a healthy person infection occurs.

Nowadays, there is a mandatory procedure for screening blood donors for various diseases and viruses, including HIV,therefore, the risk of infection during blood transfusion is significantly reduced. However, if a donor infection has already occurred, and antibodies have not yet formed, it is not always possible to establish the presence of a virus in the blood.

From mother to child

HIV infection can cross the placenta, resulting in an increased risk of infecting the baby from an infected mother during pregnancy or childbirth. In this case, the risk largely depends on the level of medical observation and treatment of women, on the stage of HIV and other medical indications.

Infection of the baby can also occur during breastfeeding. In the milk of an infected woman there is a virus, therefore, if the mother is HIV-infected, breastfeeding is contraindicated.

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