By Dr. Shailesh Sahay , General Physician
The transmission of HIV Virus from an infected person to a healthy person can only take place through an immediate contact with bodily liquid or discharge, such as:
- Blood (along with menstrual blood)
- Vaginal discharge
- Rectal Fluids
- Breast milk
It is your blood that has the maximum concentration of the virus, after semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. So, in order for the transmission to take place; these bodily liquids must come into contact with a damaged tissue or a mucous membrane (present inside the mouth, rectum, penis and vagina) or be straight away injected into your blood vessels either by a syringe or needle.
How is HIV transmitted through Sex?
1. Through Oral Sex:
There are often such cases found where a person becomes infected with HIV virus through oral sex. It is, therefore, advised to not have blood, HIV-infected semen and vaginal fluid in your mouth. Nonetheless, oral sex is believed to be a low-risk activity.
2. Sexual Intercourse (Vaginal and Anal):
Vaginal and anal intercourses are considered as high-risk practices; because there is always a likelihood of the HIV virus entering through the mucus membranes, sores or cuts (which can be very small or hardly noticeable).
3. Sharing Syringes or Needles:
Sharing syringes, needles or other instruments for injecting is known to be a high-risk exercise. With injection needles, you can transmit blood from one person to another quite easily. So if somebody infected with the virus has already used a needle himself and shares the same with another person, then he/she can be put at a very high risk of HIV.
4. Mother to Child: Mother to child transmission is now rare because pregnant women who are HIV-positive are normally given medications to prevent the fetus from getting infected. However, it is possible for an HIV-infected mother to pass the virus directly before or during birth, or through breast milk. Breast milk contains HIV, and while small amounts of breast milk do not pose a significant threat of infection to adults, it is a risk for infants.