Myths surrounding HIV Transmission

One of the most prevalent myths about HIV transmission is that mosquitos or other bloodsucking insects can infect you.  However, There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. To see why mosquitoes don't aid in the transmission of HIV, we can look at the insect's biting behavior.  When mosquitoes bite someone, they do not inject its own blood or the blood of an animal or person it has bitten into the next person it bites, but it does inject saliva, which acts as a lubricant so that it can feed more effectively.  Yellow fever and malaria can be transmitted through the saliva, but HIV does not reproduce in insects and therefore does not survive in the mosquito long enough to be transmitted in the saliva.

 

There is also a slight chance of transmission through open-mouth kissing and biting, although the CDC has investigated only one case in which HIV infection was attributed to open-mouth kissing.

 

HIV does not transmit through the air or surface contact like cold and flu viruses do.  HIV is a fragile virus and doesn't survive well outside the human body.  This fragility makes the possibility of environmental transmission very remote.  Outside of a host cell, HIV doesn't survive for very long.  Laboratory studies have shown that once the fluid (blood, sweat, tears, etc..) containing the HIV virus dries, the risk of environmental transmission is nearly zero.

 

There is a lot of misinformation about how HIV can be transmitted, so here is a list of ways in which HIV is not transmitted:

 

Saliva, tears and sweat - Saliva and tears contain only small amounts of HIV, and scientists haven't detected any HIV in the sweat of an infected person;
Insects - Studies show no evidence of HIV transmission through bloodsucking insects. This is true even in areas where there are many cases of AIDS and large populations of mosquitoes;
Using the same toilet seat;
Swimming in the same pool;
Touching, hugging or shaking hands;
Eating in the same restaurant;
Sitting next to someone.

 

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