How is AIDS spread?
The main causes of contagion are the following: sex, pregnancy, and interchange of contaminated blood
- Sex: Having sex with infected or sick people is the main cause of transmission of this disease. Transmission, if no action is taken, may occur if vaginal, anal, or oral sex is practiced.
By means of anal intercourse, and specially men or women being penetrated in such a way, are the most likely to suffer this transmission. Heterosexual intercourse is the main cause of infection in developing countries, representing over 80% of cases.
The only 100% effective method would be to avoid a number of risk behaviors, such as to maintain safer sex (with a non-infected regular partner). Condom use is recommended to decrease the risk of infection by more than 80% probability.
- Pregnancy: When mother is infected or sick, she can transmit this disease to their children. This probability increases when the mother breastfeeds with her milk to her child. Currently a number of preventive measures have reduced the likelihood of transmission considerably. (Administration of zidovudine, caesarean section, avoiding breastfeeding, etc.).
- Contaminated blood: Initially there were many infections by contaminated blood transfusions. Today, this type of transmission is almost eradicated by preventing the positive potential blood donors to be authorized to give their blood and by analyzing blood samples from donors.
- Drug addiction: Needle exchange with AIDS virus carriers or AIDS patients can transmit the disease up to 90% of the cases. To avoid this possibility some countries, while promoting a range of policies to attain drugs refusal, apply other more immediate measures such as providing syringes to patients and substituting intravenous illegal drugs by other medical oral drugs (methadone)
- Accidents and cuts with infected objects: Being accidentally pricked by a needle, especially health workers, is another factor that can cause this infection. Similarly, sharing razors or toothbrushes, the practices of tattooing, piercing, the holes for earrings, hair cuts or shaves in barber shops, or any other practice that can produce a wound with a contaminated object may bed a cause of transmission.
- No cause: There is a small proportion of cases that do not appear to have valid reasons for disease transmission
Causes that do not transmit AIDS
There are many circumstances, often discussed, that do not transmit AIDS. Among them, some common ones deserved to be mentioned:
- Non-sexual contacts with patients: Kisses, hugs, handshakes, sitting next to a patient, contact with urine, sweat, the saliva, tears or stool,
- Ingestion of food handled by a patient (Drinking water, eating a snack, drinking some coffee, etc.)
- Public places for personal hygiene: Infection can not happen to share a shower, a toilet, a gym, pool, beach or sea, etc.
- Mosquitoes or insect bites
- Bites from domestic animals (dogs, cats, etc.).
More information about AIDS in the listing above.
This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.