Transmission Of Hiv Infection
HIV is not transmitted by casual contact or by close, nonsexual contact at work, school, or home. No case of HIV transmission has been traced to the coughing or sneezing of an infected person or to a mosquito bite. Transmission from an infected doctor or dentist to a patient is extremely rare.
HIV is usually transmitted in the following ways:
Injection of contaminated blood, as can occur when needles are shared or a health care worker is accidentally pricked with an HIV-contaminated needle
Transfer from an infected mother to a child before birth, during birth, or after birth through the mothers milk
Medical procedures, such as transfusion of blood that contains HIV, procedures done with inadequately sterilized instruments, or transplantation Overview of Transplantation Transplantation is the removal of living, functioning cells, tissues, or organs from the body and then their transfer back into the same body or into a different body. The most common type of… read more of an infected organ or tissues
HIV is more likely to be transmitted if skin or a mucous membrane is torn or damagedeven if minimally.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- Am I at high risk for HIV?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of HIV?
- How can I make sure I take my medications correctly?
- What can I do to protect myself from other illnesses?
- How can prevent the spread of HIV?
- What do my test results mean?
- What do my blood counts mean?
- What vaccinations should I get?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Treatments have come a long way since the height of the AIDS epidemic. You have the best chance of living a long life if youre diagnosed early and are able to get on and stick with ART medications. People living with HIV today are able to work, have active social lives and families, and pursue fulfilling relationships. In fact, this can have a positive impact on your well-being.
While weve come a long way with treatments, unfortunately, social stigmas around HIV still persist. In addition to the feelings of fear and uncertainty a new diagnosis can bring, you may wonder how those around you will respond. If youre hesitant to get tested or get treatment, or if you just arent sure what your next steps are, you can reach out to a community organization that specializes in HIV. Remember that you are deserving of support, compassion and high-quality healthcare.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/06/2022.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
Mechanism Of Hiv Infection
). Once inside a CD4+ lymphocyte, the virus uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to make a copy of its RNA, but the copy is made as deoxyribonucleic acid that contain the code for a specific protein that functions in one or more types of cells in the body. Chromosomes are structures within cells… read more ). HIV mutates easily at this point because reverse transcriptase is prone to making errors during the conversion of HIV RNA to DNA. These mutations make HIV more difficult to control because the many mutations increase the chance of producing HIV that can resist attacks by the persons immune system and/or antiretroviral drugs.
The HIV DNA copy is incorporated into the DNA of the infected lymphocyte. The lymphocytes own genetic machinery then reproduces the HIV. Eventually, the lymphocyte is destroyed. Each infected lymphocyte produces thousands of new viruses, which infect other lymphocytes and destroy them as well. Within a few days or weeks, the blood and genital fluids contain a very large amount of HIV, and the number of CD4+ lymphocytes may be reduced substantially. Because the amount of HIV in blood and genital fluids is so large so soon after HIV infection, newly infected people transmit HIV to other people very easily.
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The Hiv Prevention Toolbox Has Grown
There are more options than ever before to reduce the risk of HIV. These include personal actions like abstinence, having only one partner with the same HIV status, and choosing less risky behaviors, as well as risk reduction tools, services, and interventions that are delivered by health care organizations. Currently available tools include:
- Improved Access to Prevention Tools
- Condom Distribution Programs
Hiv Is An Infection That Can Lead To Aids
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Its a virus that breaks down certain cells in your immune system . When HIV damages your immune system, its easier to get really sick and even die from infections that your body could normally fight off.
About 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and more than 38,000 new infections happen every year. Most people with HIV dont have any symptoms for many years and feel totally fine, so they might not even know they have it.
Once you have HIV, the virus stays in your body for life. Theres no cure for HIV, but medicines can help you stay healthy. HIV medicine lowers or even stops your chances of spreading the virus to other people. Studies show that using HIV treatment as directed can lower the amount of HIV in your blood so much that it might not even show up on a test when this happens, you cant transmit HIV through sex.Treatment is really important . Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS. But with medicine, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives and stop the spread of HIV to others.
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Hiv Prevention And Treatment
If a person is HIV positive, there are treatment options to keep them healthy and prevent them from transmitting it. Thankfully, with proper treatment for HIV, people can live long, healthy lives by keeping their viral load under control in Stage 2.
HIV treatment drugs suppress a persons viral load or the number of HIV cells in the body. Doctors will monitor the cell count and when it falls an undetectable range, they are considered to be non-transmittable.
Scientific research has proven that a person cannot transmit HIV to another partner if their viral load is undetectable. This is commonly which stands for undetectable = untransmittable.
Of course, the best way to stop HIV transmission is to understand how to protect yourself and others from exposure. Using condoms and avoiding sharing needles is effective but taking PrEP can provide the greatest protection even if you are accidentally exposed.
PrEP is a medication prescribed by a doctor which can lower the risk of HIV transmission significantly. This drug stops HIV from being able to reproduce in the body. So, it can be taken before exposure and stop HIV transmission.
If a person has knowingly been exposed to HIV and is not currently on PrEP or has missed numerous doses, then they will be prescribed PEP. This is a medication regimen of HIV prevention drugs that must be administered with 72 hours of exposure. This can stop HIV from reproducing and diminish a persons viral load.
Does Hiv Go Away
HIV doesnt go away on its own. It inserts itself into your DNA so your cells think that its a part of you. There can be many years without symptoms after initial infection, but HIV can still be damaging your immune system even if you dont feel sick.
There may be periods while on medication where the virus is not detectable by an HIV test. In these cases, HIV can be hiding in your body, undetected. It can wake up and start destroying your cells again in the future.
This is why continuing to take HIV medication, even if you dont feel sick or the virus is undetectable, is extremely important. Without treatment, HIV will weaken your immune system until you cant fight off other serious illnesses.
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What Is A Retrovirus
rather than as DNA DNA Genes are segments of deoxyribonucleic acid that contain the code for a specific protein that functions in one or more types of cells in the body. Chromosomes are structures within cells… read more .
When HIV enters a human cell, it releases its RNA, and an enzyme called reverse transcriptase makes a DNA copy of the HIV RNA. The resulting HIV DNA is integrated into the infected cells DNA. This process is the reverse of that used by human cells, which make an RNA copy of DNA. Thus, HIV is called a retrovirus, referring to the reversed process.
Other RNA viruses , unlike retroviruses, do not make DNA copies after they invade cells. They simply make RNA copies of their original RNA.
Each time an HIV-infected cell divides, it makes a new copy of the integrated HIV DNA as well as its own genes. The HIV DNA copy is either
HIV-1 originated in Central Africa during the first half of the 20th century when a closely related chimpanzee virus first infected people. The global spread of HIV-1 began in the late 1970s, and AIDS was first recognized in 1981.
Key Points About Hiv/aids
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus . HIV destroys or hurts immune system cells. It weakens the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers.
HIV is most often spread by having sex with an infected partner. It can also spread by having contact with infected blood from contaminated needles, syringes, or other drug equipment.
A mother infected with HIV can give her baby the virus before or during birth. She can also pass the virus by breastfeeding.
Many people have a flu-like illness within 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the HIV virus. But about 5 out of 10 people dont have any symptoms at all at first.
HIV cant be cured. But it can be well controlled with antiretroviral medicines.
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Neurological Complications Of Hiv
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens and slowly destroys the bodys immune system, leaving you vulnerable to life-threatening complications from an infection or certain cancers.
As HIV and AIDS battle your immune system, your central nervous system is also affected. HIV and AIDS both cause a number of neurological complications, particularly if HIV progresses to AIDS.
Today, antiretroviral medicineswhen taken correctly and promptlyhelp to slow down the progression of HIV. They also help to delay the onset of or to decrease the risk of progression to AIDS. Controlling HIV can also reduce your risk for neurological complications of HIV.
Through Blood Transfusions Or Organ Transplants
Currently, HIV infection is rarely transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants.
Since 1985 in most developed countries, all blood collected for transfusion is tested for HIV, and when possible, some blood products are treated with heat to eliminate the risk of HIV infection. The current risk of HIV infection from a single blood transfusion is estimated to be less than 1 in about 2 million in the United States. However, in many developing countries, blood and blood products are not screened for HIV or are not screened as stringently. There, the risk remains substantial.
HIV has been transmitted when organs from infected donors were unknowingly used as transplants. HIV transmission is unlikely to occur when corneas or certain specially treated tissues are transplanted.
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Can Hiv Be Prevented
To reduce the risk of getting HIV, people who are sexually active should:
- use a latex condom every time they have sex
- get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too
- reduce their number of sexual partners
- get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of getting infected with HIV. To find a testing site, visit the CDC’s National HIV and STD Testing Resources.
- consider taking a medicine every day if they are at very high risk of getting infected
- Do not inject drugs or share any kind of needle.
- Do not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood.
- Do not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore.
Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems
HIV makes it hard to fight off respiratory problems such as the common cold and flu. In turn, an HIV-positive person may develop related infections, such as pneumonia.
Without treatment for HIV, advanced disease puts an HIV-positive person at an even greater risk for infectious complications, such as tuberculosis and a fungal infection called pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia .
PJP causes trouble breathing, cough, and fever.
The risk of lung cancer also increases with HIV. This is due to weakened lungs from numerous respiratory issues related to a weakened immune system.
According to available research , lung cancer is more prevalent among people with HIV compared to people without it.
People with HIV are more likely to develop high blood pressure. HIV also raises the risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension . PAH is a type of high blood pressure in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs. Over time, PAH will strain the heart and can lead to heart failure.
If a person has HIV with a low CD4 count, theyre also more susceptible to tuberculosis .
TB is an airborne bacterium that affects the lungs. Its a leading cause of death in people who have AIDS. Symptoms include chest pain and a bad cough that may contain blood or phlegm. The cough can linger for months.
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If I Have Hiv How Can I Keep From Spreading It To Others
The best ways to keep from spreading HIV to others are many of the same ways you use to protect yourself:
- Let sexual partners and anyone you inject drugs with know that you have HIV.
- Follow your treatment plan and dont miss medications. If you have an undetectable viral load, you greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
- Talk to your sexual partner about taking PrEP.
- Dont share needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
- Limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- If youre pregnant and have HIV, following your treatment plan, including ART medications, can reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to your child.
What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
There is no cure for HIV infection, but it can be treated with medicines. This is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can make HIV infection a manageable chronic condition. It also reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Most people with HIV live long and healthy lives if they get and stay on ART. It’s also important to take care of yourself. Making sure that you have the support you need, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting regular medical care can help you enjoy a better quality of life.
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How Hiv Is Not Spread
The virus doesn’t survive well outside the body. So HIV cannot be spread through casual contact with an infected person, such as by sharing drinking glasses, by casual kissing, or by coming into contact with the person’s sweat or urine.
It is now extremely rare in the United States for HIV to be transmitted by blood transfusions or organ transplants.
Preventing Transmission By Blood Transfusions And Organ Transplants
In the United States, the following have almost eliminated transmission of HIV infection by organ transplantation or blood transfusion:
Screening donors of organs or blood for risk factors for HIV infection
Screening donated blood for HIV
Risk is reduced further by asking people with risk factors for HIV infection, regardless of their test results for HIV, not to donate blood or organs for transplantation.
However, developing countries have not consistently used sensitive HIV screening tests and have not restricted donors. Consequently, transmission by these routes is still a problem in these countries.
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Dysregulation Of Innate Immunity
Activation of natural killer cells and production of type I interferon by plasmacytoid dendritic cells are the main effector arms of innate antiviral responses . Both mechanisms are severely affected during HIV-1 infection, with potential consequences for pathogenesis and generation of an efficient vaccine-induced response.
Dysregulation of NK cells
Dysregulation of pDC
The second major component of innate immune responses triggered by viral infections is the production of type I IFN by pDC . pDC are activated upon recognition of common structural patterns of viruses, particularly single-stranded viral RNA and unmethylated CpG-rich DNA which trigger Toll-like receptors 7 and 9, respectively . Type I IFN create a cellular environment that is hostile to the virus by limiting the uptake of nutrients from the extracellular environment, increasing the degradation of RNA, arresting progression through the cell cycle and eventually favouring the apoptotic death of the target cell . Furthermore, type I IFN directly induces the expression of MHC and co-stimulatory molecules on antigen-presenting cells, thus promoting efficient antigen presentation and the priming of adaptive immune responses .
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong. Heart-healthy eating can help prevent some of the problems, such as high cholesterol, that can be caused by treatment for HIV.
- Learn how to deal with the weight loss that HIV infection can cause.
- Learn how to handle food properly to avoid getting food poisoning. For more information, see the topic Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life. Take steps to help prevent HIV-related fatigue.
- Don’t smoke. People with HIV are more likely to have a heart attack or get lung cancer.footnote 23, footnote 24 Cigarette smoking can raise these risks even more.
- Don’t use illegal drugs. And limit your use of alcohol.
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