‘What causes HIV’ is a question that has been asked by people of different ages. The answer to that is HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is caused in 4 major ways – unprotected sexual contact, when patients share hypodermic needles, transmission from mother to fetus during pregnancy, breastfeeding or childbirth, and from reception of a donated tissue, organ or fluid which is infected with the virus.
You should understand the way in which HIV infection is caused as it is integral in protecting the soundness of your health. This is also important for avoiding unnecessary fears about the taboos of HIV.
Understanding what causes HIV
Understanding the features of HIV is important. It is a virus which should enter your bloodstream in adequate quantity so as to start a contagion. HIV is present in blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and body fluids containing blood and breast milk.
An understanding of ‘what causes HIV’ is important because you should know the quantity which is required for triggering the infection.
Sexual Contact: Irrespective of your method of transmission, the HIV virus should pass through unprotected sex. Having unsafe vaginal, oral and anal intercourse are behaviors which put you at a high risk of an HIV transmission.
Share needles: If you are sharing needles with a person who is HIV positive, such as use of intravenous drugs, you are at a high risk for transmission of HIV. If you are employed in the health industry, you can get infected rarely when you are accidentally stuck along with a needle that is used on a person who is HIV positive.
Transmission from the mother to child: Mothers who are HIV positive have a high chance of transmitting the virus to the child when they are pregnant or through breastfeeding or childbirth. This is a risk which can be greatly reduced by pregnant women if they get tested or examined.
If they test positive, they should be administered with antiretroviral medications. Their questions like ‘what causes HIV’ will then be answered when they abstain from breastfeeding and ensure that their children are given drugs which the doctor recommends following birth. Such women will generally require a cesarean section so as to decrease the chances of a transmission during birth.
Organs and fluids that are donated: HIV can be contracted from the infected donations of semen, organs, tissues, blood as well as other products containing blood. However, this is a risk which is eliminated in most developed countries of the world as their donated products are screened for HIV.
A lot of misconceptions exist about the causes of HIV. For instance, the virus is not spread by casual contact like sharing a glass, hugging, using same swimming or toilet facilities, sneezing, coughing or kissing (until there is an open wound through which blood can transfer). HIV is not transmitted by mosquitoes and it is not airborne.
So, now you know about the aspects which are responsible for causing HIV, you will be prepared with answers once someone asks you ‘what causes HIV’. It is always better to stay informed to prevent misunderstandings.