My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.

Close

Posted: | Report This Report Question |
Q.
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

8,020 Answers
273,972 Helpful Votes
325 Followers
A.

HIV lives in human blood and sexual fluids (semen and vaginal secretions). The infection is spread from person to person when these body fluids are shared, usually during vaginal or anal sexual contact or when sharing IV drugs. HIV does not live in saliva, tears, urine, or perspiration -- so HIV cannot be spread by casual contact with these body fluids. It can be spread through oral sex, though the risk is small.

HIV cannot survive for long outside the human body and dies quickly when the body fluid it's in dries up. It is not spread by animals or insects and is not found on public surfaces. It's actually not as easy to get as other infectious diseases.

A mother can pass HIV to her child during birth when the child is exposed to the mother's infected blood. Breastfeeding does carry a risk for HIV infection, though in some areas of the developing world, breastfeeding is considered safer than feeding a newborn contaminated water.

There are two main types of HIV, called HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-2 is rarely found outside Africa and parts of Asia, so there is no need to test for it specifically -- unless a person has had contact with someone from an area of the world where HIV-2 is common.

All of the world's scientists working in the field of AIDS agree that HIV is the cause of the AIDS syndrome. Other theories are not supported by scientific evidence.

Dirty needles used for tattoos and body piercing can spread HIV. Be sure these needles are used only once and then thrown away.

Blood transfusions were once a concern, but all blood products used in the United States today are tested for several infectious diseases, including HIV. If signs of disease or other problems are found in donated blood, the person who donated the blood is notified to be retested by their health care provider and is not permitted to continue donating blood. Any donated blood that tests positive for HIV is disposed of and never makes it into the public blood supply.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

Posted:
| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?

YesNo

Thanks for your feedback.

43 of 49 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: Understanding AIDS/HIV -- the Basics

Answers from Contributors (1)

2 Answers
14 Helpful Votes
A.

Another portion of HIV to remember is that is it a virus.  And like all viruses it evolves and continues to change.  Even though you may have HIV and your partner may have HIV, you may not have the exact same "version" of the virus.  What works for your HIV may not work for your partners.  This also means that you still need to take caution and use protection with your partner.  There are many new and upcoming treatments for HIV and we continue to gain knowledge on treatments.  What once was a death sentence is becoming more and more treatable.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the User.down arrowThe opinions expressed here are solely those of the User.
User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see the
bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

Posted:
| Report This Report Answer

Was this helpful?

YesNo

Thanks for your feedback.

9 of 11 found this helpful