Since 1981, more than 1.8 million people in the US are estimated to have been infected with HIV, including the deaths of over 650,000 patients. Today, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV. The astounding number of people suffering from this disease is enough to give it a status of global catastrophe. Most countries have implemented AIDS awareness campaigns to educate people regarding the rapid spread of this disease. Yet, many people are still in the dark about the exact mode of transmission of HIV, the rate of transmission, and the probability of contracting this disease.
The general tendency is to assume that you contract AIDS as soon as you are exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus. Many people wrongly assume that having sexual intercourse just once with an infected person is enough to get you infected. However, these notions only arise from insufficient knowledge and the justified fear of the dreadful disease. Contrary to what most people think, HIV transmission rates are very low at a single instance of exposure, and are mostly dependent upon the volume of body fluid transmitted and the density of HIV in the fluid. The virus is more concentrated in the cervical, vaginal secretions, semen, and blood. It is comparatively lower in tears, saliva, sweat, or other body fluids.
HIV can be transmitted from one person to another in the following ways:
✦ From an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding
✦ Injury due to infected needle stick
✦ Infected blood transfusion
✦ Bite of an infected person
✦ Male-to-male sexual contact
✦ Male-to-female sexual contact
✦ Contact between wounds or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or body fluids
✦ Exchange of blood while kissing an infected person, who is having bleeding gums or sores
According to the CDC, the estimated HIV transmission risk per 10,000 exposures for various types of activities is presented in the following table:
|Activity||Risk per 10,000 Exposures|
|Sharing syringes while injecting drugs||63|
|Needle stick injury||23|
|Anal intercourse (Receptive)||138|
|Anal intercourse (Insertive)||11|
|Penile-vaginal intercourse (Receptive)||8|
|Penile-vaginal intercourse (Insertive)||4|
|Oral intercourse (Receptive)||Low|
|Oral intercourse (Insertive)||Low|
|Biting and kissing||Extremely low|
Since there is no permanent cure for HIV/AIDS, the best cure is to prevent it altogether. Encouraging people to have safe sex is one way of preventing the rapid spread of this dreadful disease. Remember, these statistics just provide mathematical figures based on the average, but you may be at a far greater risk in the real world.