Can Saliva Transmit HIV?
HIV in full is Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a lentivirus that once acquired slowly replicates causing AIDS. It preys on the immune system weakening it and allowing infections which is life threatening to thrive. HIV can be present both as free virus particles and also as virus in infected immune cells. It infects the CD4+ T cells, dendritic cells and macrophages weakening the body’s immunity system.
HIV can be transmitted through contact with blood of an infected person, breast milk, vaginal fluid and pre-ejaculation or semen during sexual intercourse. There are several ways of contracting HIV as mentioned below.
Having intercourse with an infected person.
Having unprotected sex with an infected partner on someone who isn’t assured of their HIV status be it vaginal or anal puts you at risk of sexually transmitted HIV. Chances of being infected through oral sex are minimal though it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. Body fluids come into contact with mucosal tissues of another person. In the case of sores, open cuts or skin breaks, only increases the chances of getting infected. However, massages, masturbation, hand jobs and kissing don’t spread HIV.
One can be infected with HIV virus if he/she receives infected blood through a blood transfusion. It is therefore advised that the blood be screened before a transfusion.
It is a proven fact that drug abuse has widely contributed to the spread of HIV. Sharing of needles and syringes by drug junkies who haven’t been tested can lead to the spread of the virus from an infected person to a non-infected person. In order to reduce on this number, some hospitals and health organizations have come out to aid them with disposable needles for free in order to cut down on the number of the sharing factor.
An infected mother can infect the infant during pregnancy and child birth and also when breastfeeding. It is important therefore for mothers to get tested immediately they become pregnant so that if the mother is HIV positive, she can be put under medication so as not to infect her unborn child. A HIV positive mother should feed her baby using bottled milk and not breastfeeding.
Health Care Centers.
Some nurses and doctors have been infected in their workplace after being jabbed with needles and blades stained with HIV infected blood. For hospitals, the nurses and doctors should make sure to carefully dispose the used needles and blades and also wear protective gloves when attending to a patient.
Some scientists have detected HIV in tears, urine and saliva but in extremely low concentrations. There haven’t been any reports of HIV transmission via these fluids. Also, it cannot be transmitted by shaking hands, sharing eating utensils and food, toilet seat, casual kissing or hugging with an infected person and mosquito bites. It is therefore safe to say that saliva cannot transmit HIV virus. It is however possible if the saliva has traces of infected blood.