Transmission route

There are three ways of HIV transmission:

sexual — in heterosexual and homosexual contacts

parenteral - with blood and its components in violation of the integrity of the skin, mucous membranes

from mother to child - before, during and shortly after childbirth and breastfeeding

Sexual transmission

Every sexual act without protection (i.e. without a condom) exposes an uninfected partner to the risk of infection. The degree of risk depends on a number of factors, including the presence of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the sex and age of the uninfected partner, the method of sexual intercourse, the stage of the disease of the infected partner. Studies in Europe of 563 heterosexual couples, in which only one partner was initially infected, suggested that transmission from a man to a woman is about twice as likely as from a woman to a man. Usually, women are more vulnerable to HIV infection because of the more extensive exposed surface (vagina and cervix). Moreover, the concentration of HIV in semen is much higher than in the liquid secretions of the vagina and cervix. In the case of anal sex, there is a higher risk of HIV transmission compared to vaginal, due to the greater likelihood of tissue damage to the receiving partner. And in this case, the passive partner is at greater risk than the active partner. Since both semen and vaginal discharge contain HIV, there is theoretically a risk of transmission during oral sex. In all forms of sex, the risk of transmission is higher if there are scratches or abrasions on the skin or mucous membrane. With oral and vaginal sex, the risk is higher if a woman has a menstrual cycle.

Transmission of the virus through the blood (parenteral route)

It is realized when the integrity of the skin is violated by a piercing instrument, if the instrument contains the blood of an HIV-infected person. This can happen when using needles, syringes, razors and tattooing tools. Any pricking instruments that have not been sterilized can be a means of transmission of infection. This path of infection is the leading one for people who inject drugs (LUIN) at least once with a "dirty" infected syringe. LUIN also lead a promiscuous sex life, many girls who take intravenous drugs are commercial sex workers (MS). In addition, LUIN have a negative attitude to protective equipment - condoms. All this increases the possibility of HIV infection and exacerbates the spread of HIV infection among other segments of the population.

Mother-to-child transmission of the virus

Transmission of the virus can occur between mother and child during pregnancy, childbirth (infection through the mother's blood) and breastfeeding (both from an infected mother to a healthy child through breast milk, and from an infected child to a healthy mother through biting the breast during feeding).

Mostly pregnant women become infected after drug injection, less often sexually, even more often there may be infection before pregnancy.

How is HIV not transmitted?

  • when shaking
  • hands when coughing, sneezing
  • when visiting the pool, sauna, toilets
  • with insect bites
  • with friendly kisses
  • through dishes, clothes, underwear
  • in contact with pets
  • through food
  • Transmission paths