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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the body immune system to fight infections and if not treated can lead to AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). 

HIV is found in the following bodily fluids of someone living with the virus: blood, semen and pre-seminal fluid ('pre-cum'), rectal fluids/anal mucous, vaginal fluids, breastmilk.

This virus (HIV) can be transmitted when these bodily fluids get into your blood through a mucous membrane (for example, the lining of the vagina, rectum, or the opening of the penis), via shared injecting equipment, or through broken skin (such as cuts or sores in the mouth or tears around the anus).

There is not enough HIV virus in other bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine, to transmit it from one person to another. Someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load, meaning effective treatment has lowered the amount of virus in their blood to levels where it cannot be detected by a normal blood test, cannot pass on HIV.

A person living with HIV with a detectable viral load can pass the virus to others whether they have symptoms or not.

HIV is most infectious in the first few weeks after infection. At this time many people are unaware of their status.

The various ways it can be transmitted include:
  • Having sex without condom
Having unprotected (meaning sex without a condom, if you are not taking PreP) with someone who has HIV, particularly unprotected vaginal and anal sex.
  • Sharing of injectables and sharp objects
Sharing needles, syringes or other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs with someone who has HIV can cause its transmission.
  • Mother to Child transmission
A mother infected with HIV can pass the virus to her baby via her blood during pregnancy and birth and through her breast milk when breastfeeding.
  • Contaminated blood transfusion
Receiving blood transfusions, blood products or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This risk is extremely small because most countries test blood products for HIV first.

If adequate safety practices are not in place, various health workers can also be at risk of HIV from cuts made by a needle or sharp object (needlestick injury) with infected blood on it. However, the risk of ‘occupational exposure’, is very low in most countries. 

The only way to know if you have the virus is to get an HIV test done on you as soon as possible.


There are many myths about HIV. Some people wrongly believe that HIV can be spread through the air (even though HIV can’t survive in air). HIV can’t be spread through saliva, casual contact, touching toilet seats or from mosquito bites either.

Prevention and protection from HIV virus

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from HIV, they include:

  • The use of a condom every time you have vaginal, oral or anal sex.
  • Some countries PEP is available. This is a course of HIV drugs which if taken consistently as advised by your healthcare professional prevents HIV infection through sex.
  • Avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment 
  • Taking  HIV treatment if you are a new or expectant mother living with HIV as this will dramatically reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
  • Asking your healthcare professional if the blood product you are receiving (blood transfusion, organ or tissue transplant) has been tested for HIV.
  • Taking precautions if you are a healthcare worker, such as wearing protection like gloves and goggles, washing hands after contact with blood and other bodily fluids, and safely disposing of sharp equipment
  • if you think you have been exposed to HIV you may be able to access PEP, a 4-week course of ARV drugs taken after possible HIV exposure to prevent HIV infection. You must start PEP within 72 hours of possible exposure to be effective.

Pharm G

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👍thanks for dropping this here

Jemi for Life

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@jemila really appreciate.. 👍 

Pharm G