HIV/AIDS Lifestyle

transmissionTransmission

HIV is transmitted from person to person via bodily fluids because the virus is present in varying concentrations in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.
It can be spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles/syringes with someone who is infected, or, less commonly, through transfusions with infected blood. HIV infection through blood transfusion is extremely rare in countries where blood is screened for HIV antibodies.

Environment

HIV does not survive well in the environment outside of the body. According to studies performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drying HIV reduces the amount of viral particles by 90-99% within several hours.

The virus also cannot reproduce when it is outside of the body. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the disease can be transmitted through contact with the environment, such as public toilet seats.

Kissing

Casual contact through closed-mouth or “social” kissing does not put an individual at risk for HIV. However, there is the potential for blood contact with open-mouth kissing. The risk for acquiring the virus from open-mouth kissing is low, and the CDC has only investigated one case in which HIV transmission may have been caused by blood contact during open-mouth kissing. The CDC recommends that individuals avoid open-mouth kissing with an infected person.

Biting

There have been medical reports that found that HIV transmission resulted after a human bite. Severe trauma and extensive tissue tearing were reported in each of these cases. However, biting is not a common way of transmitting the disease.

Saliva, tears, and sweat

Very low amounts of HIV have been found in the saliva and tears of some AIDS patients. However, a small amount of HIV in body fluid does not necessarily mean that the fluid can transmit the virus. Contact with saliva, tears, or sweat has not been shown to result in transmission of HIV.

Insects

According to numerous studies, there is no evidence to suggest that HIV has been transmitted through insects, even in areas such as Africa, that have high numbers of AIDS patients and mosquito populations. HIV can only live for a short time inside an insect and does not reproduce inside insects.

Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Patients may receive a combination of anti-HIV drugs called antiretrovirals. These drugs interfere with the virus’s ability to multiply, which subsequently boosts the immune system. HIV patients typically receive a combination of antiretroviral drugs, called “highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)”, because a single patient may have several different strains (types) of the virus circulating in the blood.

The combination of HIV/AIDS drugs also helps prevent mutations from occurring. The different strains of the virus may respond differently to specific types of drugs.
HAART is a combination of at least three drugs from at least two different classes.
Read More about HIV/AIDS Treament Options

Many new HIV drugs are under investigation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a CCR5 receptor antagonist, called maraviroc (Celsentri®), and an integrase inhibitor, called raltegravir (Isentress®), in late 2007.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments, from Chiropractic therapy to regimented dietary supplement plans, have been shown to produce positive results, as well. SafePositive.com provides an extensive library of such treatments, and endorses exploring these alternative solutions with a licensed physician.
Read more about HIV/AIDS Natural Treatments

Lifestyle

Dating

Selected References
AIDS.org. www.aids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). www.amfar.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.cdc.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. www.pedaids.org. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Halperin DT, Steiner MJ, Cassell MM, et al. The time has come for common ground on preventing sexual transmission of HIV. Lancet. 2004 Nov 27-Dec 3;364(9449):1913-5.
Loutfy MR, Antoniou T, Shen S, et al. Virologic and immunologic impact and durability of enfuvirtide-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected treatment-experienced patients in a clinical setting. HIV Clin Trials. 2007 Jan-Feb;8(1):36-44.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). www.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Rigopoulos D, Gregoriou S, Paparizos V, et al. AIDS in pregnancy, part II: Treatment in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy and management of obstetric, anesthetic, and pediatric issues. Skinmed. 2007 Mar-Apr;6(2):79-84.
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. www.thebody.com. Accessed March 29, 2009.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). www.fda.gov. Accessed March 29, 2009.
Vrouenraets SM, Wit FW, van Tongeren J, et al. Efavirenz: a review. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Apr;8(6):851-71.