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THE FLU IN OUR FUTURE

 

HOW DOES HIV/AIDS SPREAD: ORAL ROUTE

Some studies have persuasively indicated that HIV is present in the saliva and other body fluids. This is why many people believe that kissing, sharing utensils, etc., with people who have HIV can transmit the infection. This is not necessarily true. The concentration of HIV in the saliva is very low and it therefore carries a very low risk of transmitting the infection. Also, it is believed that the chemical substances in the saliva can destroy the HIV. If the virus is ingested in the stomach, the acids in it are likely to inactivate or destroy the virus. The risk through oral route is therefore very low. It can be higher if there are cuts or wounds in the mouth or bleeding gums. This is because the blood that oozes out of the mouth will have HIV.

There are several misconceptions about the spread of HIV infection through oral sex. Some studies have indicated that oral sex has a higher risk of transmitting HIV infection as compared to kissing. This is because oral sex allows vaginal secretions and/or semen to enter the mouth. In case there are wounds or injuries in the mouth, the virus present in vaginal secretions or semen can easily enter the body. Although the risk of getting HIV infection is lower with oral sex if there are no wounds in the mouth, it is not recommended as an alternative to safer sex, i.e., sex using a condom.

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HIV