Human Immunodeficiency Virus Definition and Meaning

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Human Immunodeficiency Virus is often known as HIV.


In practice, there are three fundamental modes of HIV transmission: sexual transmission, parenteral transmission through shared use of needles or syringes, contaminated instruments, blood transfusion, etc. and vertical transmission or from mother to fetus.

Blood transmission

Transmission of HIV through blood is currently the main mode of transmission of AIDS in Spain since the majority of HIV antibody carriers are IDUs (injecting drug users). Shared contaminated needles and syringes can transmit HIV; in addition, the objects that are used for the preparation of the drug can also be contaminated.

Notice with the photograph of a condom.

HIV transmission by transfusions or injections of blood products is currently practically nil since there is a requirement to detect anti-HIV antibodies in all blood samples since 1987 and for these purposes only samples that are seronegative are used.

Anyone who thinks they have engaged in risky behavior in recent months should refrain from giving blood or organs.

Body care items (scissors, razor blades, toothbrush, tweezers, etc.) present a theoretical risk of HIV transmission as they can come into contact with blood. Its use requires cleaning with a disinfectant solution or heating it.

HIV has been found in different body fluids such as saliva, tears, urine, but its presence, perhaps due to its low quantity, has not made it possible to verify that they allow the transmission of the AIDS virus, so kisses, glasses, spoons, water, underwear, etc. they are not a source of HIV transmission.

Therefore saliva, sweat, tears, and dirty utensils do not transmit the AIDS virus. In the same way, it is not transmitted by mosquito bites or other insects and it is not transmitted by domestic animals since they are not carriers of the virus.

Sexual intercourse

The most important route of transmission of HIV in the world is sexual, both homosexual and heterosexual. In general, the risk of sexual transmission depends on the prevalence of infection in the sexually active population.

Homosexual practices are those associated with the highest risk of suffering from the infection, especially in ano-genital relationships, with the receptive partner being the most exposed.

In heterosexual practices, the risk is bidirectional, but the probability of male-female transmission could be up to 20 times greater than that of female-male transmission. In all cases, the risk increases when there is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and when there are multiple partners.

In prostitution these factors are added and in many cases their relationship with drug addiction.

Sex tourism and “flirting” in bars, discos, etc. are also risk behaviors.

The risk of sexual transmission decreases when:

  • There are safe or theoretically safe sexual practices.
  • Promiscuity and sexual relations with strangers are avoided.
  • Latex condoms are used.

Screening test

The anti-HIV antibody test is mandatory when donating blood, organs, tissues, semen or eggs. In all other situations, the performance of the test is a voluntary decision and requires the consent of the subject for its performance. It is advisable to perform the test when:

  • There have been or are risky behaviors.
  • A new love relationship begins.
  • You want to have children.
  • Even if the test is carried out periodically, and is negative, all preventive measures should be taken when exposed to risky situations.

The use of condoms and avoiding sharing needles and syringes is essential. All the more so when the test is positive.

Recent exposures to risk situations

From the time of infection with the AIDS virus until detectable antibodies are produced in conventional tests, a variable period of time can pass, averaging three months.

Therefore, a negative test carried out within a few days of a possible exposure to HIV does not show that one is not infected and new determinations should be carried out after three months and even periodically for a year to be able to rule out the infection. Since the change to seropositivity is not immediately detectable during this period, you should refrain from donating blood or semen and you should only have protected sexual relations.

Test site

Most public or private laboratories offer tests for the detection of antibodies to HIV. However, far fewer are able to carry out confirmatory tests and even fewer can carry out direct detection tests for the virus or its products.

Screening can be ordered in most primary care centers and hospital outpatient clinics. It can also be carried out in the centers for sexually transmitted diseases or in specific centers for information and prevention of AIDS. In public centers the test is free.

Relationships with others

Outside of the known transmission mechanisms, the seropositive subject cannot in any way transmit HIV.

In family relationships, everyday contacts do not transmit HIV and outside of sexual transmission or mother-fetus transmission, there should be no fear of infecting family members.

In normal working relationships there is no risk of HIV transmission, so there is no reason to exclude an HIV-positive person from their work, as long as they maintain a responsible attitude towards others, since it is enough to take hygiene measures general. The common use of toilets, showers, changing rooms or dining rooms does not in themselves constitute a risky situation; neither does the sharing of tools, telephones, seats, machines, etc.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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