TRANSMISSION OF HIV
There is no current evidence that HIV can be transmitted through casual contact.
Routes of transmission include the following:
a. Sexual Contact. HIV can be transmitted by direct contact of genital or rectal
mucosa with infected semen or vaginal secretions. HIV can be found in many body
fluids--saliva, tears, semen, vaginal and cervical secretions. It is believed that the virus
is transmitted by fluid only through semen and vaginal and cervical secretions.
Additionally, that fluid contact must be direct regardless of whether the contact is
homosexual or heterosexual.
b. Sharing Needles. The second largest group of people to have AIDS in the
United States and Europe are intravenous (IV) drug users. HIV is transmitted through
sharing drug injection equipment--needles and syringes--contaminated with infected
c. Contaminated Blood. Several known viruses including hepatitis B virus and
Epstein-Barr virus can be transmitted in blood products. In 1982, it was discovered that
HIV could be transmitted in blood transfusions. Blood products are now screened for
HIV with the result that fewer cases of AIDS can be attributed to donated blood
d. Maternal-Child Transmission in Utero. A pregnant female infected with
HIV can transmit the infection during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. It is not known
exactly what determines whether the infant will have AIDS since not every infant born to
an HIV-infected female develops AIDS.
e. Casual Contact. There is no current evidence that the virus can be
transmitted by casual contact. Scientific studies have concluded HIV, although deadly
when transmitted as just stated, is not transmitted by saliva sprayed in a cough or a
sneeze or left on a drinking glass. Tears, urine, and insect bites are not routes of
transmission. Research indicates that HIV is a fragile virus that can be killed by heat,
ordinary soap and water, household bleach solutions, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide,
Lysol, and the chlorine used in swimming pools.
f. Workplace Safety. According to the Public Health Service, AIDS is a blood-
borne that is not spread by casual contact. No known risk of transmission to co-
workers, clients, or consumers exists from HIV infected workers in offices, schools,
factories, or construction sites. The Public Health Service recommends that workers
known to be infected with HIV should not be restricted from using telephones, office
equipment, toilets, showers, eating facilities, or water fountains.