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How Is HIV Transmitted?

There is a relatively small HIV epidemic that exits in the United Kingdom, when compared to other parts of the world. Estimates state that roughly 98,000 people residing in the UK are infected. This means that 1.5 out of 1000 people within the UK are currently infected with the virus. While this number may sound like it is relatively low, the amounts of people infected with the virus within the United Kingdom have increased drastically since the early 1990s.

Although, statistically, 98,000 people have contracted the HIV virus, only twenty two percent of the individuals that have the condition, are aware of its existence. This is fairly alarming. People that are unaware of their condition are more likely to reach the final stage of the condition, which is AIDS. Once the final stage has been attained, there are only a few treatments that can help an individual maintain their mortality.


Of the total number of HIV diagnoses that were made within the UK, fifty one percent of cases were a result of homosexual encounters, forty five percent of the cases occurred from heterosexual encounters, two percent were a result of drug use, and less than two percent of cases were due to mother to child transmission, blood and tissue transfers, and other undisclosed reasons. Transmission occurs when bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, or breast milk from an infected person come in contact with an open orifice of an uninfected individual. Saliva and casual contact do not inhibit the spread of the HIV virus.


The amounts of people that contracted HIV through heterosexual encounters accounts for forty five percent of the ways that HIV is transmitted within the UK. However, the amount of people that are infected with HIV in this manner, are beginning to drastically decline within the area. The number of infections that occur in this mannerism, mean that the amounts of women that are being infected with the virus has risen over the past twenty five years.

In the past, men were the dominant carriers of the virus. Although, the numbers of men infected with the virus are still higher than the amounts of women who have the virus, statistically, women carrying the infection have seen a steady increase. In the past, ratio of men to women who had the virus was six to one, now the ratio is 2.1 males to every single female.


Fifty one percent of people, who contract HIV in the UK, do so, through sexual encounters with the same sex. Male to male sexual encounters are becoming common in the UK. Out of the males that have the HIV virus in the UK, only seventeen percent of the individuals that have the virus are aware of it. Although homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, carrying out sexual encounters in a smart manner, can help to stop the spread of the virus.


Although drug use does account for a small percentage of people who contract HIV in the UK, it is still one factor that allows for transmission of the virus; People that use drugs that require them to inject themselves with needles, run the risk of contracting HIV, especially if the needles that are being used are being shared amongst users. Two percent of the people diagnosed with HIV, contract the virus from sharing dirty needles, during drug related activities.


If a mother is carrying the virus, this does not always mean that their child will become infected. With all of the tests and treatment options that are available, this is becoming a rare means of contracting the virus. However, the possibility of HIV being transmitted in this manner is still relevant.