PDA

View Full Version : AIDS ... Where's the Risk?


jebert
06-04-2001, 01:56 PM
We all know that unprotected sex and sharing drug needles are the primary means of HIV/AIDS transmission. At least that's what we're told. Are there any other avenues through which one could contract HIV/AIDS, and what percentage of the total do cases contracted by those means represent? Or more simply, where are the risks to that segment of the population for whom those risky behaviors are not an issue? Let's also exclude health care workers who are probably at increased risk because of much greater exposure to blood.

hajario
06-04-2001, 02:06 PM
The next biggest risk is through a blood transfusion. Many blood donor agencies will not accept blood from a gay male, someone who has ever used needles for drugs or paid for sex or even someone who has been to Haiti or central Africa in the last ten years.

Haj

Moirai
06-04-2001, 02:14 PM
jebert, if you do a quick search on the SDMB you will find dozens of threads that deal with HIV/AIDS transmission, at least to some degree.

In short, HIV/AIDS is cell-borne, which means that any bodily fluid containing cells could concievably carry the virus. The obvious ones are blood and semen, but other fluids might contain cellular matter. Saliva, though it could contain cells, is not generally thought to be a risk.

You are new to the board, so welcome. But in the future, search a topic like this before you start a new thread. Our bandwidth is extremely limited, and you will usually find that "popular" topics have been covered pretty thoroughly already.

dolphinboy
06-04-2001, 03:51 PM
From what I know unless you:

1) Work in the health field industry, or

2) Have unporotected sex with someone who has the virus, or

3) Hi Opel, or

4) Share needles with IV drug users, or

5) Receive blood through a transfusion from an infected doner, or

6) Work closely with the live virus

It's extremely unlikely you will be exposed to the virus. It's certainly not impossible, but it's not air borne, water borne or found in food and doesn't live for long outside of the body. If you had an open wound and intentionally rubbed the live virus into it you might infect yourself... but then again, you might not.

Ethilrist
06-04-2001, 04:08 PM
Now, now, Dolphinboy, it's just a rumor that Hi, Opel exposes people to the virus...

jebert
06-05-2001, 09:30 AM
EJsGirl:

Certain that this topic had been covered before, I in fact did a SDMB search (using both "AIDS risks" and "AIDS") before my post and was surprised to find hundreds of threads to wade through, none of which dealt directly with what I was looking for, at least judging by the titles. I posted my question and in short order got what I needed, thanks to hajiro and dolphinboy.

Regarding the transmission avenues, the donated blood issue is the most unsettling. Are there other safeguards beyond taking someone's word on a short interview to ensure the saftey of the US blood supply?

AWB
06-05-2001, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by jebert
Regarding the transmission avenues, the donated blood issue is the most unsettling. Are there other safeguards beyond taking someone's word on a short interview to ensure the saftey of the US blood supply?

Say someone who is HIV+, but who hasn't revealed that information, is being cajoled into donating. As a last safeguard after the interview, the phlebologist leaves the donor alone with his donation kit and two bar code stickers, one meaning "yes, you can safely use this blood for medical purposes", and the other "no, I haven't been fully truthful. Don't use this blood." The donor picks one, puts it on the bag, and takes the other and sticks it on the back of the sticker sheet.

They go ahead and take the blood donation, but then when the bags are processed, the NO barcoded bags are set aside and either destroyed or used for non-donation purposes (research, etc.).

To top it off, each bag also has small sample vials with the same blood in them. (The plebologist fills these with the excess blood in the tubing.) These are tested for HIV and other diseases. Anything untoward with them signals that that unit be taken out of storage, and also may flag a letter to be sent to the donor, since they truly might not know of any problems.

choosybeggar
06-05-2001, 12:41 PM
Originally posted by jebert


Regarding the transmission avenues, the donated blood issue is the most unsettling. Are there other safeguards beyond taking someone's word on a short interview to ensure the saftey of the US blood supply?

Donated blood is tested for HIV infection in at least two ways: one test checks for antibodies to the virus, a second looks for a protein component of HIV.

The antibody test was developed and implemented first. It detects the host immune response to the virus. However, it may take up to 6 months post-infection to develop a significant anti-viral antibody response. This is called the "window period."

Recent infections (ie. within the window period) with HIV are negative by the antibody test. To catch infections during the window period, the anti-viral protein test (p24) is used. This test works best when there's lots of virus in the blood. And it happens that lots of virus is present in the blood during early infections.

There exists a more sensitive test to directly assay for HIV in blood called reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). This test is used clinically to monitor the level of HIV in patients that are on viral supression therapy. AFAIK, this test is not used to screen the blood supply. Cost effectiveness issues, perhaps.

toadspittle
06-05-2001, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by EJsGirl
jebert,...You are new to the board, so welcome.


May 1999 is new to the board? Jebert would appear to be an old fart, the low number of posts notwithstanding.