Mosquitoes have long been known to transmit diseases. Going back as far as yellow fever and dengue, most not only hate the annoying insects for biting but also their potential to give deadly viruses. In times, when the media is on a constant loop talking about the Coronavirus, many begin to wonder about transmission. One of the more well-known viruses that many worries about contracting are HIV. Can mosquitoes transmit HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus had been in the media since the 80s. While symptoms of the infection have become highly treatable in recent years, it is still something most don’t want. Understanding how HIV is contracted, and importantly how it isn’t contracted is vital. In this article, we will go through some of the basics of HIV and how it relates to mosquitos.
Why CAN mosquitoes NOT transmit HIV?
Mosquitoes can transmit diseases. It’s important to realize that. However, when it comes to HIV, mosquitoes can’t be infected. Therefore they can’t spread. HIV exists in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bite and penetrates the skin, the only saliva is deposited. If a mosquito bites a human that was HIV+, the insect, then goes to bite someone that isn’t positive, blood is never transmitted.
When a mosquito feeds off a person, the borne diseases can’t replicate in the gut of the mosquito. HIV is unable to break down. The insect lacks the receptors needed to carry the virus. So while you may have to worry about specific types of sicknesses, Human immunodeficiency virus isn’t one of them.
How HIV is transmitted in humans?
While you don’t have to worry about mosquitos infecting you with HIV, you should understand how you could contract it. Though chimps are often blamed for the beginning of Human immunodeficiency virus, this is not how people will contract it today. To get HIV, you must be in contact with someone that is HIV+. There will need to be an exchange of fluids and is most commonly thought to happen during sexual intercourse.
A person infected with the virus will spread through their infected fluid to another person’s bloodstream. Though evidence suggests that sexual contact is how HIV is mostly transmitted, sharing needles is another method of transmission. Though mothers can pass the virus on to an unborn child, this only occurs in 1% of situations. Types of fluids that can contain the virus includes:
- Anal Fluid
- Vaginal Fluid
- Breast Milk
What are the viruses transmitted by mosquitoes?
Though you don’t have to worry about getting HIV from mosquitoes, there are other viral infections you should be aware of. Below are the common illnesses people have contracted over the years due to infected mosquitoes.
The yellow fever got its name for the effects it has on the infected. After being infected, the individual exudes jaundice symptoms in the hands, eyes, and feet. Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease. It will also present with fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting, and fatigue.
Spread by tropical mosquitos, dengue fever takes up to 14 days to show symptoms. Those that have been infected once before will have a significantly different experience and notice that the illness is much more severe. Dengue fever is rare and only affects 20,000 a year.
Found worldwide, but mainly in Asia, Chikungunya displays symptoms after about a week of being bitten. Fever and joint pain are the most common, though headache and fatigue are also symptoms you may notice. Chikungunya is extremely rare, affecting only 1,000 people a year.
One of the more common mosquito-transmitted viruses, Malaria is a significant problem in African countries and around the world. There are treatments available for Malaria, as well as protective drugs for those traveling abroad.
Though it sounds frightening, many with West Nile don’t exhibit any symptoms. If you have any effects, it may include headache, fever, fatigue, rash, and swollen glands. West Nile was identified in 1999.
In the US, the Zika Virus is very rare. There are fewer than 1,000 cases per year. In most cases, there are no symptoms. There’s currently no vaccine and treatments that are available to soothe any adverse effects.
Though HIV is extremely treatable these days, it is still something most will want to avoid, if possible. Talking openly with your sexual partners, not sharing needles, and getting treatment for those that are HIV+ are all methods of reducing the chances of transmission.
Mosquitos though have a bad reputation for spreading illnesses, can’t transmit HIV or the Coronavirus. While they might be the most annoying pest in your yard, you don’t have to worry about contracting these types of viruses.