Why Can’t Mosquitoes Spread HIV, and Which Viruses They Transmit

Why Can't Mosquitoes Spread HIV, and Which Viruses They Transmit

Mosquito bites can be more than itchy and mischievous. Although most of these bites are harmless, mosquitoes, such as malaria and Zika, can bring illness.

Mosquitoes are probably one of the worst species on the planet when you’re factoring in all mosquito-borne diseases.

Some people think that mosquitoes can also infect humans with HIV, which is the virus that if left untreated, can lead to AIDS. That isn’t true though.

Why mosquitoes can’t transmit HIV to humans

Even if a mosquito bites an HIV-positive person, then bites someone else, they can not transmit HIV to the second person.

That is because of the genetics of the mosquito, and the HIV genetics itself. Specifically for the following reasons mosquitoes can not transmit HIV.

HIV can not infect mosquitoes and hence they can not infect humans

HIV infects the body by latching on to immune cell surface receptors. They can then kill, multiply, and spread those cells.

Mosquitoes (and other insects) are unable to identify and kill immune cells using the receptor HIV. This means mosquitoes can not become infected with HIV. The virus, however, is actually broken down and digested in the intestine of the mosquito.

Mosquitoes can not spread HIV to humans so they can’t get infected with HIV.

Mosquitoes’ feeding mechanism

There are two tubes in a mosquito’s proboscis — the elongated part of its mouth which it uses to bite people.

One tube is used to suck out human blood. The other one injects saliva into the morsel. This means that only saliva, not blood (either from a mosquito or from another person) enters your body when you get a bite of a mosquito.

HIV can not be transmitted through saliva, therefore it can not be transmitted through a bite of a mosquito.

How HIV is transmitted

HIV is transmitted by a person who has the virus via direct contact with certain body fluids. These fluids contain:

  • blood
  • semen and pre-seminal fluid (“pre-cum”)
  • vaginal fluids
  • breast milk
  • rectal fluids

These fluids have to enter the body of the person so they can contract HIV.

HIV is transmitted mainly by sex, without a condom or other barrier method, and by people who share needles.

In some cases, during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, a mother with HIV may pass the virus on to her child. Antiretroviral therapy can significantly reduce the risk of this occurring, however, and it is safe to take during pregnancy. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a way for people who do not have HIV but are at very high risk of getting HIV by taking a pill every day to prevent HIV infection. The pill (brand name Tenvir) contains drugs (tenofovir) which are used to treat HIV in combination with other drugs. buy prep online at safe healths trusted online pharmacies at an affordable price.

HIV can’t be transmitted through saliva.

Only when a person with the virus has a detectable viral load (the amount of HIV virus in his blood) can HIV be transmitted. Taking daily medication (antiretroviral therapy) for HIV can result in undetectable viral load, meaning HIV can not be transmitted to others.

What diseases do mosquitoes transmit?

Although mosquitoes can’t transmit HIV, they do transmit many diseases.

The mosquitoes transmit various diseases in different parts of the world. This is because different pathogenic compounds thrive in different environments. On top of that, different species of mosquitoes often transmit various diseases.

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include:

  • chikungunya
  • Dengue fever
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • La Crosse encephalitis
  • malaria
  • Louis encephalitis
  • Venezuela encephalitis
  • West Nile virus
  • Western equine encephalitis
  • yellow fever
  • Zika virus

Do mosquitoes pose any other threats?

The most common and dangerous threat from mosquitoes is mosquito-borne diseases. But mosquito bites can also in rare cases cause severe allergic reactions.

The itchiness that you feel after a bite from a mosquito is a kind of mild allergic reaction. But some people may react more strongly, including hives or lesions around the bite.

Mosquitoes can transmit many diseases but HIV isn’t one of them.

The HIV virus can not infect mosquitoes because it lacks the need to latch on to the cell receptors.

However, it is important to keep an eye on protecting yourself as much as possible from mosquito bites.

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