What is HIV and how is it transmitted?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a blood-borne, sexually transmissible virus (see the image below.) The virus is typically transmitted via sexual intercourse, shared intravenous drug paraphernalia, and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), which can occur during the birth process or during breastfeeding.

Electron microscopy of human immunodeficiency viru Electron microscopy of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–1 virions. Courtesy of CDC (Dr Edwin P Ewing, Jr).

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