Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
AIDS and HIV: Prevention of HIV Infection
Michael P. Carey & Peter A. Vanable
Infection with HIV is the cause of AIDS. A person becomes infected with HIV when HIV-contaminated blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk enters his or her bloodstream. HIV transmission has occurred during blood transfusions, occupational and accidental exposure, maternal-child transmission, sharing of drug injection syringes or needles, and unprotected sexual intercourse. Although it is not possible to cure a person with AIDS, it is possible to prevent, or at least to reduce the likelihood of, HIV transmission through each of these routes. Early in the epidemic, before the virus was identified and procedures to test the blood supply were available, some people were infected by contaminated blood or blood products. Persons requiring frequent blood transfusions, such as those undergoing surgery or being treated for hemophilia, were most vulnerable to this mode of HIV transmission. In 1985, it became possible to test blood for antibodies (molecules in the blood that ...