The art of spreading AIDS though buffet lunches.

Don’t ask me who said it,but a religious priest uttered these holy words…

” People should opt out from buffet foods,as there are cases of AIDS patients making wounds on their fingers,and secretly dipping it into the dishes and there by spreading it to all those who have the food”

I didn’t react then,but discussed it with some people around me. As many of you know,I happen to be a member of an elite B-school. Fortunately or unfortunately,most of my friends said “Oh,I think that is true,I have heard it earlier”, ” Maybe it is not true,but i don’t want to take the risk”, etc etc.. I was totally surprised and saddedned ,as it is not the laymen or aam admi,but the so-called educated and enlightened people who are responding so.. Maybe they won’t read this post,but I hope that atleast one of my reader is benefitted..This is not for those people who are aware of “How AIDS is spread”,but  for those people who aren’t aware of “How AIDS is NOT spread”…

Requirements for Transmission to Occur

Three conditions must be met for HIV transmission to occur:

  • 1. HIV must be present…

Infection can only happen if one of the persons involved is infected with HIV. Some people assume that certain behaviors (such as anal sex) cause AIDS, even if HIV is not present. This is not true.

  • 2. …in sufficient quantity…

The concentration of HIV determines whether infection may happen. In blood, for example, the virus is very concentrated. A small amount of blood is enough to infect someone. A much larger amount of other body fluids is needed for HIV transmission.

  • 3. …and it must get into the bloodstream.

It is not enough to come into contact with an infected fluid to become infected. Healthy, unbroken skin does not allow HIV to get into the body; it is an excellent barrier to HIV infection. HIV can enter only through an open cut or sore, or through contact with the mucous membranes in the anus and rectum, the genitals, the mouth, and the eyes.

Where is HIV Found in the Body?

Looking at the first two conditions for HIV transmission (HIV present and in sufficient quantity), let’s examine some of the so-called “bodily fluids” that can contain HIV.

  • Infectious “Bodily Fluids”

HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through:

  1. Blood (including menstrual blood)
  2. Semen
  3. Vaginal secretions
  4. Breast milk

Blood contains the highest concentration of the virus, followed closely by semen, followed by vaginal fluids. These are the three basic fluids that infect adults with HIV.

The risk from these fluids can be worsened or lessened depending on how they get into someone else’s body, which we will discuss below.

Breast milk can contain a high concentration of the virus, but in this situation, transmissibility depends on who and how. An adult can ingest a small amount of breast milk at minimal risk. But an infant, with its very small body and newly forming immune system, consumes vast quantities of breast milk relative to its body weight. Therefore an infant is at risk from breast milk, whereas an adult probably is not.

  • Possibly Infectious “Bodily Fluids”

HIV might be transmitted from an infected person to another through:

  1. pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum)

Pre-seminal fluid is a clear fluid that lubricates men’s urethras. It is produced by a different gland than semen. Pre-seminal fluid can contain small amounts of HIV, and so there is a potential risk. However, in practice, the risk is much, much lower than that from blood, semen or vaginal fluid. As in all transmission situations, risk depends on where the fluid is going.

  • Non-Infectious “Bodily Fluids”
  1. Saliva
  2. Tears
  3. Sweat
  4. Feces
  5. Urine

These fluids and substances cannot transmit HIV. Sweat contains no HIV.

The other fluids do not contain enough HIV to infect another person. This is regardless of how they get into the bloodstream. No cases of HIV transmission have ever been documented as a result of these substances. See below for more information.

Ways in Which HIV Is NOT Transmitted

  • Insect bites

HIV is not transmitted by mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, bees or wasps. If a bloodsucking insect bites someone with HIV, the virus dies almost instantly in the insect’s stomach (as it digests the blood). HIV can only live in human cells.

Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV for two reasons:

  1. The mosquito draws blood and injects saliva. The blood from one person is not injected into the mosquito’s next victim.
  2. HIV dies in the mosquito’s body. People sometimes are confused because malaria actually reproduces inside the mosquito’s digestive tract, using the insect as part of its life cycle. HIV does not.

These facts are confirmed by looking at infection patterns. In areas where mosquitoes are common and where HIV is prevalent, the distribution of AIDS cases in the population is not different from other areas. If mosquitoes transmitted HIV, they would be seeing a disproportionate number of children and elderly infected in those areas.

  • Casual contact/sharing dishes or food

HIV is not transmitted through casual, daily contact. Since HIV is not transmitted by saliva, it is impossible to get it through sharing a glass, a fork, a sandwich, or fruit.

Three studies of household contacts, in the U.S., Europe, and Africa, have shown that AIDS is not casually transmitted by normal activities, even when people are in close living arrangements. All the studies examined households where someone had AIDS to see if any of the other members in that household had become infected (sexual contact was excluded). Many of these households included a small child as the one who has AIDS. These children continued to play with siblings in the manner that children play: wrestling, fighting, spitting, sharing food and clothes, and many other activities. No other member of any of the households shows any sign of being infected. This study shows that AIDS is a difficult disease to get, and that even the intimate exposure common among small children living together is not sufficient to transmit the virus.

  • Donating blood

Sterilized needles are always used in taking blood from donors, so HIV is not spread in this manner.

  • Swimming pools and hot tubs

The chemicals used in swimming pools and hot tubs would instantly kill any HIV, if the hot water (and time) hadn’t killed it already.

  • Pets/Animals

Humans are the only animals that can harbor HIV. People sometimes think they can get HIV from pets or other animals, because some animals carry viruses that produce similar immune deficiencies in their own species (e.g., FIV, feline immunodeficiency virus, in cats, and SIV, simian immunodeficiency virus, in some types of monkeys). However, FIV cannot be transmitted to people, nor can HIV be transmitted from humans to pets such as cats and dogs.

  • Contact with saliva, tears, sweat, feces or urine

Transmission can only occur when a sufficient amount of HIV enters the bloodstream, through cuts or mucous membranes. These “bodily fluids” either contain no HIV or it exists in a quantity too small to result in transmission.

HIV is not transmitted by saliva. There is a great deal of evidence to support this fact. In a study of 79 men with AIDS, the virus could be found in the saliva of only one. This man had PCP, thrush, and other mouth and throat lesions. Even in this man, the level of virus found in his saliva was 10,000 times less than the level in his blood. To this study we can add the evidence of the countless numbers of people who have had saliva contact with people with AIDS or others who have been infected with HIV. This contact has occurred through kissing, sharing food, and many other means. They can find no evidence that these activities have transmitted the virus even a single time. Recent findings suggest that saliva contains an enzyme which kills HIV. Certainly there is a lot at work in the mouth combining to make it an inhospitable site for the virus: acids, enzymes, friction, dilution, air, and more.

HIV Survival Outside the Body

Generally, when people ask the question, “How long can HIV survive outside the body?” they have come into contact with some body fluid that they think might contain HIV, and are worried about transmission. Almost always these questions are about casual contact, and we know the virus is not transmitted except during unprotected sex, sharing needles, or through significant and direct exposure to infected blood.

The length of time HIV can survive outside the body depends on:

  1. the amount of HIV present in the body fluid;
  2. what conditions the fluid is subjected to

In a laboratory, HIV has been kept viable (able to infect) for up to 15 days, and even after the body fluid containing it had dried. However, these experiments involved an extremely high concentration of the virus which was kept at a stable temperature and humidity. These conditions are very unlikely to exist outside of a laboratory. HIV is very fragile, and many common substances, including hot water, soap, bleach and alcohol, will kill it.

The chances of becoming infected with HIV by handling a body fluid are extremely small, because that fluid will rarely have access to a person’s bloodstream. However, anyone handling blood, semen or vaginal fluids should be careful to avoid touching them with broken skin or getting them into mucous membranes (such as those around the eye).

Spills of blood should be mopped up, cleaned with soap and water, and then cleaned with bleach. For maximum safety, the person cleaning the spill should also wear latex gloves, and should wash the hands thoroughly after the cleanup.

Air does not “kill” HIV, but exposure to air dries the fluid that contains the virus, and that will destroy or break up much of the virus very quickly. The CDC reports that drying HIV reduces viral amount by 90-99% within several hours.

It should be noted that HIV can survive for several days in the small amount of blood that remains in a needle after use, because the blood is trapped where air cannot dry it out. As a result, used needles are very risky for HIV transmission; they provide a direct path into the bloodstream. Ideally, used needles should never be reused, but if they are, they should always be cleaned with bleach or alcohol before re-use.

Source : http://www.sfaf.org/aids101/transmission.html

The big questions of the general public (excluding the scientific community) have been expressed in the form of simple questions that have generated heated discussions. If a HIV carriers contaminate the environment with their blood? And if they, when manipulating foods, at home, in industries or establishments where food crop and contaminate the food stands or themselves? They will not put at risk their families, other employees or customers of the companies where they work?

The answer is simply not. No, because, unlike the case where is housed within the cells of its host, in contact with the environment, HIV is fragile. At room temperature, the HIV “dies” slowly. It is destroyed at 55 ° C. It’s inactivated at low or high pH (pH of the stomach is very low, implying that the virus might be ingested with food, it is then destroyed). It is destroyed by common disinfectants – alcohol, bleach, etc. Do not replicate outside the host (the infected person).

Why Mosquitoes Cannot Transmit AIDS

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  1. Hmm this post reminded me the “pin prick attack in theatre seats” mail, that circulated few years back.The fact is that HIV virus can’t survive in room temprature.Don’t know why people want to make others panic , if they are not sure about something.

    Anyways that was a very informative post.Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks for sharing the knowledge about HIV virus. I was not knowing ways in which HIV is not transmitted. And please mention the name of religious priest name, so that we can be beaware of such persons in the future. The veil of anonymity must be removed from such persons. And if buffet lunches are to closed, then what will happen to ‘Langars’!!!

  3. Priest are the only bunch of people who want to hold an opinion on all matters including biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, ethics …, things beyond their business.
    Whoever said that the wise men are full of doubt and dumb are dead sure.
    Peace and Regards

  4. A very informative article. In fact, I will be taking a printout of this for my office’s notice board as it answers a lot of queries which my staff( especially female members) might be shy of asking their family or peers.
    Kudos to you.

  5. The levels of ignorance is shocking, actually. Most of us are certainly unaware of a good deal of medical issues..

    This info is very useful. Am sure a lot of us could benefit from this writeup..

  6. oh ..I thought you were studying MBA…! Good post.There is very rare chance of transmission of Hiv thru blood transfusion if the donor is in the window period which lasts abt 3 months as most of our blood banks only test for antibodies and not antigens. Many working in medical field also have lot of irratioocl fears. Having a meal with a ‘positive’ person is a positive move as it will reduce the stigma they face and make them more receptive to counselling and following the treatment schedule. The good thing is Hiv is now very much a chronic manageable disease like Diabetes and Coronary heart disease. So never be afraid of testing and if positive get treated.

  7. Wow, very informative post. Hats off Nims. I hope more people stumble upon this post and learn about HIV & AIDS.

    Btw, which B-school? I did MBA too so am curious.

  8. Gr8 work Nimmy! very informative and hope more ppl read this post.
    I hv heard abt this blood being mixed in food thing from many ppl u know.Wonder hw so many of them believe that!

  9. Ignorance is bad enough, spreading ignorance is really, really sad. 😦

    Glad you wrote this post. Maybe be you should take some print outs and offer them to these educated friends Nimmy.

  10. Wonderful post sister 🙂 🙂 very informative… Surely everybody needs to know this…

  11. Good information, well explained.

  12. A very well written and informative post… 🙂

    • Nimmy
    • March 6th, 2010

    Howdy Anish,Swaram,Yayaver,Khalil,Charakan,Banarjee,Smitha,IHM,Kanagu,Masood,Jeo and vishesh… 🙂

    Thanks for those points Charakan..

    Good day to all..

  13. a very informative post! Its sad to see educated people believing such crap!

  14. Wow, very informative post. Hats off Nims. I hope more people stumble upon this post and learn about HIV & AIDS.

    Btw, which B-school? I did MBA too so am curious.

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