HIV VIRUS (pt1.)
Let's quickly explain the basics:
HIV is primarily spread through unprotected sex (anal, vaginal and oral). Just to add: the transmission rate is higher with anal sex because the natural design of the anus allows for easy spread of the virus. Anyways, with regard to its sexual transmission, the virus can either be transmitted to man from any infected male or female partner or to woman from any infected male or female partner (lesbians). That's how it happens.
Now, know that, the virus, when present in a woman, usually populates the vagina and other bodily fluids, so a man can easily pick it during an unprotected sex. In men, the virus inhabits the sperms and other bodily fluids as well as blood. With this, one can reason that, the male-to-female SEXUAL transmission of HIV is brought about by the hiv-infected sperms.
Keep reading please...
Understand that it is very possible for an HIV infected person to have countless unprotected sex with their partners without infecting them. For this to happen, the person would have been on HIV drugs and be said to have an "undetectable viral load"- meaning that the amount of the virus in the person is not sufficient to cause an infection. This also explains why not all babies of hiv-positive fathers and/or mothers are born with the virus. Anyways, the principle is that the higher the viral load, the more infectious the person is and vice versa.
With respect to pregnancy, the burden of transmitting the virus to the baby is on the mother. That's why they talk about Mother-To-Child-Transmission (MTCT). MTCT can happen during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. That's for the mother.
Now, do you know that a father can also transmit it directly to the fetus from his sperm with or without infecting the mother? Although not common, there is also father-to-child-transmission. I shall explain this more in pt 2.
Finally, even when both partners are positive, they can still have hiv negative children if they lower their viral loads significantly by taking recommended drugs and by taking necessary precautions.
STILL ON HIV: POST EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PEP) pt2.
Do you know that, just as a woman who has had an unprotected sex takes postinor to prevent pregnancy, an inadvertent exposure to HIV can also be prevented from becoming an established infection?
Okay, let me explain.
So, there is this concept of preventing HIV from becoming an established infection in people who get exposed to the virus and stand a high risk of suffering from the infection if nothing is done to prevent it. This concept is what is known as "post exposure prophylaxis" or "PEP" for short. It is an emergency prophylaxis (method of prevention) against the HIV infection and it has been around for awhile.
The mechanism behind PEP is that if one gets prompt and timely access to some specific types of HIV drugs immediately one gets exposed to the virus- either from contaminated blood, contaminated sharps, sex, or exchange of other HIV-infested bodily fluids- one can successfully prevent the infection from becoming established.
For PEP to work, one must have taken the drugs not later than 72hrs (but preferably under 12hrs) after getting exposed to the deadly virus. Also, one is expected to take the short course antiretroviral therapy daily for a period of 28 days, during and after which relevant tests are done to monitor the state of things.
Giving the short time frame during which one must start taking the drugs, PEP mainly gets used by healthcare workers who may have inadvertently gotten themselves exposed to the virus while carrying out their professional obligations. Also, rape victims who assailants are suspected to have HIV/AIDS are good candidates for PEP. Other than that, one may not be able to receive PEP, as its accessibility is tightly regulated and controlled. You can't just get it anywhere or anyhow.
That said, although quite effective, PEP doesn't have 100% efficacy. Regardless, it is still a reasonably effective way of preventing HIV infection in emergency situations.