Without consulting Google, can you name the four fluids that can transmit HIV?
Understanding how HIV is contracted—and the ways that it is not—stirred thoughtful discussions recently among the residents of New Community Gardens Senior.
Aquilla Lowery, an outreach navigator from the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, visited the NCC senior building to give an educational presentation on how to prevent HIV.
Lowery’s first order of business was to clear up any myths surrounding how HIV spreads. The four bodily fluids that can transmit the virus, she said, are blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretion.
Unprotected sexual contact, Lowery emphasized, heightens the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Sharing needles can also expose you to HIV.
Mosquito bites, casual contact such as handshakes and hugs and saliva do not spread HIV, she noted.
“Luckily that’s a myth that can be busted,” Lowery said. Regarding saliva, she added a caveat saying that a person would have to consume more than a gallon of saliva to contract HIV in that manner. However, infected blood can be spread from the mouth due to open cuts, sores or a bad tooth.
Care Coordinator Angelique Christopher said she was glad that Lowery covered the basics on HIV prevention for some 45 residents of NCC Gardens Senior who attended.
“A lot of them don’t know,” said Christopher, adding that she wished more younger residents from the building would have attended the presentation.
Gwendolyn Butler-King, a resident who attended, said she found the presentation “interesting” and “learned a lot.” She said she was unaware, for instance, that breast milk could spread the virus.
The Hyacinth AIDS Foundation’s mission is to slow the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, help people live with the virus and “serve as a critical voice in the public debate surrounding AIDS in New Jersey,” according to its website.
Lowery spoke frankly to residents who asked questions and distributed condoms as well as information about confidential testing and treatment. “If you’re sexually active, get tested annually,” she said.
4 Fluids That Can Transmit HIV:
– Breast milk
– Vaginal secretion
Source: The Hyacinth AIDS Foundation