Can The AIDS Virus Be Transmitted Through Drinking Water?

You can be assured that AIDS is not transmitted through drinking water. To be more precise, you can't get AIDS by drinking the virus because it must get into the blood directly. Also, the virus is very weak outside the body and rapidly becomes noninfectious. HIV is a serious disease that reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. HIV often leads to AIDS which may result in death. However, many people with HIV/AIDS look healthy and have no symptoms. You cannot tell by looking at a person if they are infected, in fact, many people do not know themselves that they are infected. According to CDC, the infection rate was 11.4 per 100,000 population in 2018, and the death rate was 3.9 per 100,000 population in 2017. That is why it is always recommended for you and your partner to get tested before engaging in sexual activities.

Aids awareness day

But understandably, there are many questions regarding the possible transmission of AIDS through water in general, not limited to just drinking waters. For example, if an HIV-positive patient drinks water from a container and some quantity of his blood from the wounded lip blends into the water, then if you drink the rest of the water, will you be infected?

Or what if my gums are wounded too?

Secondly, if an HIV-positive person has many wounds on his body and he swims in the same pool where you are swimming, what if his blood blends in the water and you have a wound on your body too? Or his urine or seminal fluid blends in the water. Will you be infected or not?

With all the above, the chances are very slim for HIV infection. It depends on how much water is remaining in the container which got contaminated with a tinge of blood from a wounded lip! You should be more bothered about other infections like Hepatitis B and C viruses, HSV 1, etc.

In addition, water in swimming pools is heavily chlorinated. Most of the infectious agents get inactivated and destroyed by the chlorine content of the water. HIV is one of them. Please remember, HIV is a very sensitive virus. Even if the virus was present in your drinking water supply or in your swimming pool, the virus is easily killed during the disinfection step of water treatment, so you should have little worries. It gets destroyed very easily. So what are the ways HIV can be transmitted?

HIV is passed through blood, semen, birth, breast milk, such as:

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Sharing contaminated needles (ex: drugs, vitamins, steroids, tattoos, and piercings)
  • Infected mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • Direct exposure to infected blood or blood products

How is HIV not transmitted?

  • Through casual contact, such as sharing glasses, holding hands or shaking hands
  • Through normal workplace environments
  • Through eating in restaurants, insect bites, coughs, sneezes, toilets, perspiration
  • It is not an airborne virus

How can I protect myself from HIV virus?

  • Have protected sex – Always check that the condom is not damaged nor expired.
  • Get tested – know your HIV status
  • Abstain – Reduce your risk by not engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Use sanitized or one-time use needles

The current HIV test - called the ELISA test - was developed in the spring of 1985 to protect the national blood supply. All donated units of blood are currently tested for the presence of HIV. The test, though highly sensitive, was never intended to be a diagnostic tool. Consequently, a second antibody test was developed, the Western Blot. If a person's ELISA test is positive, the second test is conducted. It takes two to six weeks for antibodies to show up in the system after initial exposure to HIV.

Abstinence from high-risk activities is the best way to completely avoid contracting this disease because prevention is far more efficient than looking for a cure, which is still in the research phase. Education about HIV/AIDS is the key to educating yourself on this topic and understanding the steps to avoid this very serious disease.

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