Why Mosquitoes Can’t Spread HIV, and Which Viruses They Transmit

Mosquito Bite Symptoms:

Infection with HIV/AIDS Virus (HIV) causes AIDS. Infected person’s immune system attacks its own cells causing them to become cancerous. When infected with HIV, the body cannot fight off infections effectively because it does not have enough energy or strength left to do so. Eventually, the patient dies from infection or complications of AIDS.

The symptoms of HIV are similar to those of other diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, and even influenza. However, the severity of these illnesses varies greatly among individuals.

Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, weight loss and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headaches, nausea and vomiting. Some people experience no signs at all until they develop advanced AIDS which results in death within months due to organ failure or pneumonia caused by blood poisoning.

How Do Mosquitoes Spread HIV?

There are two ways mosquitoes can spread HIV. One way is through sexual contact. The other way is through bites from infected mosquitoes. If someone else ingests saliva, blood or other bodily fluids from an infected mosquito, then the person becomes infected with HIV. This type of transmission occurs when a mosquito bites another human being and the bitten individual comes into direct contact with their mouth or nose while coughing, sneezing or laughing.

A mosquito that carries the HIV virus (such as the malaria mosquito), may also carry the virus and can infect a human through a bite. Infected mosquitoes inject the virus into human tissues during feeding. The virus is directly transmitted from one human to another through mosquito saliva.

Mosquito Bite Risks

Did you know that mosquitoes can spread more than just West Nile Virus?

We’re talking about mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis.

Mosquitoes can spread more than just one disease. There are several different types of mosquitoes and some are carriers of different diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis. While others carry the West Nile virus and others still carry canine heartworm.

We know mosquitoes spread many different viruses and most of these do not affect humans. The types that do affect humans are very dangerous and can even be fatal.

For instance, malaria is carried by mosquitoes and can kill someone if not treated quickly. Dengue fever causes extreme joint pain and sometimes leads to dengue hemorrhagic fever which can cause bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and in some cases, death. Human encephalitis is another virus carried by mosquitoes that, without treatment, can lead to brain disorders and death.

Sources & references used in this article:

Dissection of midgut and salivary glands from Ae. aegypti mosquitoes by J Coleman, J Juhn, AA James – JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), 2007 – jove.com

African University Students’ Knowledge of HIV/AIDS and Mosquito Bites by TS Mwamwenda – Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 2014 – mcser.org

Establishment of the milk-borne transmission as a key factor for the peculiar endemicity of human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1): the ATL Prevention Program … by S Hino – Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B, 2011 – jstage.jst.go.jp

Preventing HIV infection through peer education and condom promotion among truck drivers and their sexual partners in Tanzania, 1990-1993 by RM Nesse, GC Williams – 2012 – Vintage

AIDS, homophobia and biomedical discourse: An epidemic of signification by U Laukamm-Josten, BK Mwizarubi, A Outwater… – AIDS care, 2000 – Taylor & Francis

Epidemic of AIDS in Uganda by PA Treichler – Cultural studies, 1987 – Taylor & Francis