Today there have been a handful of virus scares, either from other humans, insects or animals. You hear it on the news, on the internet, or even in daily conversations throughout the day. The topic of how viruses are transferred is always in question however. One epidemic that has made a name for itself all over the world is AIDS.
Particular culprits of spreading these types of viruses are mosquitoes. We’ve all heard of the West Nile virus, or even malaria. What about AIDS? Can we get AIDS from mosquito bites?
What we know about HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is that it infects the white blood cells, known as lymphocytes. It’s deemed a human retrovirus, meaning it’s an RNA virus that duplicates a DNA copy into their host. HIV is known for destroying the immune system, and when the host no longer has an immune system after HIV has entered the body, it is known as AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
We’ve been taught that HIV is usually transmitted through sexual interactions, or passed down from parent who contracted the virus. When it comes to mosquitoes, there are two ways the virus can spread. A mosquito can transfer the virus between hosts by its contaminated mouth parts injecting into human skin, or biologically but that requires the virus replicating in the mosquito’s tissues.
Scientifically, there are two factors that prove AIDS cannot be transferred by mosquito bites.
1. Mosquitoes lack of T4 antigen on the cell does not allow HIV to replicate inside a mosquito, thus making AIDS not replicable.
2. Insects in general have a low infection rate when it comes to HIV. The virus also cannot survive for long due to short life span of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes carry a low concentration of the virus in their bodily fluids, thus making it less easy for it to be transferred to another host.
What does this mean? It means we cannot get AIDS from mosquito bites. The life span of mosquitoes, as well as how different their biological makeup is from humans, makes it not possible to contract the virus from a mere bite.