Today, available statistics have shown that estimated 1.6 million people die of HIV&AIDS annually. In Nigeria alone, government reports claim that over 300,000 Nigerians die yearly of complications arising from AIDS.

If these estimated numbers die of HIV/AIDS, have you ever imagined what the situation would be like if the virus could be transmitted by mosquitoes? Thank God, you say. If mosquitoes spread HIV the way they spread malaria, millions of people will definitely lose their lives on daily basis, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria where mosquitoes are endemic.

Before now, there have been reports about concern of the possibility of mosquitoes transmitting AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) when the disease was first recognised and many people still feel that mosquitoes may be responsible for transmission of this infection from one individual to another.

However, Entomologists say that although mosquitoes function the same way as hypodermic needles – they can both inject chemicals and extract blood but cannot transmit HIV.

According to a former Navy Entomologist and Current Technical Advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association, Joe Conlon explains; “If mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus and other blood-borne diseases, shouldn’t they logically be able to transmit HIV, too?  It is definitely not a stupid question, but that is not the case. Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV.

Conlon reassured that first of all, when a mosquito bites you, it draws your blood into its gut. Acids there kill the HIV virus.

“Even if the mosquito’s stomach acids did not render the virus harmless, it would not be able to get back out of the insect.

That is because mosquitoes use two different tubes to suck up blood and to inject you with saliva that stops your blood from clotting up while it’s drinking. Even if a mosquito had virus-containing blood from another human inside it, the blood would never exit the bug through its salivary glands and into your blood stream.

“For a mosquito to transmit a disease, it must pick up the virus. The virus has to survive in the gut and then get outside the gut into the body cavity and then eventually into the salivary glands to be injected into something else.  It is a very complicated process, and with HIV, it just doesn’t happen,” he explained.

Malaria parasites, on the other hand, are able to grow in the mosquito gut, then, migrate specifically to the salivary glands to continue their lifecycle in another human.

Culled from vanguardngr.com