Science Questions

Can mosquitoes transmit HIV?

Sun, 30th Mar 2008

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Briony, Canada & Jimmy, UK asked:

When you get HIV and AIDS in somebody, say in Africa, if they then get bitten by a mosquito can the next person that mosquito bites actually get the disease?


We put this question to Dr Clifford Leen:

Clifford: No. The virus doesn’t replicate in a mosquito and also the inoculum which is the amount of blood that would be injected into the next person is so small that there’d be no infection.

Ben: So although the mosquito can carry the virus it doesn’t kill it off. The fact that it doesn’t breed inside the mosquito means that there’s not enough getting to the next person?

Clifford: Quite right.

Chris: With other diseases like dengue, for example, where it does have the ability to grow in a mosquito that’s why a mosquito’s so good at transmitting, I presume?


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