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Can Mosquitoes Transmit HIV or AIDS?

Mosquitoes feed on blood and are known to transmit dangerous diseases. This has given rise to a lot of misinformation about mosquitoes transmitting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Simply put: mosquitoes do not transmit HIV.

Even if they bite an HIV-positive individual, they cannot transmit HIV or AIDS. This is due to the biology of the mosquito and of HIV:

  • Mosquitoes are unable to become infected with HIV, and thus cannot transmit it. Yes, they can carry it, but it’s not possible for the infection to develop.
  • A mosquito’s proboscis has two tubes: one to suck blood from its host and the other to inject saliva into the bite. Because only saliva is injected into the host, HIV cannot be transmitted through the bite.
  • Even if a mosquito has HIV in its body when it bites a host, there would not be enough viral load to infect a human. All traces of the virus completely disappear in the mosquito after just one or two days.
a mosquito full of blood on a person's skin

Do Mosquitoes Transfer Blood to You?

Mosquitoes suck blood out of you, but they do not inject blood or circulate blood back inside of you. Their unique proboscis has two tubes. One tube sends saliva into the host while the other sucks blood like a straw. Mosquitoes never transmit any blood into you.

Can Mosquitoes Carry HIV?

If a mosquito feeds on an HIV-positive person, all traces of the virus disappear in just 1-2 days as the blood is digested. In human beings, HIV replicates by binding to T cells. In a mosquito’s gut, the HIV is incapable of replicating and is thus destroyed in a short amount of time.

Doctors estimate that an individual would have to be bitten by 10 million mosquitoes that had all been feeding on an HIV-positive person’s blood for even a single unit of HIV to be transmitted.

In other words, it’s physically impossible. However, even though they don’t transmit HIV, mosquitoes do carry and spread many other dangerous diseases to people.

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