How do you get (and avoid getting) HIV?

HIV is transmitted during sex, through significant and direct contact with infected blood, and from mother to baby.

The body fluids containing HIV include
Blood (including menstrual blood)
Semen and possibly pre-seminal fluid ("pre-cum")
Vaginal secretions
Breast milk

In order for HIV to be transmitted
HIV must be present.
HIV must get inside the body.

The sexual behaviors that can transmit HIV
Vaginal sex (penis in the vagina)
Anal sex (penis in the anus) involving either men or women
Oral sex (mouth on the penis or vagina)

The risk of transmitting HIV is greatly reduced by using a condom.

Other ways that HIV can be transmitted
Sharing needles when shooting drugs
Home tattooing and body piercing
Accidental needle sticks
Blood transfusions
It is important to know
Most people with HIV infection do not look sick.
Most people with HIV infection have not been tested and don't know they are infected.

It is important to remember that HIV is NOT transmitted through
Saliva, tears, sweat, feces, or urine
Shaking hands
Insect bites
Living in the same house with someone who has HIV
Sharing showers or toilets with someone with HIV

To avoid getting HIV

HIV is a virus that infects people by getting inside their blood cells. To avoid getting HIV, you must prevent the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of someone who is infected from entering your body through your mouth, vagina, anus, tip of your penis, or breaks in your skin.

See How do I protect myself? for more information.

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