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HIV/AIDS

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Quick Facts About HIV Transmission

  • HIV cannot survive for very long outside of the body
  • HIV cannot be transmitted through routine daily activities such as using a toilet seat, sharing food utensils or drinking glasses, shaking hands, or through kissing.
  • The virus can only be transmitted from person to person, not through animals or insect bites
  • People infected with HIV who are taking antiretroviral therapy can still infect others through unprotected sex and needle-sharing

HIV Risk Factors

HIV is found in the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of someone who is infected with the virus. You may be at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV if you

  • Engage in anal, vaginal, or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners without using a condom
  • Inject drugs or steroids where needles/syringes are shared
  • Have a sexually transmitted infection, such as syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomoniasis
  • Have been diagnosed with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or malaria
  • Exchange sex for drugs or money
  • Are exposed to the virus as a fetus or infant before or during birth or through breastfeeding from a mother infected with HIV
  • Received a blood transfusion or clotting factor in the United States anytime from 1978 to 1985
  • Engage in unprotected sex with someone who has any of the risk factors listed above

Last Updated March 25, 2009

Last Reviewed March 25, 2009