HIV Explained

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is present in some body fluids

  • blood
  • semen (cum)
  • pre-cum
  • vaginal fluid
  • rectal fluid
  • breast milk

HIV can be transmitted when these fluids enter the bloodstream of another person. Unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and sharing needles or syringes are the most common means of HIV transmission. Unprotected anal sex is generally far riskier than unprotected vaginal sex. Oral sex has a very low risk of HIV transmission unless a person has cuts or sores in their mouth.

HIV can be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, however transmission can usually be prevented through a number of interventions.

HIV cannot be transmitted by hugging, kissing, coughing, touching, shaking hands, sharing food or toilet seats.