How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV enters the body through open cuts, sores or breaks in the skin; through mucous membranes, such as those inside the anus or vagina; or through direct injection. There are several ways by which this can happen:
Sexual contact with an infected person. Anal or vaginal intercourse without a condom with a partner who is either positive or does not know his or her HIV status account for the vast majority of sexually-transmitted HIV cases in the U.S. and elsewhere. Oral sex is not an efficient route of HIV transmission. Kissing, massage, masturbation and "hand jobs" do not spread HIV. For more information about safer sex to help prevent HIV transmission contact AOCSC our staff will be happy to talk with you and even conduct a group presentation for you and your friends, neighbors, or community.
Sharing needles, syringes or other injection equipment with someone who is infected. Information on safer injecting to help prevent the spread of HIV can be foundon the CDC website ww.cdc.gov.
Mother-to-child transmission. Babies born to HIV-positive women can be infected with the virus before or during birth, or through breastfeeding after birth
Transmission in health care settings. Healthcare professionals have been infected with HIV in the workplace, usually after being stuck with needles or sharp objects containing HIV-infected blood. As for HIV-positive healthcare providers infecting their patients, there have only been six documented cases, all involving the same HIV-positive dentist in the 1980s.
Transmission via donated blood or blood clotting factors. However, this is now very rare in countries where blood is screened for HIV antibodies, including in the United States.
HIV has been detected in saliva, tears and urine. However, HIV in these fluids is only found in extremely low concentrations. What's more, there hasn't been a single case of HIV transmission through these fluids reported.
HIV cannot be transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging or casual kissing. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, or sharing food or eating utensils with someone who is positive. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes.
Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, new or potentially unknown routes of transmission have been thoroughly investigated by state and local health departments, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To date, no additional routes of transmission have been recorded, despite a national system designed to detect unusual cases.
The reason why sexual activity is a risk for HIV transmission is because it allows for the exchange of body fluids. Researchers have consistently found that HIV can be transmitted via blood, semen and vaginal secretions.
However, researchers have also confirmed that some sexual practices are associated with a higher risk of HIV transmission than others.
Though the facts about HIV transmission are the same for HIV positive and HIV negative men and women, even the tiniest bit of misunderstanding about how HIV is (and isn't) spread can lead to a lot of confusion when it comes to making important decisions about safer sex.
There are a few basic facts to consider:
To learn more about the risk of HIV transmission associated with different types of sexual activities check out the CDC website www.cdc.gov.