HIV Transmission

Transmission Risk

HIV is classified as a blood-borne illness, and is typically spread through contact with bodily fluids like blood, semen and vaginal secretions. Below are some of the ways you can get HIV:

  • Having unprotected sex with an infected person, including both vaginal and anal sex
  • Sharing of needles or syringes with a person infected with HIV
  • Being born to an HIV-positive mother (perinatal HIV transmission)
  • Transfer of HIV-infected blood, tissue, or organs (currently rare due to screening protocols)
  • Occupational Exposure to HIV-infected blood or other body fluids – for instance, health careworkers have been infected after pricking themselves with a contaminated needle, or the accidential splash of HIV-containing fluids in their eyes or mouth
  • It is important to understand that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact such as hugging, shaking hands, sharing dishes, or drinking from the same glass with someone who is HIV-positive.


    The best way to prevent HIV transmission is to avoid contact with infected bodily fluids. This includes:

  • Always use a latex condom when having sex
  • Avoid contact with menstrual blood and semen
  • Refrain from sharing needles, syringes, razor blades or other drug paraphernalia
  • Use protective eyewear when working with infected blood
  • Men who have unprotected sex with other men and those with multiple sexual partners should consider getting an HIV test regularly
  • HIV is an incurable disease, but through prevention and proper access to treatment, it can be managed effectively.