A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood to contract HIV infection and develop
. If you have any risk factors, consider asking your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Certain lifestyle factors greatly increase your risk of contracting HIV infection and developing AIDS. By avoiding behaviors that are associated with increasing your risk, you can greatly reduce your risk.
Risk factors include:
Having Unprotected Sex
Most people become infected with HIV through sexual activity. You can contract AIDS by not using a
when having sexual relations with a person infected with HIV. Not using condoms properly can also put you at increased risk for acquiring HIV infection. During sex, the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, and mouth can provide entry points for the virus.
Other risky behaviors include having:
Sex with someone without knowing his or her HIV status
More than one sex partner
Sex with someone who has more than one sexual partner
If you inject illegal drugs, this increases your risk of becoming infected with HIV. Using a needle or syringe that contains even a small amount of infected blood can transmit HIV infection.
Having Certain Medical Conditions
Sexually transmitted diseases
(STDs) and vaginal infections caused by bacteria tend to increase the risk of HIV transmission during sex with an HIV-infected partner. Examples of STDs include:
For men, not being
can also increase the risk of getting HIV infection.
Having Certain Medical Procedures
or receiving blood products before 1985 increases your risk of HIV infection and AIDS. Before blood banks began testing donated blood for HIV in 1985, there was no way of knowing if the blood was contaminated with HIV, and recipients could become infected through transfusions.
Receiving blood products, tissue or organ transplantation, or artificial insemination increases your risk of HIV infection and AIDS. Even though blood products are now screened for HIV, there is still some degree of risk because tests cannot detect HIV immediately after transmission.
Being a Healthcare Worker
Exposure to contaminated blood and needles puts healthcare workers at risk for HIV infection.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a