Risk Factors for AIDS
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
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
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
- Anal intercourse
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
For men, not being circumcised can also increase the risk of getting HIV infection.
Having Certain Medical Procedures
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.
Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn's Current Therapy 2001 . 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.
HIV/AIDS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/ . Updated September 2008. Accessed September 25, 2008.
HIV/AIDS. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/ . Accessed September 25, 2008.
Noble J, Greene HL. Textbook of Primary Care Medicine . 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc; 2000.
Last reviewed October 2009 by
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