The HIV virus is spread through contact with HIV-infected blood or other body fluids. This includes semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.
AIDS is caused by the destruction of T cells. The destruction is caused by the HIV virus.
HIV is spread through:
- Sexual contact with an HIV-infected person, especially intercourse or anal sex
- Transfer of HIV from a mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding
- A prick from an HIV-contaminated needle
- A blood transfusion with HIV-infected blood (rare today, due to testing of all donated blood for HIV infection beginning in 1985)
Rarely, HIV can be spread through:
- Blood from an HIV-infected person getting into an open wound of another person
- Being bitten by someone infected with HIV
- Sharing personal hygiene items with an HIV-infected person (razors, toothbrushes, etc)
Factors that increase your chance of getting HIV include:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Sharing needles for injecting drugs
- Having regular exposure to HIV-contaminated blood or other body fluids (a concern for healthcare workers)
- Being born to an HIV-infected mother
- Receiving donor blood products, tissue, organs, or artificial insemination
- Being an immigrants from geographic locations with high numbers of AIDS patients (east central Africa and Haiti)
- Having a sexual relationship with a high-risk individual or a partner already infected with HIV
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 medical condition. Copyright © 2018 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.