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How is HIV spread?

  • HIV is spread through contact with the certain body fluids from a person infected with HIV:  Blood, Semen, Pre-seminal fluids, Rectal fluids, Vaginal fluids. The spread of HIV from person to person is called HIV transmission. 

  • In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by having sex or sharing injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV. 

  • HIV can also pass from an HIV-infected woman to her child during pregnancy, childbirth (also called labor and delivery), or breastfeeding. This spread of HIV is called mother-to-child transmission of HIV. 

  • In the past, some people were infected with HIV after receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant from an HIV-infected donor. Today, this risk is very low because the supply of donated blood and organs is carefully tested in the United States. 

  • You can’t get HIV by shaking hands with, hugging, or closed-mouth kissing a person infected with HIV. And you can’t get HIV from contact with objects such as toilet seats, doorknobs, or dishes used by a person infected with HIV.