People who have an STI are at least 2 to 5 times more likely than people who do not have an STI to get HIV if they have sexual contact with an HIV positive person.
HIV is a contagious virus. It can be spread from person to person. Only certain body fluids can transmit HIV from one person to another. Blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk from someone with HIV must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue of an individual without HIV. Or these fluids may enter the body if drug users share a needle or syringe.
Even if a person has an undetectable viral load, that person can spread HIV to others. (Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood. An undetectable viral load means that your viral load is too low to measure. It does not mean that HIV is gone from your body.)
The most common ways that HIV is spread from one person to another are:
- Having unprotected sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with a person who is HIV positive
- Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment with a person who has HIV and injects drugs
- From women with HIV to their babies before or during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth
Ways that HIV can be spread...
Body Fluid (Click to Expand)
|Saliva||Maybe||If the saliva contains blood|
|Sharing needles/syringes or other injection equipment with a person who has HIV||Yes|
Sexual Actions (Click to Expand)
|Unprotected Vaginal Sex||Yes|
|Unprotected Oral Sex||Yes|
|Unprotected Anal Sex||Yes|
|Sex with a condom||Maybe||When used correctly and consistently, condoms greatly reduce the risk of spreading HIV. But there is still some risk of spreading the virus, even with condom use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that latex condoms are a highly effective way to prevent the spread of HIV. But they must be used right every time you have sex. Studies show that condoms are 80% to 97% effective in preventing the spread of HIV.
Actions (Click to Expand)
|Open-mouth kissing||Maybe||With deep, open-mouth kissing, if there are sores or bleeding gums and blood is exchanged, there is a small risk of spreading HIV.|
Everyday Living (Click to Expand)
|Getting a tattoo or body-piercing||Maybe||There is a risk of spreading HIV if the tools used for tattoos or body piercing are not properly cleaned. If the tools have blood on them from someone with HIV and are not sterilized or disinfected, there is a risk of spreading HIV.|
|Insects||No||Studies have shown no signs that HIV is spread from mosquitoes or any other insects.|
|Sharing a razor||Yes||Yes If you share a razor with a person who has HIV and there is blood on the razor, there is a risk of spreading HIV.|
|Sharing a Toothbrush||Yes||Yes If you share a toothbrush with a person who has HIV and there is blood on the toothbrush, and you have an open-wound in your mouth, there is a risk of spreading HIV.|
|Sharing a toilet seat||No|
|Animals||No||HIV infects humans, not animals. Animals do not spread HIV.|
HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
It is important to understand the link between HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs makes both getting and spreading HIV more likely.
Other STIs include:
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Crabs (pubic lice)
People who have an STI are at least 2 to 5 times more likely than people who do not have an STI to get HIV if they have sexual contact with an HIV positive person. Also, if a person who has HIV also has another STI, that person is more likely to spread HIV through sexual contact.
Having safer sex as well as testing for and treating STIs is important for your health, and can help stop the transmission of HIV through sexual contact.