How is HIV spread

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HIV lives in certain body fluids of people infected with HIV—blood, semen, breast milk, and the fluids in the vagina. The virus is spread when these fluids get into the body of another person.

This means that HIV can be spread by:

  • unsafe sex with someone who has the virus. This is the most common way HIV spreads.
  • unclean needles or syringes,or any tool that pierces or cuts the skin.
  • blood transfusions, if the blood has not been tested to be sure it is free from HIV.
  • pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, if the mother or father is infected.
  • contact with infected blood if it gets into cuts or an open wound of another person.
  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en011004