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Home > Public/Patient > Basics > Acquiring HIV
How do you get (and avoid getting) HIV?
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Body fluids that can contain HIV include the following:
transparent gifgrey bulletBlood (including menstrual blood)
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transparent gifgrey bulletSemen and possibly pre-seminal fluid ("pre-cum")
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transparent gifgrey bulletVaginal secretions
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transparent gifgrey bulletBreast milk
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In order for HIV to be transmitted
transparent gifgrey bulletHIV must be present.
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transparent gifgrey bulletHIV must get inside the body.
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Sexual behaviors that can transmit HIV
transparent gifgrey bulletVaginal sex (penis in the vagina)
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transparent gifgrey bulletAnal sex (penis in the anus) involving either men or women
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transparent gifgrey bulletOral sex (mouth on the penis or vagina)
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The risk of transmitting HIV is greatly reduced by using a condom.

Other ways that HIV can be transmitted
transparent gifgrey bulletSharing needles when shooting drugs
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transparent gifgrey bulletHome tattooing and body piercing
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transparent gifgrey bulletAccidental needle sticks
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transparent gifgrey bulletBlood transfusions
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transparent gifgrey bulletChildbirth
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transparent gifgrey bulletBreast-feeding
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transparent gifgrey bulletOrgan transplantation (if the donor organ is HIV infected)
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It is important to know
transparent gifgrey bulletMost people with HIV infection do not look sick.
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transparent gifgrey bulletMany people with HIV infection have not been tested and don't know they are infected.
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It is important to remember that HIV is NOT transmitted through
transparent gifgrey bulletSaliva, tears, sweat, feces, or urine
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transparent gifgrey bulletHugging
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transparent gifgrey bulletKissing
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transparent gifgrey bulletMassage
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transparent gifgrey bulletShaking hands
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transparent gifgrey bulletInsect bites
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transparent gifgrey bulletLiving in the same house with someone who has HIV
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transparent gifgrey bulletSharing showers or toilets with someone with HIV
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To avoid getting HIV

HIV is a virus that infects people by getting inside their blood cells. To avoid getting HIV, you must prevent the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of someone who is infected from entering your body through your mouth, vagina, anus, tip of your penis, or breaks in your skin.

Learn More
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transparent gifHow do I protect myself?
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