Both men and women can spread HIV. When someone becomes infected with HIV the virus weakens and damages their body’s defence system (the immune system) so that it cannot fight off infections.
HIV can be transferred from one person to another (transmitted) through:
- By having sex – You may become infected if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body. The virus can enter your body through mouth sores or small tears that sometimes develop in the rectum or vagina during sexual activity.
- From blood transfusions – In some cases, the virus may be transmitted through blood transfusions. Blood banks now screen the blood supply for HIV antibodies, so this risk is very small.
- By sharing needles – HIV can be transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of HIV and other infectious diseases, such as hepatitis.
- During pregnancy or delivery or through breast-feeding – Infected mothers can infect their babies. But receiving treatment for HIV infection during pregnancy, mothers significantly lower the risk to their babies.
You cannot get HIV from:
- Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS
- Public bathrooms or swimming pools
- Kissing or spitting
- Sharing cups, utensils, or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS
- Bug bites
Risk factors of HIV AIDS
- Having unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Have had sex without a condom with an HIV-positive partner
- Having ulcers or open sores on genitals
- Share needles during intravenous drug use or as done by drug addicts
Received a blood transfusion or blood products