How Do You Get HIV or AIDS?

How is HIV spread?

HIV is spread through four body fluids:

  • semen
  • vaginal fluid
  • blood
  • breast milk

HIV is NOT spread through:

  • tears
  • sweat
  • feces
  • urine
  • How is HIV spread through blood?

    You can become infected if you have contact with the blood of someone who is infected with HIV. Blood-borne infection with HIV can occur through:

    • sharing needles when shooting drugs
    • tattoos or body piercings with unsterilized needles
    • accidental needle sticks
    • blood transfusions
    • splashing blood in your eyes

    HIV is NOT spread by blood passed through insect bites.

    Can mothers give HIV to their babies?

    Infection can occur from HIV positive pregnant women to their babies in the womb and during birth. Taking anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy and childbirth can dramatically lower the risk.

    After birth, transmission can occur through breast milk of infected women. The highest risk may be in the early months after birth. New mothers should try to bottle-feed their babies rather than breast-feed.

    If you are an HIV-positive woman and intend to become pregnant, or you find out that you are HIV positive during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce the chances that your baby will become infected, too.