How is HIV passed from person to person?

HIV can be spread in several ways. People can get HIV by having unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is HIV infected. HIV can be transmitted by sharing needles with someone who is HIV infected. If a mother has HIV it can be passed to her baby, either at birth or through breastfeeding. HIV can also be spread through accidental needle sticks and, though rare, through infected blood during blood transfusions. You cannot get HIV from: 

  • Hugging
  • Mosquito bites
  • Shaking hands
  • Toilet seats
  • Touching things that people infected with HIV have touched

Show All Answers

1. What is HIV?
2. How is HIV passed from person to person?
3. What is AIDS?
4. What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
5. Do condoms provide 100% protection from HIV?
6. Should I get tested?
7. How do HIV tests work?
8. What are the different HIV screening tests available in the United States?
9. How long after a possible exposure should I wait to get tested for HIV?
10. If I test HIV negative, does that mean that my sex partner is HIV negative also?
11. Why should I be tested for HIV?