Most people get
HIV by having unprotected sex with someone who has
HIV. HIV can be spread even through unprotected oral sex.1 Another common way of getting the virus is when injecting drugs and sharing needles with someone
who is infected with HIV.
You have an increased risk of becoming infected with HIV through
sexual contact if you:
Have unprotected sex (sex without
Have multiple sex partners.
Are a man who has
sex with other men.
Have high-risk partner(s) (partner has multiple
sex partners, is a man who has sex with other men, or injects
The risk of getting HIV from a
blood transfusion or a donated organ is extremely low in the United States. All donated
blood and organs are screened for HIV
antibodies and HIV RNA, which can detect HIV before
antibodies develop. This low risk doesn't decrease the importance of
limiting the use of donated blood (when possible) or encouraging people who know they are going
to have surgery to donate their own blood (called an autologous donation).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV
screening as part of routine blood testing. You and your doctor can decide if
testing is right for you.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Oral sex and HIV risk: CDC HIV/AIDS facts. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/oralsex.htm.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.