Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

HIV Infection Transmission

People who are infected with HIV can transmit the virus to others. The virus is present in blood, semen, saliva and tears, but the virus is not present in the urine. The virus is also present in vaginal fluid and breast milk. To become infected with HIV, the virus must enter the bloodstream.

Transmission can occur in the following ways:

  • Accidental sticks from a needle used by someone who has HIV
  • Anal intercourse
  • Blood transfusions
  • From mother to baby during birth
  • From mother to baby during breast-feeding
  • Oral sex
  • Sharing needles
  • Vaginal intercourse

HIV cannot spread by touching a person who has HIV or by living with a person who has HIV.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed HIV Infection References
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  5. Mylonakis E, Paliou M, Lally M, et al: Laboratory testing for infection with the human immunodeficiency virus: established and novel approaches. Am J Med 2000 Nov; 109(7): 568-76. [11063959]
  6. Paul SM, Sensakovic J, Podhurst LS, Morgan DH, Triano-Davis W. Managing HIV/AIDS patients. N J Med. 1998 May;95(5):55-60. [16013158]
  7. Treatment guidelines from the Medical Letter: Drugs for HIV Infection. Treat Guidel Med Lett 2004 Jan; 2(17): 1-8. [15529108]
  8. Varghese GK, Crane LR: Evaluation and treatment of HIV-related illnesses in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med 1994. Sep. (3): 503-11. [8080146]
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