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What Spreads HIV?

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Image by Mikail Duran

How HIV Can Spread?


HIV is not spread easily, but it is still important to protect yourself. There are only a few types of body fluids that can carry the virus and these fluids must come in contact with mucous membrane, be injected, or enter though damaged tissue. The virus then attacks the cells in your immune system and can live in your Helper T cells for months or years, before you start feeling the symptoms of AIDS.

The only fluids that can carry the HIV virus include:

  • Blood

  • Semen (cum)

  • Pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum)

  • Rectal fluids

  • Vaginal fluids

  • Breast milk

You can not get the virus through tears, sneezing, coughing, touching, or being near someone who has HIV.


You can learn more at this great site:


Some Sexual Activities are Riskier than Others


Having unprotected penetrative or receptive anal, front hole, and vaginal sex can put you at risk of becoming infected with HIV along with other sexually transmitted infections. In general, receptive sex is consisted more risky for obtaining an STI. This is particularly important for transgender people, because of the increased risks, stigma, and lack of good information protection and options for safer sex. The CDC provides an amazing tool that can help you understand your sexual risk depending on some common sexual activities.

The risk of HIV infection through sexual activities can be greatly reduced through safer sex practices. ''Safer sex'' refers generally to anything that lowers the risk of contracting STIs. This term often refers to using barriers or using prescription medication to prevent infection. Barrier methods include using condoms, dental dams, and gloves to prevent the exchange of bodily fluids during sex. While there is risk of failure (either through misuse or breakage) inherent for all barrier methods, this risk is extremely small if the method is used properly.

Medications available include pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), a single pill taken once daily, that helps keeps HIV negative people from becoming infected. This also is not 100% effective, but greatly reduces the risk of infection if taken correctly. While getting one of these diseases can be scary, you can do some simple steps to reduce the risk of infection to near zero.


To learn more about these prevention steps, check out this site:


Drug and Alcohol Risk


Injected drugs are placed into the blood stream using a needle and syringe; it is a vector to spread blood bone diseases. From 2008 to 2011, injected drugs were responsible for 10% of the cases of HIV. When you share a needle with someone who has HIV, you may also inject the HIV virus directly into your blood. Sharing or reusing needles is considered high risk.

Just as importantly are the effects of drugs and alcohol on judgement. Everyone experiences loss of judgement when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are strong links between HIV transmission and the use of substances that impair our thinking.

Compared to nonusers, there are additional risks that drug and alcohol users face:

  • A greater number of recent and lifetime sexual partners

  • Infrequent condom use

  • Being less responsive to HIV prevention programs

If you are looking for more information on this topic, check out the CDC or NIAAA websites on how drugs and alcohol can effect your risks.


Center for Disease Control:

National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

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