HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted disease that is contagious through certain bodily fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This disease can easily be transmitted through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids and breast milk.
If a person who has HIV has unprotected sex with an uninfected partner, then the uninfected partner is at risk for developing the virus, states the Centers for Disease Control. The virus is spread when infected bodily fluids come into contact with the mucous membranes or damaged tissues of someone who is not already infected with the disease. HIV may also be spread by using contaminated needles or drug equipment.
Most commonly, HIV is spread through unprotected sex or by sharing needles or drug equipment with multiple people, states the Centers for Disease Control. Anal sex is the most high risk sexual behavior that may transmit HIV, and vaginal sex is the second highest risk sexual behavior. People who have multiple sexual partners are also at a greater risk for developing the disease at some point in their lives.
Less commonly, HIV can be transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants, states the Centers for Disease Control. It may also be transmitted to babies born from mothers who are infected with the disease or by being stuck with sharp objects or contaminated needles in health care settings.