How Do You Get HIV?

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A person can get HIV through sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, needle sharing, breast-feeding or pregnancy, according to Mayo Clinic. A person cannot get HIV through kissing or touching.

Mayo Clinic notes that a person who engages in sexual acts can contract HIV through anal, oral and vaginal sex. An exchange of bodily fluids in the form of semen, blood or vaginal secretions is how the virus enters the body. MedlinePlus notes that these are the only fluids that can carry the virus. HIV also finds entry through mouth sores, tears, and it can fester in the vagina or rectum during sexual intercourse. WebMD mentions that the virus can also enter the bloodstream through broken skin and the penis. MedlinePlus adds that people who have unprotected sex are most at risk of getting HIV, and those who engage in anal sex are also prone to infection. The virus is found in saliva, spinal cord fluid, tears and tissue of the nervous system when it enters the body.

Mayo Clinic claims that the virus also travels by way of blood, but contraction of HIV through blood transfusion is rare because hospitals screen blood before it is administered to patients. However, infected blood can be found on dirty needles. Mothers can pass on HIV to their children, but treatment during pregnancy lowers the child's chance of getting the disease.