Transmission Modes

How Do People Become Infected?
Ans. This virus is spread through the blood, semen, and vaginal discharges of an HIV-infected person. People can get HIV infection when they have contact with these fluids. This can happen by engaging in specific sexual and/or drug use practices. Also, HIV-infected women can pass the virus to their newborns during pregnancy and childbirth. Lastly, some people who received blood products before March 1989 got infected blood. Now all donated blood is being screened for HIV.
Many people do not know they have this virus and therefore can unknowingly pass it to others. This is because they usually look and feel fine for many years after HIV infection occurs.

Sex and HIV
Both men and women, including teenagers, can pass HIV to a sex partner, whether he or she is the same sex or the opposite sex. This can occur during unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral (mouth) sex through contact with infected semen, blood, or vaginal secretions.

Drugs, Sex and HIV
People can get infected with HIV through sharing needles, cookers, or cottons (works) with someone who is infected. This can happen even when the person passing the works looks clean and healthy.

Some people stopped shooting and/or sharing works many years ago and do not realize that they may have become infected with HIV back when they were still shooting drugs. They also may not realize they can pass it through unprotected sex now.

Pregnancy and HIV
Treatment during pregnancy can help an HIV-infected woman protect her baby from becoming infected. Without treatment, more than a third of all babies born to HIV-infected women will have the virus and eventually get sick.

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