The HIV virus can be transmitted via three main routes:
- Through the transfer of body secretions through sexual contact. This is achieved through exposure of mucous membranes of the vagina, mouth, or rectum to blood, semen or vaginal secretions containing the HIV virus.
- Blood or blood products can transmit the virus, most often through the sharing of contaminated syringes and needles.
- HIV can be spread during pregnancy from mother to fetus.
Remember, HIV/AIDS is not transmitted from the sharing of items such as drinking glasses or through coughing and sneezing. Additionally, HIV is not spread through routine contact in restaurants, the workplace, or school.
According to the HRSA's "A Guide To Primary Care For People With HIV/AIDS" (2004 edition), behaviors that correlate with increased risk of HIV transmission should be discussed with the patient being cared for and are included in the table below.