How does someone get HIV?

The HIV virus is found in semen, blood, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

The most common ways of getting HIV is through unprotected anal sex without a condom, by sharing syringes or needles to inject drugs or by sharing sex toys without using condoms.

HIV infection can be hard to spot in its early stages. Left untreated, a person with HIV will become very unwell over time.

You cannot get HIV

  • From sharing food, cooking or eating utensils
  • From kissing
  • From shaking hands or hugging
  • From the toilet or swimming pools
  • From spitting or biting
  • From sneezing

It is extremely unlikely that you will get HIV from oral sex although there is a theoretical risk if you have open sores in your mouth.