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How does someone become infected with HIV?

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  • How does someone become infected with HIV?

HIV is passed on from one person to another when the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid or vaginal fluids from a HIV positive person enters someone else’s body. People may get infected from having unprotected penetrative vaginal or anal sex (not using a condom) and by having more than one sexual partner. Sharing needles, such as needles used to inject drugs, steroids, and other substances, or sharing needles used for tattooing with someone who is HIV positive are also linked to infection. In addition, if a woman with HIV is pregnant, her newborn baby can catch the virus from her before she gives birth, during delivery of the baby, or from breastfeeding. However, there are various means to prevent mother to child HIV transmission. HIV cannot be passed on from one person to another through casual contact. There is no risk of infection when everyday items are shared e.g. food, dishes, utensils, clothes, beds and toilets with a person who is HIV positive. The virus is not spread from contact with sweat, tears, saliva, or a casual closed-mouth kiss from an infected person. People do not become infected from eating food prepared by a person living with HIV. People have not become infected with HIV through insect bites.