HIV is mainly transmitted sexually and by sharing drug-using equipment. HIV
is infectious in blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breastmilk. However, these
fluids do not remain infectious for very long outside the body. Most studies
suggests that within a minute or two HIV is no longer infectious in these fluids.

HIV is not transmitted by everyday contact or from contact with objects that
an HIV-positive person has touched.

HIV is not transmitted by saliva, sweat, spit, urine or faeces. Tears may
contain HIV but this is unlikely to be a practical route of transmission.
HIV is not transmitted by deep-kissing, or from body rubbing or contact with
infectious fluid on skin. HIV is not spread by air or by insects.

You can catch HIV by having sex without a condom – if you are not
taking PrEP or the positive person is not on treatment (see Treatment as

If you have had sex without a condom with someone who might be HIV
positive, then this is a risk for HIV. However, one single time, this risk is likely
to be very low. For example, depending on the type of sex this might be as
low as from 1 in 100 to 1 in 500.

If the HIV positive person is on effective treatment, this risk is zero.
The the HIV negative person is taking PrEP, this risk it likely to be effectively

The highest risk is if someone doesn’t know they are HIV positive, perhaps
because this was a recent infection. In early infection, viral load can be very
high. This make a person more infectious.

  • If you think you may have HIV, or have been at risk of catching
    HIV then seek medical advice and take an HIV test.
  • You can order a free postal HIV Test courtesy of the Saving Lives
    charity from using voucher code

Information source HIV I-base and Avert
Information about how HIV is transmitted from AVERT.