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.