HIV lives in the following areas of the body:
To transmit HIV from one person to another the virus needs a route into a persons blood. It needs to be present in a bodily fluid in sufficient quantity to be transmitted.
An easy way to transmit HIV is through a blood transfusion, where HIV infected blood is put straight into someone else’s body. In most places in the world now blood is treated before being used in transfusion as there are lots of things that can be passed on in this way, not only HIV.
If an HIV positive person is having sex (vaginal or anal) with someone without a condom, the HIV in the semen or vaginal fluid can enter the other person’s body, and enter their blood stream.
If a person with HIV injects him/her self with a needle, then another person injects him/her self with the same needle immediately after, HIV can be passed on. People who are intravenous drug users, and share needles (without sterilising them after each persons use) have a very high risk of either getting infected by, or passing on HIV.
HIV can be passed onto a baby at three stages in their development if the mother is HIV positive:
Whilst they are growing in the womb
There are now steps that an HIV positive woman can take to help stop her baby being born with HIV. These work so well that in the UK now there is less than a 1 in 100 chance an HIV positive woman will give HIV to her baby.
The interventions to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV are:
HIV cannot be transmitted through: