HIV is found in the blood, semen and vaginal secretions of infected people and can be spread in the following ways:

  • Having unprotected sex — vaginal, anal or oral — with an HIV-infected person (male or female)
  • Sharing needles or injection equipment with an HIV-infected person to inject drugs, including hormones, insulin or steroids
  • From an HIV-infected woman to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • Before 1985, some people were infected with HIV through blood transfusions or use of blood products
  • Since 1985, blood products have been screened for HIV, so infection through a blood transfusion is extremely rare