How is HIV Transmitted? : Sexual Transmission of HIV

A Smart + Strong Site
Subscribe to:
Newsletters
POZ magazine
JOIN AIDSMEDS YouTube
How is HIV Transmitted?
en español

Sexual Transmission of HIV

In the United States, sexual contact is the most common route of HIV transmission. The CDC has published that of the 48,100 people who they estimated became infected in 2009, 57 percent were men who contracted HIV through sex with other men (MSM). The term MSM is important—and used quite a bit in this lesson—because many men who have sex with men do not necessarily identify themselves as "gay" or even "bisexual." HIV transmitted through sexual activity among heterosexuals accounted for 31 percent of new infections, with most of these cases among women infected by men. Injection drug users, in total, accounted for 12 percent of new infections, though about a quarter of those were MSM, so it isn't possible to know for sure whether those men were infected by sharing injection equipment or through sex.

Heterosexual intercourse is the most common mode of HIV transmission in many resource-poor countries. In Africa slightly more than 80 percent of infections are acquired heterosexually, while mother-to-child transmission and transfusions of contaminated blood account for the remaining infections. In Latin America, most infections are acquired by MSM and through misuse of injected drugs, but heterosexual transmission is rising. Heterosexual contact and injection of drugs are the main modes of HIV transmission in South and South East Asia.

The reason why sexual activity is a risk for HIV transmission is because it allows for the exchange of body fluids. Researchers have consistently found that HIV can be transmitted via blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. It is also true that HIV has been detected in saliva, tears, and urine. However, HIV in these fluids is only found in extremely low concentrations. What's more, there hasn't been a single case of HIV transmission through these fluids reported to the CDC.


back next

Last Revised: August 17, 2012

This content is written by the POZ and AIDSmeds editorial team. For more information, please visit our "About Us" page.

TREATMENT NEWS
Prevention updates
Pushing PrEP in HIV 'Hot Zones' Better Combats the Virus

45% of PrEP Users at SF Clinic Report Using Condoms Less Often

UK’s Gay Men Should Receive HPV Vaccination, Says Expert Panel

CDC Proposes Advising That Male Circumcision Helps Prevent HIV

Conceiving a Child on Truvada as PrEP Appears Safe

There Is a Chance to Build Upon One HIV Vaccine’s Moderate Success

Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Is Best Prevented With 3 Drugs

Vaginal Ring May Protect Against HIV, Herpes, HPV and Pregnancy

Viread Gel Linked to Lowered Risk of Herpes Among Women

Latest Data on PrEP, Though Patchy, Indicates Rising Use Among Men

Gays May See Monogamy as Barrier to HIV, Even Without Testing

More PrEP Needed To Prevent HIV Via Vaginal Than Anal Sex

High Efficacy Halts Placebo Phase of Intermittent PrEP Study

Calculating PrEP’s Capacity to Prevent HIV in the Real World

High Efficacy for PrEP Among Gay Men in English Study

Failed Pediatric HIV Vaccines May Offer Protection After All

Just Half of HIV-Diagnosed Gay and Bi Men Receive Treatment

Gay Men, Especially Youths, Are Tuned Out Where HIV Is Concerned

Americans Adhered Well to PrEP in Global iPrEx Study

Targeting PrEP to High-Risk Gays Would Lower HIV—For a Huge Price


> More Treatment News

Search for news stories about this topic

Lesson Index
Collapse All | Up One Level

TALK TO US
Tell us what you think
Poll
Have you visited your health care provider within the last 4 months?
Yes
No


Survey
The Power of Prevention

more surveys

[ about AIDSmeds | AIDSmeds advisory board | our staff | advertising policy | advertise/contact us]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.