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
Some PrEP Success Among White and Latino Gay Youth

Some Western Gay Men Consider Viral Load in Safer-Sex Decisions

Financial Incentives Encourage African Men to Be Circumcised

Excellent Adherence, No New HIV Cases in Heterosexual PrEP Trial

Cuba Is First Nation to Stop Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

Gay and Bi Men Adhere Well to PrEP in U.S. Real-World Study

AHF Refuses to Correct Misleading Anti-PrEP Ad

Fact-Checking AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Latest Anti-PrEP Screed

Gay Relationship Dynamics Affect Perception of Partner’s HIV Status

Specific Antibody May Prevent Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

Homophobia Keeps European Gay Men Ignorant About HIV

AIDS Healthcare Foundation Issues Latest Anti-PrEP Salvo

Safest Cheapest Way for Her to Get Pregnant? Control His HIV

At Last, Gold-Standard Evidence Backs Early Treatment of HIV

PrEP Reaches Top Effectiveness After a Week of Daily Dosing

PrEP Prescriptions on Dramatic Upswing in New York State

PrEP Is Ready for Primetime

Early HIV Phase May Be Less Infectious Than Once Thought

Single Dose of Selzentry Does Not Reach Levels High Enough for PrEP

Gay Mixed-HIV-Status Couple Study Has No Transmissions So Far


> 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]
© 2015 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.