HIV (human immunodeficiency
virus) is a
that attacks the immune
system. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) happens after someone has had
HIV for many years. In AIDS, the immune system is severely weakened. People with AIDS
get serious infections and health problems.
How Does HIV Spread?
HIV spreads when infected blood, semen ("cum") or vaginal fluids enter
the body. Because symptoms can be mild at first, people with HIV might not know they're
infected. They can spread HIV to others without knowing it.
HIV can spread:
during sex (especially anal sex and vaginal sex)
through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
by getting stuck with a needle with an infected person's blood on it
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV does not spread through:
pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat (as long as no blood is present)
coughing or sneezing
sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
How Can I Protect Myself?
The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to not
have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal) and not share needles.
If you decide to have sex, reduce your risk of getting HIV by:
using a condom
every time you have sex (including vaginal, oral, or anal sex)