178 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
How is HIV Spread?
HIV lives in certain body fluids, such as blood, semen (sperm), and the fluids
in the vagina. The virus is spread when these fluids get into the body of
another person. This means that HIV can be spread by:
• having unsafe or risky sex with someone who has the virus
(see page 198).
• using injection needles or syringes that have not been sterilized
(see page 87).
• using dirty instruments that cut the skin for injecting drugs, scarring,
piercing, circumcision, or dental care. Even if instruments have been
washed and look very clean, they can still have germs on them and can
spread HIV if they have not been sterilized (see page 87).
• touching or receiving the blood of an infected person.
• mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
• splashing of blood into the eyes or mouth.
HIV does not live outside the
human body for more than a
few minutes. It cannot live on
its own in the air or in water.
This means you cannot give
or get HIV from everyday
contact, such as play, working
with someone, shaking hands,
sharing meals, or from spitting,
sneezing, coughing, sweating,
from tears, or from insect bites.
HIV is not spread by casual contact.